Vermont to fight Trump plan to revoke California emissions standards

Thursday, 19 Sep, 2019

In a tweet, the U.S. president insisted his move to revoke the state's authority to set higher standards than the USA norm would result in less expensive and safer cars.

Trump is already trying to roll back Barack Obama-era federal auto emissions standards, but has run into trouble because even auto manufacturers oppose it and have sided with the California standards (not out of the goodness of their hearts, but for fear of splitting the us auto market in two).

FREEMAN: Well, just to put this in context, you know, this has been 50 years of California getting waivers from the federal government to set its own standards if they want to and have other states opt into them.

California officials, Democratic presidential candidates, and environmental groups countered that Trump's action benefits only the oil industry.

The New York Times is reporting that the Trump administration will use a meeting at the EPA on Wednesday to announce the revocation of California's ability to set its own air pollution standards.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has planned since a year ago to ease emissions standards for cars and trucks, saying that a timeline put in place by Barack Obama set standards "too high".

President Donald Trump tweeted his intention to wipe out the permission, granted by Congress in the Clean Air Act, that has enabled California to determine how much pollution cars may emit. A dozen states and the District of Columbia furthermore apply California's fuel economy requirements.

Emissions from transportation, including cars and trucks, are the largest single source of greenhouse gases in the United States, according to the U.S. government.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, a Democrat, said in a video posted to Facebook on Tuesday from a newly created refuge for homeless people that the facility showed the kind of work underway in the city to help the unsheltered.

Because of California's 35 million registered vehicles, which account for 29% of all greenhouse gases, it's a provision that has become the national standard.

That same month, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said it would end rules limiting carbon emissions on new coal plants, soon after the president dismissed a report by his own government warning of future devastating economic consequences to the USA from climate change. In response, California leaders promised to fight Trump's decision in court.

After attending a fundraiser in Los Angeles Wednesday morning, Trump boarded Air Force One and traveled to San Diego.

The rollback came after the U.S. Department of Justice launched an antitrust investigation into major automakers that signed a deal with California on stricter vehicle emissions standards, in early September.

In December of past year, under guidance from the White House, the Department of the Interior unveiled plans to allow oil drilling on millions of acres that have been off-limits to protect the greater sage grouse, a near-threatened species that spans 10 states in the US. The AAM and the automakers it represents have sought an easing of standards set during the Obama administration but have opposed the Trump plan to freeze the standards at current levels.

The vehicle emissions battle is just one front in a widening battle between the Trump administration and California's Democratic administration.

Those rules require the automakers to improve the miles per gallon for their fleets so that they will lessen the emissions that contribute to global warming by 3.7% per year, from the 2022 model year to the 2026 model year. And they support making progress on fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emission reduction. But fuel economy has been one of the key regulatory tools the state has used to reduce harmful emissions. That compares with 4.7% yearly reductions through 2025 under the Obama standards.

Wheeler said Tuesday: "California will be able to keep in place and enforce programs to address smog and other forms of air pollution caused by motor vehicles". "We will fight this latest attempt and defend our clean auto standards", said Newsom in a statement.