NFIB Moves to Block California’s Electric Vehicle Rule

Date: November 03, 2022

NFIB’s Small Business Legal Center filed an amicus brief this week in the case Ohio v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. This case pertains to the reinstatement of the EPA’s waiver allowing the state of California to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and ban the sale of gas-powered vehicles by 2035.

In its brief, NFIB challenges EPA’s decision to reinstate this waiver allowing California to set energy standards that impact the entire nation. The Legal Center’s Executive Director, Beth Milito, stated that “Small businesses nationwide will feel the consequences of higher energy costs if the EPA’s waiver is allowed. Unfortunately, the EPA is acting without clear congressional authorization which will affect the small business economy. NFIB urges the Court to set aside the EPA’s reinstatement of California’s preemptive waiver.”

Led by Ohio Attorney General, Dave Yost, the plaintiffs include 16 other states, and claims that EPA’s waiver violates the Equal Sovereignty Doctrine in the 10th amendment of the Constitution. This doctrine limits Congress’s ability to enact legislation that subjects different states to unequal burdens. Additionally, this case will determine whether California can institute a plan to ban the production on internal combustion engines by car manufacturers. This plan aims for a 100% of new cars by an automaker be zero-emissions or pug-in hybrids by 2035.

NFIB’s brief argues that the Supreme Court synthesized decades of major questions-doctrine caselaw in West Virginia v. EPA, and that the EPA ignored comments that confirm this is a major questions case.

The major questions doctrine applies in rulemakings that have vast economic and political significance, and is considered a factor in Ohio v. EPA. This doctrine forces Congress to speak clearly in the event that they authorize agency action. This prevents unwarranted regulation by agencies outside the legislative branch of government.

For more information, or additional questions, you can reach out to NFIB’s Legal center directly @ [email protected] or by calling 202-314-2070.


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