Science

Trump to Seek Repeal of California's Smog-Fighting Power

Trump to Seek Repeal of California's Smog-Fighting Power”

The Trump White House is advancing a plan to freeze fuel-economy standards for new cars and trucks, and to escalate its fight against California's power to set regulatory standards for the entire US auto market, according to reports from a variety of sources this week, including The Wall Street Journal and The Hill. Obama's plan would have required automakers to build cars that are increasingly more fuel efficient every few years until 2025. Since then, EPA chief Scott Pruitt resigned amid scandals within a week of meeting with California Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols. Other states, primarily on the West Coast, follow California's lead on emissions regulations, and its regulatory influence has grown as concerns about climate change have taken root among American voters. The move is part of an overall plan to freeze emissions and fuel economy standards at 2020 levels until 2026.

According to Bloomberg, which cites three people familiar with the Trump administration's plan, the proposal is expected to be released this week.

Trump will seek to revoke California's authority to regulate automobile emissions, including its mandate for electric auto sales. The Trump administration is expected to announce a plan to rollback Obama-era fuel economy mandates by the end of the week.

The Trump administration is looking to change a rule that allows California to regulate vehicle emissions for residents and freeze fuel efficiency standards at a fleet average of 35 miles per gallon rather than allowing the standard to rise to 50 miles per gallon by 2025.

For California, blocking future fuel-mileage increases and stripping the state of its ability to set its own standards would imperil the state's ambitious climate goals.

This would mean a serious knock to the emissions standards California has been trying to set for itself. In addition, other major auto markets such as China and Europe are pressing forward with tougher mandates of their own for cleaner cars. Although other states cannot ask for waivers on their own, if California imposes stricter standards, other states can opt to also implement those same standards above and beyond what federal law requires. Jerry Brown declined to comment before seeing the proposal.

On social media, some noted that Trump's attack on California's ability to regulate emissions on its own roads flies in the face of conservative arguments in favor of "states' rights"-often invoked in debates over states' ability to regulate abortion access and LGBTQ rights, as well as racial integration and slavery in the past".

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) manages the the state's ZEV program, although it has also been adopted by Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and the District of Columbia and now Colorado. They wouldn't mention the possibility that people would spend more on fuel, however.

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



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