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Wednesday, 01 April 2020 17:58

Second Circuit Court Rules Trump Administration Unlawfully Suppressed Information Related to Clean Cars Rollback

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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on April 1 ruled the Trump administration had unlawfully concealed information relating to its rollback of America’s popular and successful Clean Car Standards---one day after that rollback was finalized without making the key information public.

“The Trump administration concealed facts in its desperate effort to push through the rollback of the Clean Car Standards---the most damaging rollback of climate protections in American history. This rollback will add more pollution to our air, making Americans sicker and causing thousands of premature deaths,” said Environmental Defense Fund attorney Ben Levitan. “Today the court said unanimously that the administration has no legitimate reason to keep this vital information hidden, and that the American public must have access to it.”

“The Trump administration has been trying to hide the real impacts of its plan to gut clean car standards,” said Pete Huffman, a lawyer at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “With this decision, it will be even more clear to the public how dangerous and harmful to the economy this rollback really is.”

Since 2018, Trump’s EPA has refused to let the public see the latest version of its OMEGA model---a computer program long used to assess clean car protections. EPA made previous versions of the OMEGA model public as a matter of course, but it refused to release the latest version, which is likely to show the Clean Car Standards can be achieved by automakers at reasonable costs similar to or lower than those projected by EPA when it originally affirmed the appropriateness of the standards in 2017.

EDF and NRDC filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act after EPA refused to release the OMEGA model. In August 2019, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York declined to require EPA to disclose the model. EDF and NRDC appealed to the Second Circuit. On April 1, a three-judge panel unanimously reversed the lower court and rejected EPA’s basis for concealing the model.


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