Description: Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking information underlying proposed federal rollbacks of vehicle emission and fuel economy standards.
California Air Resources Board v. EPA
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 06/03/2020 Memorandum Opinion Download Defendants' motion for summary judgment granted. Federal Court Rejected CARB Requests for Certain Documents Supporting Trump Administration’s Vehicle Standards. The federal district court for the District of Columbia ruled against the California Air Resources Board (CARB) in CARB’s Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking records related to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA’s) August 2018 proposed revisions to federal greenhouse gas emission and fuel economy standards for light-duty vehicles. Although the court rejected the defendants’ argument that CARB improperly requested explanations rather than documents, the court also rejected CARB’s contention that the defendants acted in bad faith. The court also found that NHTSA conducted an adequate search for responsive documents in response to CARB’s requests concerning models and data supporting the proposed rule’s conclusions regarding the costs of batteries for electric vehicles. In addition, the court found that EPA rightfully withheld email threads regarding battery cost models and data (because the threads were not responsive and also predecisional and deliberative) and that NHTSA properly withheld two draft reports concerning increased fatalities associated with vehicle mass reduction (because the draft reports were predecisional and deliberative). 04/05/2019 Complaint Download Complaint filed. CARB Sought to Compel Release of Information Underlying Proposed Rollback of Vehicle Emission Standards. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) seeking to compel the agencies to conduct searches for, and make available, records responding to CARB’s requests for information related to the agencies’ proposed rollbacks of vehicle emission and fuel economy standards. CARB alleged that the agencies’ proposed rollbacks “contradict previous, thorough technical analyses conducted by EPA, NHTSA, CARB and others” and that “in a stark departure from prior rulemakings, critical information underlying EPA’s and NHTSA’s analyses was not disclosed.” CARB said that “very serious flaws” in the agencies’ analysis and conclusions compelled it to submit FOIA requests for underlying information. CARB asserted that EPA had failed to issue timely determinations on its requests, and that NHTSA had improperly withheld information.