ibusinesslines.com November 21, 2018

Trump Takes Aim at California's Highly Successful Auto Emissions Standards

26 July 2018, 10:28 | Justin Tyler

Trump Takes Aim at California's Highly Successful Auto Emissions Standards

Trump Takes Aim at California's Highly Successful Auto Emissions Standards

The Trump administration appears ready to make good on its threat to revoke the State of California's ability to set its own emissions and fuel economy rules as part of its efforts to ease the restrictions on vehicles in the U.S.

The news of the Trump administration's plan was leaked in late May, but Bloomberg spoke to people who had seen the plans recently.

The measure would also cut short the Obama plan that would raise fleet fuel efficiency averages to 50MPG by 2025.

The Trump administration's plan stays on the Obama-era schedule until 2020, but after that, fuel economy won't continue to get tighter. Thirteen other states and the District of Columbia also follow California's emission standards. The waiver was granted at a time when California suffered some of the worst smog problems in the country. California was also one of the states to publicly distance themselves from Trump's decision to abandon the Paris climate agreement.

Wheeler said he met last week with Mary Nichols, the head of California' Air Resource Board, and shared the administration's opinion.

Then-Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's was denied an EPA exemption to regulate greenhouse gasses in 2007 by the George W. Bush administration.

Bloomberg reported Monday that the administration this week will propose stopping planned increases in fuel efficiency after 2020 and challenging California's unique ability to set its own auto air pollution standards.

Update: In a statement to Ars, CARB noted that it could not comment until it saw the final proposal.

The EPA and NHTSA revealed in a regulatory notice Friday that its upcoming proposal to reduce vehicle efficiency and emissions standards will be dubbed the "Safer and Affordable Fuel Efficient Vehicles Rule", indicating that administration officials will likely argue that stricter standards would compromise safety. A poll conducted a year ago by the Public Policy Institute of California, for example, found that clear majorities of Californians support enacting tougher emissions standards, allowing California to enact its own emissions standards, and requiring that 100% of the state's energy be generated by renewable sources such as wind or solar power by 2045.

"It's an open question whether that provision (in the Clean Air Act) was meant to only deal with local pollution involving extraordinary conditions", said Sivas, who was an attorney for Earth Justice, an environmental law firm. "It's a dumb move for an administration that claims it wants peace, because this will lead to an emissions war: progressive states versus a reactionary federal government". Although California argues its rules are not fuel economy standards in word or practice, "they are very much related to fuel economy", Holmstead said.

"It's going to be an interesting battle because it's going to go to California's authority", McGarity says.

For its part, the American Trucking Associations said that although the current Trump administration moves are targeting passenger cars, it will be keeping an eye for new developments that affect the trucking industry.

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