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17 states sue Trump administration over plan to dismantle emissions standards

Seventeen states and the District of Columbia are suing the Trump administration over the decision to abandon Obama-era vehicle emissions standards, The Associated Press reported Tuesday.

The lawsuit targets the Environmental Protection Agency and its administrator, Scott Pruitt. In the suit, states argue that Pruitt acted "arbitrarily and capriciously" and without sufficient evidence when he moved to dismantle the 2011 policies. Pruitt has criticized and rolled back policies that planned to require vehicles manufactured in coming years to get at least 36 miles per gallon.

California, a state included in the lawsuit, has been operating under a waiver that allows it to hold separate stricter greenhouse gas emissions standards, reports AP. A Trump administration proposal would dismantle California's standards, reports The Washington Post, and force the state to adhere only to federal fuel efficiency standards.

In announcing the lawsuit, California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) argued that a drastic reduction in emissions remains necessary. "Pollutants coming out of vehicles, out of tail pipes, does permanent lung damage," said Brown. "The only way we're going to overcome that is by reducing emissions." Lawmakers have opposed the weakened standards, saying there's no evidence to prove Pruitt's claim that the updated rules are impossibly strict.

Some automakers have opposed stricter emissions standards, saying they could cripple the industry, but others embrace a future that is centered on electric vehicles. California joins the District of Columbia, along with states like New York, Illinois, Washington, and Massachusetts in the lawsuit. The group makes up around 40 percent of auto sales in the country. Read more at The Washington Post.