Chao, Wheeler call out California over environmental efforts

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They said the rollback would allow more carbon dioxide to spew from the nation's vehicles, undermining any chance of curbing climate pollution in the transportation sector, which has emerged as the nation's largest source of carbon dioxide emissions. "Automakers should seize this opportunity because without this alternative to California, you will be out of business", posted Trump on Twitter.

Trump's action came on the same day teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg was addressing the US Congress and urging legislators to treat climate change "as the existential crisis it is".

On Wednesday morning, California Governor Gavin Newsom, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Mary Nichols, the state's top clean air regulator, appeared at a news conference in Sacramento and denounced Trump's action as a "political vendetta" that risks damage to the climate and public health and would leave the U.S. auto industry behind in a global race to develop electric vehicle technology.

The White House declined to comment Tuesday, referring questions to EPA.

CARB did not immediately respond to a request for comment on today's news. Trump's been threatening it for years as part of a bigger fight between California and this administration over national fuel economy standards.

The Environmental Protection Agency and US Department of Transportation plan to announce on Thursday that the government is revoking an EPA waiver California received in 2013 to set state emissions rules and will hold a news conference to discuss the decision. The state has long set tougher tailpipe standards than the federal government to help combat air pollution.

The President was returning from a visit to California, where he stopped at fundraising events in San Francisco and Los Angeles.


The Trump administration said on Thursday it is revoking California's authority to set its own auto tailpipe emissions standards and to require some zero-emission vehicles - a decision that will spark a massive legal battle over the future of USA vehicles and the most populous state's regulatory role. "We're ready to fight for a future that you seem unable to comprehend". Experts say that the Trump administration's changes will disrupt the companies' production plans, which are years in the making, and make it hard to plan beyond what's likely to be a protracted legal battle between the administration and blue states - and the 2020 election, says Professor Peter Adriaens of the University of MI.

"This attempt to revoke California's authority has no legal basis, and it is an affront to the well-established rights of California and more than a dozen other states", said Richard Revesz, director of the Institute for Policy Integrity, in a statement Tuesday.

"California won't ever wait for permission from Washington to protect the health and safety of children and families", said Newsom, a Democrat. Revoking California's waiver will cost consumers up to $160 billion through 2050, increase greenhouse gas emissions by millions of tons per year, and make drivers buy more than 2 billion additional barrels of petroleum a year, Energy Innovation concluded.

The four automakers agreed with California to reduce emissions by 3.7% per year starting with the 2022 model year, through 2026. That compares with 4.7% yearly reductions through 2025 under the Obama standards.

Emissions from transportation, including cars and trucks, are the largest single source of greenhouse gases in the United States, according to the U.S. government.

Wheeler said Thursday that the administration has asked California for the legal authority for their agreement.

Emissions control methods first used in California, such as catalytic converters and regulations on oxides of nitrogen, have become commonplace throughout the US.

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