In its pursuit of slacking fuel economy standards, the EPA has sent a proposal to the White House Office of Management and Budget seeking to hinder California’s ability to set its own greenhouse gas emissions standards.
California’s size and its assertion that it will continue to require automakers to abide by the emissions standards set by the Obama administration mean that the Trump EPA’s ability to halt the stringent fuel economy standards is compromised. And California isn’t alone, with 16 other states joining a lawsuit to block the EPA changes earlier in May.
With two standards, automakers are essentially forced to abide by the more taxing economy standards, undermining the EPA’s ability to halt the progress of corporate average fuel economy standards.
The EPA and NHTSA are arguing, therefore, that a 1975 law creating the first fuel economy standards prohibits states from enacting their own rules.
“This proposal is an extraordinary repudiation of sensible climate policies, an assault on California’s environmental leadership, and another gift to the fossil fuel industry,” Ann Carlson, a University of California Los Angeles law professor, told Bloomberg. “There’s no question California, environmental groups and clean tech manufacturers will fight back in the courts.”
The White House, though, will vet the proposal, consulting with federal agencies, before unveiling the proposal in the coming weeks.
The EPA’s 44-member Science Advisory Board, though, has voted to review the rollback at the center of this battle. Concerns are mounting about the scientific validity of the decision, with many arguing that the decision flies in the face of research conducting by the EPA, itself.
Under the Trump administration, though, the EPA has been nothing if not willing to stick to its guns, which would certainly lead to a bitter battle between California and DC.
A version of this story originally appeared on GM Inside News.