General Motors Aligns With Biden, Pulls Out of Lawsuit Supporting Trump

General Motors announced Monday that it will no longer support the Trump administration in its legal efforts against California's clean-air standards and will instead work with President-elect Joe Biden.

In a letter to the nation's largest environmental groups, CEO Mary Barra said GM will pull out of the lawsuit seeking to strip California of its right to set its own clean-air standards and urged other automakers to do the same.

Barra said the company agrees with Biden's plan to expand electric vehicle use and to reduce climate-warming emissions from vehicles.

"We believe the ambitious electrification goals of the President-elect, California, and General Motors are aligned, to address climate change by drastically reducing automobile emissions," Barra wrote.

"We are 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," she continued. "To better foster the necessary dialogue, we are immediately withdrawing from the pre-emption litigation and inviting other automakers to join us."

General Motors
A GM worker is shown on the assembly line at the General Motors Lansing Delta Township Assembly Plant in Lansing, Michigan, on February 21. GM announced on Monday it was withdrawing support for a Trump administration lawsuit challenging California's right to set its own clean-air standards. Bill Pugliano/Stringer

The announcement is a shift from GM's previous relationship with the Trump administration. Barra met with Donald Trump during his first weeks in office to urge him to loosen Obama-era standards on emissions and fuel economy standards.

Last year, automakers such as General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, Toyota, Nissan, Hyundai, Kia, Subaru, Isuzu, Suzuki, Maserati, McLaren, Aston-Martin and Ferrari intervened in a lawsuit filed by the Environmental Defense Fund against the Trump administration for climate action rollbacks, siding with the president after he revoked California's authority to set tighter restrictions.

Five other companies—BMW, Ford, Volkswagen, Volvo and Honda—backed California instead and advocated for stricter standards.

After BMW, Ford, Honda and Volkswagen signed a deal with the state's air pollution regulator, the California Air Resources Board, Trump said his administration would revoke California's ability to set clean-air standards stricter than the ones issued by federal regulators.

In response to GM's decision, the head of the Air Resources Board, Mary Nichols, called it "good news," telling the Associated Press that it had "been a while" since she last spoke with Barra, who called Nichols Monday morning.

Nichols is also a leading candidate to head the Environmental Protection Agency in the Biden administration.

"Now, the other automakers must follow GM and withdraw support for Trump's attack on clean cars," Dan Becker of the Center for Biological Diversity, one of the environmental groups Barra addressed in the letter, told the AP.

Newsweek reached out to the White House for comment but did not hear back before publication.