California Attorney General vows to sue if Trump revokes state’s clean car waiver

California’s Attorney General on Tuesday vowed to sue the Trump administration if it moved forward with revoking the state’s authority to enforce stricter car emission standards.

The Environmental Protection Agency expected Wednesday to roll back aspects of the Clean Air Act, which California has for years used to set its own emissions standards. Revoking the special waiver would mean that no state can enact stricter pollution controls than the federal government.

FILE: California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, left, accompanied by Gov. Gavin Newsom, discusses the lawsuit the state has filed against the Trump administration's new rules blocking green cards for many immigrants who receive government assistance. 

FILE: California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, left, accompanied by Gov. Gavin Newsom, discusses the lawsuit the state has filed against the Trump administration's new rules blocking green cards for many immigrants who receive government assistance.  (AP)

“While the White House clings to the past, automakers and American families embrace cleaner cars,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement. “The evidence is irrefutable: today’s clean car standards are achievable, science-based, and a boon for hardworking American families and public health.”

"You have no basis and no authority to pull this waiver," Becerra added. "We're ready to fight for a future that you seem unable to comprehend; we'll see you in court if you stand in our way."

Gov. Gavin Newsom also weighed in, saying that “California won’t ever wait for permission from Washington to protect the health and safety of children and families.

“While the White House has abdicated its responsibility to the rest of the world on cutting emissions and fighting global warming, California has stepped up," he wrote.

Newsom also accused the Trump administration of being motivated by a “political vendetta,” rather than “(learning) from California.”

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California’s authority to set tougher emissions standards goes back to the waiver issued by Congress during passage of the Clean Air Act in 1970. The state has long pushed automakers to adopt more fuel-efficient passenger vehicles that emit less pollution.

California struck a deal earlier this year with four of the world’s largest automakers – Ford, Honda, BMW, Volkswagen – to bypass the Trump administration’s freeze emissions and fuel economy standards adopted under Obama at 2021 levels.

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Word of the EPA’s impending announcement comes as the president is in California on Tuesday for an overnight trip that includes GOP fundraising events near San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.