Published: Thu, July 26, 2018
Sci-tech | By Lila Blake

Trump looks to end Obama-era emissions regulations

Trump looks to end Obama-era emissions regulations

The Trump administration is reportedly planning to revoke California's ability to control its own environmental regulations.

"There's no question it will be litigated at every turn, and no doubt it's going to make it to the Supreme Court", with its new mix of judges, possibly including President Donald Trump's latest nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, she added.

In May, California and a group of 16 other states challenged the Trump administration's decision to reopen strict US vehicle emissions rules for review. Since then, EPA chief Scott Pruitt resigned amid scandals within a week of meeting with California Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols.

The proposal - presuming it sees the light of day - will be the first shot in what is expected to be a long battle in the US courts. Jerry Brown did not respond to a request for comment Monday.

If Trump's plan sticks, it could be his biggest regulatory rollback yet.

The move would also eliminate California's ability to mandate the purchase of electric vehicles, Reuters reported. After the Obama administration bailed out much of the USA auto industry immediately after the 2008 recession, it pressured automakers to agree to a 2011 plan to increase fuel efficiency by 2025, to an average of 54.5 miles per gallon.

Shortly after Trump's election, an auto industry lobbying group sent him a letter asking for more flexibility in the fuel-mileage program. "To do so, we advocate maintaining the current standards that would raise the average fuel economy of the USA light-duty vehicle fleet to a projected 50.8 mpg by 2025 based on the current USA light-duty vehicle fleet mix".

In its legal analysis, Holmstead said, EPA could determine that California did not face "compelling extraordinary conditions", compared to other states, in needing to reduce greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide.

California's stringent emissions rules have caught on across the country, with states including New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Washington adopting the requirements. Meanwhile, California has announced that the state plans to take legal action to fight the intrusion into their state politics. The waiver was granted at a time when California suffered some of the worst smog problems in the country.

The proposed revamp would also put the brakes on federal rules to boost fuel efficiency into the next decade, said the people, who asked to not be identified discussing the proposals before they are public. Whether California can argue that economy standards and emissions are tied will determine the overall outcome of the case. So California's standards are now in sync with the federal government's.

NHTSA will likely assert that California no longer can impose its own greenhouse gas emissions from autos under the 1975 law that established the first federal fuel-efficiency requirements. He has written extensively about administrative and environmental law.

For its part, the American Trucking Associations said that although the current Trump administration moves are targeting passenger cars, it will be keeping an eye for new developments that affect the trucking industry.

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