Views expressed in opinion columns are the author’s own.

In April, the EPA announced its intent to roll back Obama-era standards aimed at lowering vehicle emissions. These standards included targets for carbon dioxide emissions and mileage per gallon, with the ultimate goal for cars and trucks to be averaging 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. The Environmental Protection Agency implemented these standards primarily to reduce emissions and curb reliance on oil — both positive goals deserving of support and fortification.

When EPA administrator Scott Pruitt decided to begin relaxing these standards, several states — including Maryland — filed a petition against the agency. California led the way, with the state’s Attorney General, Xavier Becerra, stating, “The evidence is irrefutable: today’s clean car standards are achievable, science-based and a boon for hardworking American families. But the EPA and Administrator Scott Pruitt refuse to do their job and enforce these standards.”

[Read more: Maryland is the 17th state to join suit against Trump’s EPA]

Maryland is right to sign onto this petition — deregulation like this is a slap in the face to our environment. With the EPA showing its unwillingness to work toward curbing our carbon footprint, governments at various levels need to lead the way in that effort. Setting regulatory goals is the beginning of responsible governing in this pursuit. All facets of consumer production need to be monitored and held accountable for the environmental impact of the products they produce, even if this puts a slight strain on the auto industry.

Further, states’ ability to hold the EPA responsible isn’t new. Because California’s pre-existing emission standards were grandfathered in after the Clean Air Act took effect, the state retains the ability to set its own standards separate from those put into place by the EPA.

The California-led petition is exactly the type of accountability states should be exercising against the current administration. Maryland should be proud to join California and 15 other states in its commitment to holding both the EPA and auto manufacturers responsible for the environmental effects of auto emissions.

[Read more: Maryland is suing the EPA for failing to regulate interstate pollution]

Car manufacturers pushed for this EPA deregulation because of the costs associated with research and development for more fuel efficient cars and trucks. But now is not the time to appease an industry that has been accommodated so heavily in the past. Now is the time to do exactly what California, Maryland and other states are currently doing: band together to protect one of the few standards holding auto manufacturers accountable for a problem that affects more than just their bottom lines.

In our crazy political climate, we must rely on — and support — our states when they choose to stand up against changes disproportionately benefiting an entire industry over citizens or the environment.

Caitlin McCann is a sophomore communication major. She can be reached at