States Vow to Continue Fight Against Trump's Car Fuel Rules
04 August, 2018, 21:25 | Author: Grady Montgomery
LAUREN SOMMER, BYLINE: California and the Environmental Protection Agency have been headed for an epic environmental showdown, and today the administration threw down the gauntlet.
The Obama rules were meant to ensure progress made during the Democrat's presidency would extend beyond it. Automakers over the last decade have employed lighter materials and tweaked vehicle design to boost fuel efficiency, changes that have improved mileage on even the biggest USA gas guzzlers.
For New Jersey, the decision to possibly end a waiver that allows California to set tougher emission standards for cars could jeopardize aggressive goals to curb greenhouse-gas emissions.
The administration's proposal asserts that "attempting to solve climate change, even in part" is "fundamentally different" from the Clean Air Act's "original objective of addressing smog-related air quality problems". The CARB standards have since been adopted by 12 other states, accounting for 35 percent of the US auto market, and are on track to reduce America's oil dependence by more than 2 million barrels a day and will effectively eliminate the impact of 59 million vehicles from the road by 2030. If those standards were kept in place, it would cost an additional $500 billion to the economy over the next 50 years, according to the administration.
The state has struggled to rein in vehicle pollution.
Dan Becker of the Safe Climate Campaign dismissed the Trump administration's arguments as a "parade of concocted horrors". At least twelve other states and the District of Columbia follow California's rules. It would also worsen air quality problems in Southern California and other areas where officials are already struggling to clean smog and ease rates of asthma and other illnesses.
The administration must gather feedback on the proposal before it is finalized, a process that could take months and that could be further delayed by lawsuits.
"The Trump Administration has launched a brazen and unlawful attack, no matter how cloaked, on our nation's Clean Car Standards". The Trump Administration is also proposing to withdraw the waiver granted to California more than five years ago for the State's own greenhouse gas emissions standards and its successful zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) programs- an unprecedented and unlawful action that flies in the face of congressional intent and would aggravate the harms to consumers, public health, the economy and the environment caused by the weakening of the federal standards.
The proposal, released Thursday morning by the EPA and the US Department of Transportation, would ramp up fuel efficiency standards for auto and light-duty trucks until 2021, and then freeze them.
Transportation experts question the reasoning behind the proposal. Transportation is the only sector where greenhouse gas emissions went up in 2016, the most recent data available. The impact of freezing those targets for six years, as the administration favors, would be enormous.
But the Trump administration is arguing its plan, which it dubbed Safer and Affordable Fuel Efficient Vehicles Rule, or SAFE, would save lives, replacing current standards that officials claim drive up the cost of vehicles too much and create a safety hazard for motorists. Indeed, compared to the preferred alternative in the proposal, keeping in place the standards finalized in 2012 would add $2,340 to the cost of owning a new auto, and impose more than $500 billion in societal costs on the USA economy over the next 50 years. It would halt requirements that automakers build cleaner, more fuel-efficient cars, including hybrids and electric vehicles.
Those losses would hit the estimated 200,000 U.S.jobs that deal with making vehicles more fuel efficient, saidSimon Mui of the Natural Resources Defense Council. "They have failed before". "Industry representatives commended the Trump administration Thursday for putting out multiple options for public comment but stressed that they continue to support fuel-economy increases", Brady Dennis, Michael Laris and Juliet Eilperin write for the Washington Post. At the same time, some industry interests are expected to try to negotiate behind the scenes to temper the proposed rules in order to avoid the legal showdown with California.
Those negotiations have gone nowhere.
"Under the Clean Air Act, states have the authority to put stronger limits on tailpipe pollution when the federal standards fail to protect citizens, so Pennsylvania has chosen to set its own, higher standards", said Attorney General Shapiro.
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