Intro text

Update: May 23, 2022

It took 2 ½ years and a new administration in the White House for the EPA to decide in March to restore California’s ability to set its own air pollution limits for motor vehicle tailpipe emissions. The federal government granted this waiver more than 50 years ago, largely because California’s air was dramatically more polluted than the rest of the country; it revived the waiver on March 14 of this year.

It took two months for a coalition of 17 Republican state attorneys general to go to court seeking revocation of the waiver, again. The move comes shortly after the release of the American Lung Association’s annual report on air pollution across the country . California locations, particularly regions of the San Joaquin Valley around Fresno, Bakersfield and Visalia, still rank in the top five for regions plagued with ozone and long-lived particulate pollution.

Eighteen states and the District of Columbia follow California’s lead in setting standards; the group represents almost 40 percent of the national auto market. The 17 states seeking to strip California of its independence in controlling tailpipe pollution are led by Ohio’s attorney general. They include Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah. Both Texas and Utah also had metropolitan areas ranking in the top 10 of areas most polluted by ozone: Houston in Texas and Salt Lake City in Utah.

Read the original story from September 2019.


Sign up to keep up with our latest articles, sent no more than once per week (see an example).

Your information will not be shared.

Staff and Contributors

Felicity Barringer

Lead writer

A national environmental correspondent during the last decade of her 28 years at The New York Times, Felicity provided an in-depth look at the adoption of AB 32, California’s landmark climate-change bill after covering state’s carbon reduction policies. MORE »

Geoff McGhee

Associate editor

Geoff McGhee specializes in interactive data visualization and multimedia storytelling. He is a veteran of the multimedia and infographics staffs at The New York Times, Le Monde and ABCNews.com. MORE »

Syler Peralta-Ramos

Editorial Assistant

Syler Peralta-Ramos is a member of the Stanford class of 2020. He has lived in Wilson, Wyoming his whole life and developed a keen interest in nature photography and conservation from a young age, inspired by the multitude of photographers that congregate in the Teton region as well as his parents who also share a love for photography.

‘& the West’ is published by the Bill Lane Center for the American West at Stanford University, which is dedicated to research, teaching, and journalism about the past, present, and future of the North American West.

Bruce E. Cain

Faculty Director

Kate Gibson

Program Manager


Past Contributors

Anna McNulty
Editorial Assistant, Fall 2021
Melina Walling
Editorial Assistant, Spring 2021
Benek Robertson
Editorial Assistant, Winter 2021
Maya Burke
Editorial Assistant, Fall 2020
Kate Selig
Editorial Assistant, Fall 2020

Francisco L. Nodarse
Editorial Assistant, Summer 2020
Devon R. Burger
Editorial Assistant, Winter 2020
Madison Pobis
Editorial Assistant, Fall 2019
Sierra Garcia
Editorial Assistant, Summer 2019

Danielle Nguyen
Editorial Assistant, Spring 2019
Carolyn P. Rice
Editorial Assistant, Winter 2019
Rebecca Nelson
Editorial Assistant, Fall 2018
Emily Wilder
Editorial Assistant, Summer 2018
Alessandro Hall
Editorial Assistant, Winter 2018
Josh Lappen
Editorial Assistant, Fall 2017
Natasha Mmonatau
Editorial Assistant, Spring 2017
Alan Propp
Editorial Assistant, Winter 2017