WASHINGTON – President Trump posted an aggressive defense on Twitter on Wednesday of his unprecedented effort to scrap California's legal authority to set its own standards for climate-friendly automobile emissions.
Mr. Trump was in Los Angeles for a fundraiser when he bragged about the move, which Californian officials and environmental lawyers denounced as an illegal attack on states' rights and important climate change policies.
The California officials said they would complain about blocking the move once the plan was officially released.
"Our message to those who claim to support the rights of states is: Do not trample on ours," said Xavier Becerra, California Attorney General, at a press conference in Sacramento, about an hour after Mr. Trumps Tweets. "We can not afford to let up in the fight against climate change."
Mr. Trump's supporters welcomed the move.
"Californian emission regulations would affect Americans in other states that are unable to vote these state legislatures," said Adam Brandon, president of FreedomWorks, a libertarian offshoot of a group of David H. Koch and his brother Charles Koch, who made their fortune with fossil fuels. "It is a regulation without representation in the worst case."
The Trump administration is expected to revoke California's powers to impose more stringent vehicle emission regulations on Thursday morning to fuel the government's far-reaching attack on climate change efforts. Andrew Wheeler, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, and Elaine Chao, the transport secretary, are scheduled to meet at the E.P.A. announce in Washington the formal lifting of the waiver, a cornerstone of Californian environmental policy.
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A revocation of renunciation would have national significance. Exhaust pollution is the largest source of global warming from greenhouse gases in the US. California is the largest car market in the country with around 35 million vehicles. California has in the past set stricter pollution standards than the federal government, and many of these standards have ultimately influenced national and even international policies.
Thirteen other states are following tougher Californian greenhouse gas standards for exhaust systems and together account for about one-third of the national auto market.
The series of three presidential Twitter posts attempted to defend the revocation by appealing listed on specific details of ] the plan. As the political battle over climate change has intensified, Mr Trump's interest in the political details of the matter has deepened, according to a person familiar with the matter.
"Looking at the entire tweet thread, this is remarkably specific," said Barry Rabe, a professor of public policy at the University of Michigan. "It's almost political. If he does that himself, he is in his political game. "
Nevertheless, Mr. Rabe and other experts said that Mr. Trump's claims using the language of emissions policy have deviated from the facts in several important ways.
Several analysts denied, for example, Mr. Trump's claim that there was a slowdown
"The president's assertion that high fuel efficiency negatively affects safety is unfounded," said Shannon Baker-Branstetter fuel consumption standards have no statistically significant impact on road safety. [LegalexpertssaidTrump'sactionsifultimatelyconfirmedbytheSupremeCourtcouldpermanentlypreventstatesfromregulatingvehiclegreenhousegasemissions-amajorsetbackforTrump'seffortstocombatclimatechangeIftherulingcourtweredownplayedstatescouldsetotheremissionstandardsthanthefederalgovernment
This result could divide the US auto market, with some countries complying with stricter pollution standards than others. For the automakers, this would be a nightmare.
This move has been largely expected by the Obama administration since last summer's summer, when the Trump government published its plan for the withdrawal of strict federal fuel economy standards. This draft Trump rule also included a plan to repeal the state's statutory exemption granted to California under the Clean Air Act of 1970.
The government's plans have been further complicated because major automakers have told the White House they do not want such an aggressive rollback. In July, four automakers formalized their rejection of Mr. Trump's plans by signing a contract with California for compliance with more stringent emission standards if the fuller rollback is to be implemented.
Mr. Trump, blind and annoyed at the announcement, said two people familiar with the case wanted to push ahead with a policy that would punish California.
In the meantime, the Department of Justice has opened an investigation into whether automakers violate some antitrust laws.
The automakers responded cautiously. Dave Schwietert, the interim CEO and president of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, representing twelve major automotive companies, said in a statement that his members would review the details of the plan as it was released to get a full picture of its impact on automakers. "
Mr. Trump's efforts would most likely lead to increased oil consumption, and some critics expressed concern over the rise in oil prices this week after attacks on Saudi oil factories. The Consumer Reports study concluded that Trump's withdrawal of fuel standards would increase oil consumption nationwide by about 320 billion gallons.
"Saudi Arabia shows us how dependent we are on foreign oil," said Gavin Newsom, the governor of California, at a press conference. Automakers are to build vehicles that will achieve an average fuel economy of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 and save about six billion tonnes of carbon dioxide over the life of these vehicles. The proposed Trump rule would lower the requirement to approximately 60 km / l, which could release much of this pollution.
White House officials endeavored to quickly revoke California's authority to set its own standards because they wish to defend the Supreme Court's efforts before the end of Mr. Trump's first term. It is estimated that if the Democrat elected president in 2020, the federal government is unlikely to defend the lifting of waiver before the Supreme Court.
The 1970 Clean Air Act, the landmark federal law on combating air pollution California has granted California the right to set its own, more stringent rules since the state passed a law on clean air when the law passed.
Over the decades, California has demanded and received numerous federal exemptions to set stricter state standards for exhaust pollutants that cause smog and respiratory problems, although the federal government has not always granted this.
The current waiver was issued after the financial crisis of 2008, when the car manufacturers in the country faltered financially. It was part of an agreement by President Barack Obama to tighten emissions standards across the country while adapting California regulations to federal regulations. It should remain in force until 2025.
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