States plus DC Plan Suit against Trump's Emissions Rule Rollback

04 August, 2018, 21:30 | Author: Kristi Owen
  • Dear America, chill out. New standards will save lives and not ruin the world

California and 18 other US states promised yesterday to fight a Trump administration proposal to weaken fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks and force states into line, arguing the United States has an obligation to protect the environment for future generations.

Instead of adopting maximum feasible standards to increase vehicle fuel efficiency, as federal law requires, rather than addressing the pressing threat of climate change as the Clean Air Act mandates, the administration is moving to freeze the standards at the 2020 level through model year 2026, the California officials argue.

A coalition of 17 states and the District of Columbia-who together represent 44 percent of the U.S population and 43 percent of the national new auto sales market-sued the agency last month over its decision to withdraw the agency's evaluation supporting the standards. It could also become a polarizing issue in elections in November. Under the Trump administration's rule change, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) would lose the authority to impose its uniquely strict standards and would be required to defer to federal rules, along with all 49 other states. California has had its standards for decades, a power granted by Congress. In any case, litigation could lead to years of legal uncertainty.

The proposal to roll back anti-pollution efforts is in line with President Donald Trump's decision previous year to abandon the 2015 Paris Agreement, under which countries agreed to take steps to mitigate global warming.

In 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), CARB, and auto manufacturers established a unified national program harmonizing greenhouse gas emission standards and fuel efficiency (CAFE) standards, and in 2012 the agencies extended the national program to model years 2017-2025 vehicles.

The government agencies claim its new proposal will save up to 1000 lives per year, as the less stringent standard will allow more people to afford new and safer vehicles.

"Unless the Obama administration's punishing standards are changed, consumer choice will be limited and the cost of vehicles will skyrocket, said Republican Senator John Barrasso. And that's why we're prepared to lead again, when it comes to protecting the national standards we have for cleaner cars". "We need to speed up that progress, not slide backward".

The release of the administration's proposal was repeatedly delayed in recent weeks as officials debated how aggressively to push. "I will fight for California's waiver and support policies that move the industry forward, provide savings for consumers, reduce reliance on fossil fuels, and help combat climate change". Toyota Motor Corp would save $34 billion and Volkswagen AG $20 billion.

The state has struggled to rein in vehicle pollution.

The administration also contends that hiking US oil consumption by 2 to 3 percent over forecast levels would have a minimal impact on the environment, boosting global average temperature by just "3/1000th of a degree Celsius by 2100".

NHTSA says a 2018 study shows the newest vehicles are also the safest compared to older models, with crashes in new models resulting in less injuries and deaths.

The Trump administration proposal said California's zero emission vehicle rules, adopted by nine other states, are "technologically infeasible". "Arnold Schwarzenegger, represented by then-California Attorney General Jerry Brown", Frank said.

The proposal itself estimates it could cost tens of thousands of jobs - auto workers who deal with making vehicles more fuel efficient.

Speaking to a Senate panel Wednesday, Wheeler, the acting head of the EPA, said he would like to find a way to avoid a legal showdown with California.

The lawsuit was never ruled on - the state dropped it after President Obama took office and negotiated with automakers and California on the very same rules that the Trump administration is now attempting to repeal. He said gas prices are "at historically low levels and that changes driving habits, that changes the kind of cars and trucks that people want to buy".

In response to the EPA's formal proposal, the National Automobile Dealers Association said it was supportive of the "extensive work" that went into the decision to roll back Obama guidelines. "We are going to try to work it out". Thomas Pyle, the president of the American Energy Alliance, said Trump should be congratulated for taking the right steps on oversight.


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