Press Releases

Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement after the EPA’s inspector general found that the Trump administration ignored the advice of technical experts when it rolled back vehicle emissions standards.

In 2019, Senator Feinstein called on the inspector general to investigate whether there was inappropriate political inference by the Trump administration after the EPA blocked California’s ability to set its own emissions standards.

“The EPA’s inspector general confirmed what we long suspected, that the Trump administration ignored the science when it weakened vehicle emissions standards. This is a big deal.

“Climate change demands that we reduce harmful emissions, and California has long led the way in that effort. We have nearly 40 million people and they have the right to breathe clean air.

“These decisions should be guided by science and free of political pressure. That clearly wasn’t the case. According to the report, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt blocked his own experts from determining the effects of the lower standards.

“I appreciate the work of the inspector general and hope that the Biden administration will ensure both that science is followed as it sets new emissions standards and that California’s legal right to set stricter emissions limits is upheld.”


  • Under the Clean Air Act, California has unique authority to set its own tailpipe emissions, which are also followed by 13 other states and Washington, D.C. During the Obama administration, the federal government worked with California to establish increasing fuel efficiency benchmarks.

  • Last month, Senators Feinstein and Padilla called on the Biden administration to restore California’s authority to set its own emission standards.

  • Senator Feinstein was the lead sponsor of the bipartisan Ten-in-Ten Fuel Economy Act. The bill, which passed in 2007, requires the administration to set the maximum feasible fuel economy standards, which are currently scheduled to increase to more than 50 mpg by 2025.

  • Ford, Honda, BMW and Volkswagen agreed in 2019 to follow California’s standards, followed by Volvo in 2020. Senator Feinstein had previously joined then Senator Harris to introduce a Senate resolution supporting a single set of national fuel economy standards and recognizing California’s authority to set strong emissions standards.