April 23 (UPI) -- A federal appeals court ruled Monday that the U.S. Department of Transportation can't delay a rule to toughen penalties for automakers that violate fuel efficiency standards.
The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals said the Trump administration can't indefinitely delay the increase of penalties under the Corporate Average Fuel Economy program. The higher fines were supposed to go into effect in July 2017 and would've raised the penalty by $8.50 for every tenth of a mile per gallon a new car goes above the minimum fuel standard.
"The fuel efficiency standards penalty rule is a common sense measure that would protect consumers' pocketbooks while reducing the carbon emissions that harm our health and drive climate change," said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who was among the plaintiffs in the case.
The states of New York, California, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Vermont and the National Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity filed the lawsuit against the Transportation Department, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NHTSA acting Deputy Administrator Jack Danielson and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.
The attempt to delay the penalty increase is one of a number attempts by the Trump administration to roll back the previous administration's environmental regulations. In August, a federal court ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to enforce a methane pollution regulation challenged by President Donald Trump.
Earlier this month, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said the administration was working to set "more appropriate" greenhouse gas emission and fuel economy standards for the automotive industry.
"Today's court order is a big win for New Yorkers' and all Americans' health and environment. As we've proven again and again, when the Trump administration puts special interests before public health and our environment, we'll take them to court -- and we will win," Schneiderman said.