JEFFERSON CITY — California is moving closer to banning the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035, but Missouri and 16 other states are trying to block the move.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, who is running for the US Senate, is among a group of Republican attorneys general who filed a lawsuit in May seeking to overturn President Joe Biden’s decision to allow California to set its own vehicle emissions standards.
Schmitt said allowing California to enact its own rules could cost Missourians dearly.
“If California is able to set restrictive ‘gas emissions’ standards, manufacturing becomes astronomically expensive and those additional costs are passed on to consumers, many of whom are Missourians,” Schmitt said in announcing the lawsuit. .
On Wednesday, a spokesman for Schmitt said, “We will continue to fight California’s efforts to impose its radical policies on the rest of the country.”
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The California Air Resources Board is expected to issue a rule Thursday requiring that 100% of all new cars sold in the state by 2035 be free of fossil fuel emissions.
The Biden administration’s decision to allow California to set its own emissions policies aimed at addressing climate change was at issue in the lawsuit. This capability had been shut down during the tenure of former President Donald Trump.
The lawsuit is being heard in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
Schmitt, who has campaigned to oppose Biden’s policies, called California’s standards “oppressive.”
“As attorney general, it’s my job to protect Missouri consumers, which is why we’re taking the Biden administration to court,” he said in May.
He will face Democrat Trudy Busch Valentine in the Nov. 8 election. She did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday. She spoke favorably of efforts by Biden and Democrats in Congress to fight global warming.
Other than Missouri, other states that have joined the lawsuit include Ohio, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.
Analyzing the push towards more electric vehicles, California regulators recognized that it could increase manufacturing costs, but also reduce gasoline costs, which would result in a net benefit to consumers.
Regulators said the proposed rule before the California board, which is seen as essential to achieving carbon neutrality by 2045, is also said to have significant health benefitsincluding 4,057 fewer cardiopulmonary deaths, 677 fewer hospitalizations for cardiovascular disease, 808 fewer hospitalizations for respiratory disease and 1,990 fewer emergency room visits for asthma.
Biden faced climate change a key element of its administration. It committed the country to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 52% by 2030 from 2005 levels.
Missouri transportation officials are set to spend over $100 million on electric vehicle charging stations as part of the president’s effort to increase the number of battery-powered cars and trucks on the road.
The Missouri Department of Transportation recently submitted a draft report to the federal government outlining how it plans to add charging stations at key locations along the state’s interstate highway system.
There are a relatively small number of electric vehicles registered in Missouri. According to the project, 6,740 all-electric vehicles were on the road in June 2021, representing less than 1% of all registered vehicles in the state.
The draft report projects that Missouri’s overall registered vehicle fleet will be approximately 5% electric by 2035.