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House Republicans push to block EPA's power to 'unilaterally' permit California's gas car clampdown

Legislation is being touted to amend the Clean Air Act to preserve gas-powered vehicles.

Published: June 23, 2023 4:35pm

Updated: June 23, 2023 5:27pm

A Republican-led House bill is seeking to prevent President Joe Biden’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from greenlighting California’s push to limit or even ban the sale of gas-powered vehicles by the year 2035. 

As it currently stands, the Clean Air Act authorizes the EPA to issue a waiver to California that would give them permission to pursue vehicle emissions standards beyond what the federal government implements. California requested this waiver in May to move full steam ahead with banning the sale of new gas cars by 2035. 

In response, Republicans are touting the Preserving Choice in Vehicle Purchases Act, introduced earlier this year by Pennsylvania Republican Congressman John Joyce. The bill would “amend the Clean Air Act to prevent the elimination of the sale of internal combustion engines.”

In a Thursday hearing titled “Preserving Americans’ Freedom to Buy Affordable Vehicles,” Subcommittee Chairman Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, discussed the importance of the bill to check the EPA’s power.

The Democrat-led “forced EV transition will disproportionately burden working class Americans” financially, he said, adding that the EPA’s “excessive overreach” must end. 

The bill “limits the EPA’s ability to unilaterally issue a waiver of national vehicle emission standards to California if the state’s policies directly or indirectly limit the sale or use of new internal combustion engine vehicles,” Rep. Johnson remarked. “The intent of the Clean Air Act is clear.”

California's Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order in 2020 requiring cars sold beginning in 2035 to be emissions free, a move that the Pacific Research Institute warns will result in the state being unable to meet the power demand necessary to achieve that goal.

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