Saturday, April 28, 2018

Trump Administration Set to Collide with California Over Automobile Fuel Emissions Standards

Hey, I love it.

California's ridiculously out of line with its global warming agenda. The pushback is long in coming and much needed.

At LAT, "Trump and California are set to collide head-on over fuel standards":

The Trump administration is speeding toward all-out war with California over fuel economy rules for cars and SUVs, proposing to revoke the state's long-standing authority to enforce its own, tough rules on tailpipe emissions.

The move forms a key part of a proposal by Trump's environmental and transportation agencies to roll back the nation's fuel economy standards. The agencies plan to submit the proposal to the White House for review within days.

The plan would freeze fuel economy targets at the levels required for vehicles sold in 2020, and leave those in place through 2026, according to federal officials who have reviewed it. That would mark a dramatic retreat from existing law, which aimed to get the nation's fleet of cars and light trucks to an average fuel economy of 55 miles per gallon by 2025. Instead of average vehicle fuel economy ratcheting up to that level, it would stall out at 42 miles per gallon.

That would constitute the single biggest step the administration has taken to undermine efforts to combat climate change.

Cars and trucks recently surpassed electricity plants as America's biggest sources of the greenhouse gases that drive global warming. And unlike the electricity industry, in which market forces have pushed utilities toward cleaner energy, including natural gas and renewable sources, relatively low gasoline prices in recent years have led consumers to pay less attention to fuel economy when they buy new cars.

As a result, the steady increase in fuel mileage standards championed by the Obama administration in partnership with California represented the most powerful action the U.S. has taken to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. The biggest gains have been projected to happen in the years that the Trump administration's plan would target.

The plan from the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration remains a draft, and White House officials could decide to back away from a direct fight with California and like-minded states.

Within the administration, officials have disagreed about how far and how quickly to push changes in fuel economy rules, according to officials familiar with the discussions. Some officials attuned to the concerns of the auto industry have warned against a proposal that over-reaches and could lead to years of litigation and uncertainty. Others, aligned with EPA chief Scott Pruitt, have argued for a more aggressive push.

EPA spokesperson Liz Bowman declined to comment on the details of the draft plan.

"The Agency is continuing to work with NHTSA to develop a joint proposed rule and is looking forward to the interagency process," she wrote in an email.

Environmental groups and California officials already have vowed to fight the administration in court. But if the EPA plan prevails, it would be a crippling blow to efforts in California and other states to meet aggressive goals for climate action as well as for cleaning their air.

"I find this to be an outrageous intrusion," Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said in an email.