Calling automobile pollution standards “too high”, E.P.A. Establish struggle with California


State officials indicated that they would fight against the Trump administration. "This is a politically motivated effort to weaken clean vehicle standards," said Mary Nichols, California's leading air pollution regulator. California, he said, "will vigorously defend clean vehicle standards."

Xavier Becerra, the state's attorney general, said the state was "ready to file a lawsuit."

Adopted in 2012, standards for revision would have required automakers to nearly double the average fuel economy of new cars and trucks, to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. If fully implemented, the rules would reduce fuel consumption. oil in approximately 12,000 million barrels during the lifetime of all affected automobiles. regulations and the reduction of carbon dioxide pollution by approximately six billion tons.

The EPA On Monday, announcing its official decision to reverse the rules, said that those standards were too expensive for automakers to meet and, ultimately, would hurt car owners by making vehicles more costly The agency said low oil prices meant pump savings would be lower than forecast, and alluded to concerns that costly fuel-saving technology could cost investments in automotive safety.

The E.P.A. He did not say how far the rules should be reversed, only that he would begin a new process of developing rules to establish "more appropriate" standards.

The Trump Administration action on Monday marked the latest in a series of tensions between California and the federal government. The EPA's goal of reviewing climate change regulations was announced the same day the Department of Justice decided to block a California law regulating the transfer of federal land.

The Justice Department also filed a lawsuit to overturn a California law designed to limit the power of federal immigration authorities to act against people suspected of being illegal immigrants, and the federal government is trying to facilitate oil drilling and gas on the coast of California and other states. In addition, the tax review law pbaded by Congress last year is expected to be particularly damaging to California, as it limits mortgage interest deductions and state and local taxes, which are particularly high in the state.

Mr. Trump recently flew across the country to visit prototypes of a wall he would like to see built between California and Mexico, using the trip to describe California as "out of control." And over the weekend, Trump attacked the governor of this state, Jerry Brown, in a tweet to forgive five immigrants facing the threat of deportation.

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But the fight for automotive emissions standards is controversial and unprecedented, said Ann Carlson, professor of environmental law at the U.C.L.A. No administration, Democrat or Republican, has challenged California's exemption under the Clean Air Act to establish its own air quality rules.

"This is an unknown territory," he said. "California has a long history of leadership in car emissions in a way that has been very productive for the country, California comes out ahead and sees if the regulations will work before the rest of the country adopts them," he continued. "The administration is challenging that."

The main Democrats condemned the measure. "As usual, the administration faces large and powerful special interests over the interests of average American families, who will pay the price for lower miles per gallon and dirtier air," said Chuck Schumer, Democratic Senate leader, a statement. 19659013] Photo

Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, announced the plan in a press release.

Tom Brenner / The New York Times

In his defense of the Obama era rules, California joined a coalition of at least seven attorneys general, including Eric Schneiderman of New York, as well as more than 30 mayors, who said they would "vigorously resist" any effort by the Trump administration to prevent states and cities from applying emission standards. "We are committed to using our market power and our regulatory authority to ensure that fleets of vehicles deployed in our jurisdictions meet or exceed the promises made by the automotive industry in 2012," the coalition said.

If the Trump administration to seek a permanent revocation of California's authority to establish its own rules, say legal scholars, would require amending the Clean Air Act legislation, which only Congress could make. However, the Trump administration is more likely to revoke the more limited and specific exemption granted to California to set its own exhaust emission standards until 2025, which it could try to resolve in court.

Car manufacturers welcomed the EPA movement on Monday. The Global Automobile Manufacturers Association, which represents the world's largest automakers, "appreciates" the agency's decision that adjustments to the standards are needed, said John Bozzella, executive director of the industry group.

It is not clear how the industry would respond to a fractured US auto market if that were the result of the confrontation with California. One possibility is that they sell substantially different car designs in the two markets. But they could also decide to adhere to the strictest California standards at the national level, silencing the impact of the Trump administration's revocation of federal rules.

There have been some signs of discord within the automotive industry about the plans of the Trump administration.

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Mr. Pruitt was expected to publicly announce the effort on Tuesday at a Chevrolet dealership in the suburbs of Virginia. But those plans were complicated by an angry backlash from some Chevy dealers who were reluctant to see the brand badociated with the announcement, according to two Chevy dealers who spoke on condition of anonymity, citing their relationship with General Motors. Late Monday, the Virginia dealer, Pohanka Chevrolet in Chantilly, said E.P.A. The event he had planned to host had been canceled.

"They do not want the E.P.A. to highlight Chevy," said Adam Lee, president of Lee Auto Malls, which runs dealerships Nissan, Honda and Chrysler in Maine, and said he was familiar with the thinking of dealers. "They do not want to be the bad guys."

"Trump has been saying that these standards are crushing the auto industry, but we have had record years in the last four or five years, in terms of sales and profits," he said. "It almost makes you think he does not have the facts."

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