U.S. government wants to curb California emissions standards

Trump seeking to limit California's power to regulate emissions

Trump seeking to limit California's power to regulate emissions

The Trump administration plans to eliminate California's ability to set its own emissions standards.

The proposal is still in the final stages of a broad interagency review led by President Donald Trump's Office of Management and Budget, but these major elements of the plan were not expected to change, the people said.

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 Environmental Protection Agency's acting administrator Andrew Wheeler said on Tuesday that the agency wanted a "50-state solution" to the nation's vehicle emissions standards and would also pursue reforms to the country's biofuel policy.

As expected, the EPA will also propose to push the federal fuel economy standard back to the 2020 level of 35 mpg per manufacturer fleet. Yet the federal government, under Obama, already approved California's emission standards - and the underlying fuel standards - for vehicle model years 2017 through 2025. 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.

Wheeler said he was committed to sitting down with California officials after the Trump administration releases its proposals, expected as soon as this week.

A White House spokeswoman did not immediately respond for comment.

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And for automakers, it could create years of uncertainty over which standards their cars must meet.

Many Trump officials have repeatedly criticized the state's autonomy, claiming California has overstepped its legal authority in order to push an environmental agenda that, they say, forces the auto industry to make fuel-efficient cars consumers don't want.

In 2009, California received a waiver from the EPA, allowing it to set its own limits on greenhouse gases from vehicles, effectively mandating that vehicles sold in California burn less fossil fuel.

"We have the law on our side, as well as the people of the country and the people of the world", Dan Sperling, a member of California's Air Resources Board, told Bloomberg. Numerous other states now follow California's standards.

And a long legal fight between the state and federal governments could make it hard for the automakers to plan, since the process of designing, engineering and introducing a new auto typically takes more than three years, Brauer said.

"The big question: Who will the vehicle companies back?" Although California argues its rules are not fuel economy standards in word or practice, "they are very much related to fuel economy", Holmstead said.

Public hearings on the proposals have drawn mainly opponents, including scientists and health officials who say the change would throw out bedrock public-health studies that draw on confidential data on individual patients.

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