WASHINGTON -- Texas and 15 other states have challenged the EPA's tougher vehicle emissions rules that seek to reverse a rollback issued under President Donald Trump.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a challenge joined by Ohio, Alabama, Arkansas, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Utah. The state of Arizona filed a separate legal challenge.
Earlier, a number of corn and soybean growers associations, the American Fuel And Petrochemical Manufacturers and others also filed challenges to the tougher vehicle emission rules.
The corn growers, a Valero Energy subsidiary and other ethanol producers said the new EPA rules revising emission requirements through 2026 "effectively mandate the production and sale of electric cars rather than cars powered by internal combustion engines." The EPA did not immediately comment.
The suits were made public a day after conservative U.S. Supreme Court justices on Monday appeared skeptical of the EPA's authority to issue sweeping regulations to reduce carbon emissions from power plants in a case -- West Virginia vs. EPA -- that environmentalists fear could undermine Biden's plans to tackle climate change.
The EPA rules reverse former President Donald Trump's rollback of car pollution cuts and aim to speed a U.S. shift to more EVs.
If expressed in miles per gallon (mpg) requirements, the EPA rules would result in a fleetwide real-world average of about 40 mpg in 2026, versus 38 mpg under the initial Biden administration proposal and 32 mpg under the Trump rules.
Biden wants 50 percent of all new vehicles sold in 2030 to be EV or plug-in hybrid models but has not endorsed California's plan to phase out new gas-powered light-duty vehicles by 2035.
In March 2020, Trump's Republican administration rolled back President Barack Obama's standards and required only 1.5 percent annual increases in efficiency through 2026. Obama had required 5 percent annual increases.
The new rules take effect in the 2023 model year and require a 28.3 percent reduction in vehicle emissions through 2026.
The state soybean groups and another Valero subsidiary said the final rule exceeds "EPA’s authority by favoring one technology, electric vehicles, over others, including" ethanol produced by the farmers.
The EPA failed to "adequately considering the vast greenhouse gas reduction benefits provided by renewable fuels," they added.
The Competitive Enterprise Institute and Domestic Energy Producers Alliance also filed a separate challenge saying the rule seeks "to establish stringent fleet-wide automobile emission standards with credit trading and enhanced credits for electric vehicles, but the agency lacks the legal authority to issue such a rule."