DOJ subpoenas four automakers over emissions standards deal with California

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Democrats criticized the DOJ’s antitrust inquiry as politically motivated since California is fighting the Trump administration for revoking the state’s 2013 preemption waiver under the Clean Air Act. That waiver provided California the authority to set its own GHG emissions standards.

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California is leading a multistate litigation against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for repealing the Obama-era clean car standards.

During a Senate hearing in September, the DOJ’s Antitrust Division chief Makan Delrahim said the investigation into the automakers deal with California was a fact-finding mission and not political. He explained that companies cannot cooperate with each other even to advance commendable goals for the society.

The spokespersons for BMW and Honda told the newspaper that they are cooperating with the DOJ. Ford and Volkswagen declined to comment on the issue.

Under the automakers’ agreement with California, they will continue to reduce GHG emissions and criteria pollutants while saving consumers money annually. Their annual GHG emissions reduction target is 3.7 percent.