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California’s Emission Rules Face Uncertainty Amid Potential Federal Challenges


May 22, 2024, marked a critical date in California’s ability to set stricter-than-federal emission rules.


Based on the current schedule issued by the House Majority Leader, the Congressional Review Act (CRA) deadline is May 22, 2024. This means that any rules published in the Federal Register after that date would likely be eligible for CRA review at the beginning of the next congress.


The Congressional Review Act allows the next congress and president to void current executive branch rules, starting 60 days before the end of the session, which may be as soon as May 23, 2024. This makes President Joe Biden’s rules more susceptible to challenge if Trump wins and Republicans control the Senate. Should President Trump win re-election, this will allow him to keep his campaign promise of revoking California’s emissions waivers.


Challenging California’s emission standards has many supporters in Congress, with 74 House members recently urging the EPA to reject California’s pending emissions rules for locomotives.


The Government Accountability Office (GAO) suggests the waivers might be secure.

Nevertheless, should there be a change in the White House, California officials anticipate potential challenges to their regulatory autonomy.

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