President Donald Trump on Wednesday said his administration is revoking a waiver California has had for decades allowing it to impose tougher vehicle fuel efficiency and emissions standards than the federal government — in order to cut air pollution in the state.
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Traveling in California, Trump, in a series of tweets, claimed that the move would “produce far less expensive cars for the consumer, while at the same time making the cars substantially SAFER.”
President Donald Trump arrives at Los Angeles International Airport to attend a fundraiser, Sept. 17, 2019, in Los Angeles.
He also claimed “Many more cars will be produced under the new and uniform standard, meaning significantly more JOBS, JOBS, JOBS!” and warned “Automakers should seize this opportunity because without this alternative to California, you will be out of business.”
Mike Blake/Reuters, FILE
Commuters navigate early morning traffic as they drive towards downtown Los Angeles, July 22, 2019.
Andrew Wheeler, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, told car manufacturers on Tuesday that the administration is moving toward a single “national standard” for vehicle fuel efficiency, an apparent swipe at California’s recent landmark agreement with four major automakers to impose stricter standards.
In a speech at the National Automobile Dealers Association, Wheeler said the administration planned to “bring clarity to the proper and improper scope and use” of a waiver in the Clean Air Act, the federal law intended to curb air pollution.
“One national standard will provide much-needed regulatory certainty to auto makers, dealers and consumers,” Wheeler said.
Trump’s tweets didn’t mention that California last July reached voluntary agreements with four automakers to reduce vehicle emissions, and that other states have embraced the new standards.
California’s Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom called Trump’s move a “political vendetta” against the state, while environmental groups vowed to fight the plan in court.
“California won’t ever wait for permission from Washington to protect the health and safety of children and families,” he said.
At least one environmental group has already said it will sue.
In a statement, the Environmental Defense Fund called it “unlawful” for the government to block states from choosing higher standards.
The plan “would be a reckless and unlawful attack on a great American success story,” the group stated.