GOP State AGs Challenge Biden’s EV Mandates

A coalition of 25 attorneys general, led by Kentucky’s Russell Coleman, has launched a new legal challenge against new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations. These rules, announced in March, call for a substantial reduction in vehicle emissions, pushing car manufacturers toward electric vehicles (EVs). The petition was filed on Thursday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

The controversial EPA mandate aims to slash fleetwide tailpipe emissions for cars and light trucks by nearly 50% over 2026 levels by 2032. According to the administration, this will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly through 2055. The new case argues the measures exceed the EPA’s legal authority. Further, they are overwhelmingly likely to destabilize the American auto industry and threaten untold thousands of domestic manufacturing jobs.

Kentucky’s attorney general criticized the mandates as economically damaging and unrealistic. “The Biden Administration is willing to sacrifice the American auto industry and its workers in service of its radical green agenda,” Coleman stated, echoing sentiments from West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who labeled the rules as “legally flawed and unrealistic.”

Daren Bakst, director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Center on Energy and Environment, described the rules as one of the “most extreme rules ever finalized by a federal agency,” hinting at the significant impact it would have on consumer choice by limiting access to gas-powered vehicles.

The lawsuit emerges amid historical inflation, with high vehicle costs already burdening consumers. Critics of the mandate argue it will exacerbate these financial pressures, particularly harming rural Americans who rely heavily on affordable transportation. The EPA has made slight but unsatisfactory concessions by allowing manufacturers some flexibility in achieving these emission standards, such as using gas-electric hybrids.

This legal challenge is part of a broader resistance against the Biden administration’s climate policies. Republican attorneys general have previously contested several of Biden’s environmental and energy regulations, including those affecting corporate climate disclosures and new approvals for liquefied natural gas facilities.

The resistance from such a large number of states highlights a deep-seated skepticism about the transition to electric vehicles, primarily due to cost concerns and the current inadequacies of the EV market in meeting consumer needs effectively. Furthermore, this lawsuit could resonate strongly among voters already feeling the pinch of inflation and may see these regulations as another financial burden imposed by a government disconnected from the everyday challenges of ordinary Americans.