California EPA Waiver Under Assault By Trump Administration

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Hounding the lying, cheating scoundrel Scott Pruitt until he quit his post as EPA administrator has done nothing to slow down the Trump maladministration’s full frontal assault on fuel economy and exhaust emissions.

Bloomberg reports that three sources within the administration have confirmed that the EPA, now under the guidance of professional oil industry lobbyist Andrew Wheeler, will announce later this week that it will cancel the fuel economy standards agreed to by all the major car companies in 2011. In addition, it intends to revoke the waiver that has allowed California to set higher exhaust emissions than the federal standard for decades.

Trump The announcement, if true, is nothing less than a declaration of war by the Tweeter in Chief against several US states.

Sixteen states and the District of Columbia follow the guidelines put in place by the California Air Resources Board. Together, those states account for more than half of all new car sales in America. California and the other states have already sued the federal government from rolling back emissions standards set in place by the Obama administration.

The action by the Trumpeter and his minions proves once again that the current occupant of the Oval Office refuses to represent all Americans as he panders on a daily basis to his so-called “base.” He is perfectly content to have Americans suffer from higher rates of asthma, liver damage, heart disease, and pulmonary issues just so long as he can benefit his friends in the oil and coal industries. In essence, he is substituting the people he is supposed to represent for the monkey in that dastardly diesel exhaust emissions experiment Volkswagen, Daimler, and BMW conducted a few years ago.

As written in Bloomberg:

“The Trump administration will seek to revoke California’s authority to regulate automobile emissions — including its mandate for electric car sales — in a proposed revision of Obama-era standards, according to three people familiar with the plan. The proposal, expected to be released this week, amounts to a frontal assault on one of former President Barack Obama’s signature regulatory programs to curb greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. It also sets up a high-stakes battle over California’s unique ability to combat air pollution and, if finalized, is sure to set off a protracted courtroom battle.”

Once proposed, the new rules will be the subject of a 90 day public comment period and could be finalized by the end of this year. Government officials plan to sell the plan as a benefit to consumers, says Bloomberg. They will argue the proposed rollback and revocation of California’s waiver will, “reduce traffic fatalities by making it cheaper for drivers to replace older, less-safe cars, while paring sticker prices for new vehicles even if motorists have to spend more for gasoline.”

This is the same sort of specious reasoning that put Doug Ford into power in Ontario recently after he promised to lower gasoline prices by 10 cents a gallon.

But the Golden State is ready to fight back. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has issued a statement that reads: “To the Trump Administration: make no mistake about it — we are ready to use every legal tool at our disposal to protect the current vehicle emission standards. The stakes are high for our families’ health, the environment, and our economic prosperity.”

CNBC reports it reached out to the administration and was told the official announcement will come later this week. It was also told the administration is prepared for a protracted legal battle that could ultimately involve the Supreme Court. Any doubt how Brett Kavanaugh will rule if asked to choose between state’s rights and federal power?

Back in April, the Los Angeles Times predicted that revoking California’s EPA waiver will prove to be a disaster for automakers, almost all of whom have been lobbying hard to roll back the Obama era rules. Of course, they agreed to those rules when they needed Uncle Sugar to bail them out after the financial meltdown of 2008, but there is nothing so fleeting as gratitude. Now they will be faced with years of uncertainty while things get thrashed out in court. Do they build two different vehicles, some for some states and others for other states?

“The big dilemma for the industry is what does this uncertainty do to your production planning process,” says Deborah A. Sivas, an expert on environmental law at Stanford. “This doesn’t give you certainty as to what your targets are. I’m not sure that in the long run it helps the industry to have the administration tossing grenades into the system.” Note to lying, cheating car companies and their lying, cheating executives: Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.

The EV Revolution And Trump

What do these new policies mean for the EV revolution? Lower emissions standards will certainly blunt some of the environmental appeal of electric cars. And they will provide cover for the major car companies to build bigger, thirstier vehicles. So what can you do?

1. Call, write, and email your elected officials. It’s amazing how effective millions of angry notes from voters can be.

2. Vote the bastards out of office.

3. Refuse to buy a new car from any company that is a member of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which has been leading the fight to roll back emissions standards. Here’s the list:

  • BMW Group
  • Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
  • Ford Motor Company
  • General Motors
  • Jaguar Land Rover
  • Mazda
  • Mercedes-Benz USA
  • Mitsubishi Motors
  • Porsche
  • Toyota
  • Volkswagen Group of America
  • Volvo Car USA

Will the Trump administration kill the electric car – again? That seems unlikely. Too many countries around the world are pushing ahead with plans to ban vehicles with internal combustion engines. Too many new battery factories are planned or under construction. Too many electric cars are now on the road. Too many EV charging installations have been installed. And too many people have heard about how terrific it is to drive an electric car.

Have a tip for CleanTechnica? Want to advertise? Want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Latest CleanTechnica.TV Video

CleanTechnica uses affiliate links. See our policy here.

Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." You can follow him on Substack and LinkedIn but not on Fakebook or any social media platforms controlled by narcissistic yahoos.

Steve Hanley has 5483 posts and counting. See all posts by Steve Hanley