GM no longer backs Trump effort to bar California emissions rules

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WASHINGTON — General Motors said Monday it is reversing course and will no longer back the Trump administration’s effort to bar California from setting its own emissions rules in an ongoing court fight.

GM CEO Mary Barra said in a letter to environmental groups it is “immediately withdrawing from the preemption litigation and inviting other automakers to join us.”

The dramatic rejection came as GM sought to work with President-elect Joe Biden, who has made boosting electric vehicles a top priority. GM has laid out an ambitious strategy to boost EV sales.

Barra spoke to California Gov. Gavin Newsom and said in her letter she believes “the ambitious electrification goals of the president-elect, California, and General Motors are aligned, to address climate change by drastically reducing automobile emissions.”

The White House did not immediately comment.

In 2019, GM joined Toyota Motor Corp., Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and other automakers in backing the Trump administration in its bid to bar California from setting its own fuel efficiency rules or zero-emission requirements for vehicles.

California and 22 other states and environmental groups challenged the Trump administration’s determination that federal law bars California from setting stiff tailpipe emission standards and zero-emission vehicle mandates.

Barra added she was “confident that the Biden Administration, California, and the U.S. auto industry, which supports 10.3 million jobs, can collaboratively find the pathway that will deliver an all-electric future.”

Other automakers, such as Ford Motor Co., Honda Motor Co. and Volkswagen Group, which announced a voluntary deal with California in 2019 on emissions rules, did not intervene on the administration’s side.

This story will be updated.

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