In yet another attack on our environment, the Trump administration is planning to roll back auto emission standards established under President Obama and to block California's ability to set its own tougher requirements.
The Washington Post reported today that a draft document from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) would freeze fuel-efficiency standards for automobiles starting in 2021 and challenge California’s ability to set its own fuel-efficiency rules.
It a continuation of President Trump's determination to wipe out everything achieved by his Democratic predecessor, the pending DOT plan outlines a preferred alternative freezing fuel-efficiency standards for cars and light trucks at levels now set for model year 2021, keeping them there through 2026.
According to The Post, the draft offers seven other options that would also weaken the auto emission standards, though not to the same extent as the preferred alternative.
Attack on California Auto Emission Standards
Cars and light trucks in the United States are slated to average more than 50 miles per gallon by 2025 — well above the level of the Trump administration’s proposed freeze.
In 2011, California was granted a waiver under the Clean Air Act to set its own tailpipe emissions limits, causing automakers to build more fuel-efficient automobiles to maintain access to California’s massive market.
But the Trump administration document asserts that, despite the Clean Air Act waiver, a separate federal law preempts California from drafting its own emissions standards, the Post reported. So much for states' rights, long the battle cry of the GOP.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt has been an ardent opponent of California's stronger auto emission standards, and earlier this month said he would revoke the Obama-era standards, contending they were “not appropriate” in light of new information, including that consumer demand for sport-utility vehicles and pickup trucks now far outweighs interest in electric and other low-emission vehicles.
“Federalism doesn’t mean that one state can dictate to the rest of the country,” Pruitt told members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in January, according to The Post.
Once again, it is clear what the priorities of the Trump administration are: to protect the interests of business and industry at the expense of just about everything else -- including, of course, our environment.