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UPDATE: Trump, States, Utilities Head for Showdown on Emissions, Electric Vehicles

by Countable | Updated on 7.25.18

UPDATE July 25, 2018: The EPA is moving to rescind California’s authority to set its own emission standards for automobiles, including its mandate for electric vehicles.

The proposed rule, expected later this week, would freeze federal vehicle efficiency standards at 35 miles per gallon (mpg), rather than the 50 mpg target for 2025 the Obama administration finalized, as well as revoke California’s waiver to issue its own auto pollution rules.

The rule will likely spur a lengthy court battle. Shortly after the EPA announced in March that it would reconsider the Obama-era auto rules, California and 17 other states sued the agency, followed by a group of electric utilities and automaker Tesla. Major utility trade groups also wrote to the EPA in May asking it to finalize rules that "incorporate policies from California."


UPDATE June 20, 2018: Colorado is joining the growing list of states that are conforming to California's vehicle emissions standard.

Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia already apply California's rules.

The White House will reportedly meet with California officials and automakers this week in an attempt to hash out an agreement.


What's the story?

  • As part of an ongoing effort to roll back automotive fuel efficiency standards, the Trump administration could be heading for a major conflict with California.
  • Reuters is reporting that the Environmental Protection Agency has submitted a proposal to rescind California’s unique authority to set its own standards, rather than follow federal requirements.

Why does it matter?

  • Because California typically implements stricter standards than the federal government, the entire auto industry tends to adhere to California’s requirements because it’s economically inefficient to make different cars for different states.
  • In effect, California has the power to drag the rest of the country into tighter fuel efficiency, even if President Donald Trump succeeds in his efforts to relax Obama-era standards. Thus, if the Trump administration revokes California’s ability to set its own standards, it will have far-reaching consequences.

How is the Golden State responding?

  • California officials have already said that they would sue if the federal government tries to take away their ability to implement their own fuel efficiency standards, and they have retained the services of former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Such a case would likely end up at the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • California, along with 16 other states and the District of Columbia, filed a lawsuit last month to block the EPA’s efforts.

What do you think?

Should California’s ability to set its own standards be revoked? Hit Take Action, then share your thoughts below.

—Sara E. Murphy

 (Photo Credit: Minesweeper)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(100)
  • Hiro9
    06/06/2018
    ···

    What happened to the GOP’s allegiance to states rights? I guess that only applies when states want the freedom to enslave black people or force women to have babies. If this doesn’t open everyone’s eyes to the fact that 45 is a shill for Big Oil, nothing will. He is literally trying to enforce gas inefficiency.

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  • Andy.
    06/06/2018
    ···

    Hey Republicans. You're all for "states' rights", right? THEN LET CALIFORNIA MAKE ITS OWN FLIPPIN' REGULATIONS. My God, the constant hypocrisy and flip-flopping of the right is enough to give somebody whiplash.

    Like (91)
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  • Douglas
    06/06/2018
    ···

    It is completely within a state’s right to set standards that are environmentally sound & responsible to its citizens. Why is my federal government trying to undermine or completely scrap programs & legislation that are proven to work & help us all live better, healthier lives?

    Like (52)
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  • Michael
    06/06/2018
    ···

    California is such a major powerhouse in the overall well-being for the USA and CA is trying to improve quality of life for millions of people. Trump just does not get it he just does not get it. I think we need a major revolution to make major changes otherwise we aren’t going to see much change for the better.

    Like (41)
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  • Tim
    06/06/2018
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    California should absolutely be able to set its own emission standards!

    Like (37)
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  • TracyEckels
    06/06/2018
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    Yes I believe that California does have the right to set its own vehicle emissions standards. California leads the nation in this heated debate. Interfering with the ability of any state to set its own standards would be detrimental to the entire world.

    Like (27)
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  • Jb
    06/06/2018
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    Perfect example of how Republicans are such HYPOCRITES! They scream “less federal government” until a state decides something they don’t agree with. They are NOT going to win! They are NOT going to infringe on California! We’ve turned our pollution around since the 1960s due to stricter air pollution laws and that has numerous advantages, of which some are: no more schools shut down due to horrid air quality, less asthma and other lung-related sicknesses, clearer skies, less eye problems and then there’s the FACT that our air is everybody’s air so our BETTER air moves on to the rest of you. You’re welcome. 🤗

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  • J
    06/06/2018
    ···

    Let CA set their own automobile efficiency standards, and if the automobile industry raises their standards too, yay! It’s good for the country! It’s good for Mother Earth as a whole! Trump’s path of destruction needs to be stopped before it becomes irreversible!

    Like (19)
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  • Kimberly
    06/06/2018
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    California has a large population and many of those people drive cars. If them setting higher standards for emissions leads to higher automobile efficiency and health benefits, THEN LET THEM LEAD THE WAY.

    Like (18)
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  • Curt
    06/06/2018
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    All states should be able to set their own standards as long as they are at least as much as the federal standard. What the hell happened to give states back control?

    Like (15)
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  • Barbara
    06/06/2018
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    trump. Wrong. As usual.

    Like (14)
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  • Mindful
    06/06/2018
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    State’s Rights.....still relevant? Hypocrites & Liars of Trump coterie are trying to take away the State’s-CA right,over its own welfare for its citizens.

    Like (10)
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  • Ryan
    06/07/2018
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    Nope. This is how we govern, we use sound science and compronise. At least that is how it should work. Simply recinding things is not governing, it is deconstructing governance. I am with CA on sane and sound auto emissions regulations, and so is the auto industry.

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  • BeStrong
    06/06/2018
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    Dear Commander of Cheese ... stay out of my state. Thank you (everyone in my state).

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  • Chris
    06/07/2018
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    This has got to be the dumbest damn thing I’ve ever seen. The federal government sets a MINIMUM for fuel efficiency standards. The goal is to increase fuel efficiency and reduce air pollution. Why then would you tell a state they can’t do MORE THAN THE MINIMUM? It’s like saying a state can’t have a minimum wage that is higher than the federal standard. If you want a MAXIMUM for fuel efficiency, then set a maximum. Oh wait, that would be counter to the intended goal and completely asinine. Those of you who want to force mediocrity on California for the sake of Big Oil and Big Auto at the expense of its citizens’ health can take a long walk off a short pier.

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  • Jeffrey
    06/07/2018
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    Absolutely, give California Independence from the rest of the United States wether they want it or not. 49 stars on the flag is fine with me.

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  • Gale
    06/07/2018
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    This is about one thing and one thing only: propping up the oil and gas industry that pays big money to control our government. The oil and gas industry, the Republican party and Trump in particular couldn't care less about the health of the American people or the health of our planet. Reducing emissions is good for people, the planet and the American economy. And if you don't buy climate change or care about health, consider this: the rest of the world is creating the industries and jobs of the future in renewable energy. Efficient cars, solar and wind creation and battery storage are all under development supported by countries like China. Do you really think other countries will be buying gas guzzling American cars or other last century technology?? Turning our back on the future will destroy us all.

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  • I.Got.an.Idea...
    07/25/2018
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    Example of how Republicans/ Conservatives are not leaders with solutions. They are oppressive bullies with unethical and immoral ideas of a society they revolves around corruption and greed and sickness for profit.

    Like (7)
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  • Patricia
    06/06/2018
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    Lesve the EPA alone. They are trying to maintain a decent environment in the face of the worst President and Cabinet in history.

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  • Kirsten
    06/07/2018
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    Keep fighting for us California! Sane Americans are counting on you!

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