19 states, DC plan to sue the government over proposed emissions rollback

Saturday, 04 Aug, 2018

Last year, the president threw verbal jabs at Schwarzenegger for not generating the same television ratings as host of The New Celebrity Apprentice.

In one of its most significant efforts yet to curtail policies created to address climate change, the Environmental Protection Agency has proposed freezing fuel efficiency standards at 2020 levels, removing the requirement that cars and light trucks be able to travel more than 46 miles per gallon of fuel by 2026. However, the Trump administration's EPA proposal would require California to abide by federal rules, rather than set its own.

"The fleet of new vehicles today is the most fuel efficient ever, and they have gotten safer every year", said Luke Tonachel, director of clean vehicles and fuels at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The Trump administration proposal could also invalidate California's mandate that automakers sell a certain number of electric vehicles.

Under the current standards, set in a deal with automakers in 2012, cars were supposed to get significantly cleaner between 2022 and 2025, ending up at an average of around 54 miles per gallon and saving drivers gas costs and cutting pollution.

But consumer advocacy groups, environmental groups and medical associations have said the rule would hurt Americans by costing them more at the pump and releasing more air pollution in the long run.

California governor Jerry Brown took to Twitter to voice his dissent with the EPA's plan.

A coalition of 17 states sued the EPA in May after it first announced plans to lower the fuel standards.

Confirming a leak from yesterday, the Environmental Protection Agency has proposed not to change average fleet fuel economy standards at their 2020 levels from 2021 through 2026.

The administration also projects the efficiency rules would drive up the price of cars enough to push some buyers out of the market, leaving them to remain in older vehicles lacking life-saving new technologies like assisted braking and blind spot warning.

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The administration asserts the freeze will also improve vehicle affordability "leading to increased use of newer, safer, cleaner and more efficient vehicles".

The Trump proposal would freeze standards at 2020 levels when vehicles will be required to hit an average of 30 miles per gallon (48 kilometers per gallon) in real-world driving.

But private transportation experts say there are so many factors involved that the 1,000 lives saved figure is questionable.

Opponents are concerned about the rollback's effects on air quality.

Democrats opposed to the Trump administration's proposal to freeze fuel efficiency standards have limited options to fight back in the halls and floor of Congress, but the one option they do have comes straight from the GOP deregulatory playbook.

President Donald Trump had directed the rethink of the mileage regulations, saying in March 2017, "If the standards threatened auto jobs, then common-sense changes" were needed.

At a May meeting in the White House, auto firms appealed to Trump to tap the brakes on the administration's aggressive rollback plan.

The rulemaking proposal also calls for one national standard and proposes to withdraw California's Clean Air Act Preemption Waiver, which already drew angry reactions from California.

More than a dozen states follow California's standards, amounting to about 40 percent of the country's new-vehicle market. It claims that automakers will save billions of dollars in regulatory-related costs, such as developing more efficient vehicles.