Trump's EPA proposes rollback of Obama emission standards

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The administration's proposal asserts that "attempting to solve climate change, even in part" is "fundamentally different" from the Clean Air Act's "original goal of addressing smog-related air quality problems".

After months of discussion and drafts, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration formally unveiled their plan to rewrite those rules and replace them with ones so lax even automakers are wary.

"EPA is proposing to withdraw the waiver granted to California in 2013 for the GHG [Greenhouse Gas] and ZEV [Zero Emissions Vehicles] requirements of its Advanced Clean Cars program", the proposal says. He cautions that as the EPA provides more information about its new proposed standard, those calculations may change.

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The administration's proposal could set off a high-stakes legal battle with California and the 13 other states that follow its more stringent rules. Under the Trump administration's preferred proposal, that would drop to 29.6 miles per gallon, a reduction in nationwide fuel efficiency of about 21 percent. Automakers, who had asked to be relieved of some of the mandates, have expressed misgivings about having to accommodate a patchwork of federal and state standards. He suggested states rights conservatives are hypocrites for approving the plan.

But Andrew Wheeler, the acting chief of the EPA, told lawmakers on Wednesday that he doesn't want the federal standard to contradict states that want to require higher gas mileage. But as consumers spend more on gas, the costs would start to balloon. It might even cause auto prices to stop increasing so rapidly.

Officials in the Trump administration said their actions would make autos more affordable and that would make roads safer because more motorists would be driving newer cars with the latest safety features.

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Environmental and cost impacts of freezing the rules are said to be minimal.

"The National Auto Dealers Association estimates the federal standards demanded by California will add $3,000 to the cost of new motor vehicles by 2025, potentially pricing millions of low-income households out of the market for new cars", Marlo Lewis, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), said in astatement. As for California's waiver, which was granted in 2013, the proposal says that the EPA will exercise its right to revoke that waiver since it finds the state's standards to be "arbitrary and capricious", unnecessary and inconsistent with parts of the Clean Air Act.

The proposal to roll back anti-pollution efforts is in line with President Donald Trump's decision past year to abandon the 2015 Paris Agreement, under which countries agreed to take steps to mitigate global warming. CARB was created in 1967 to fight increasing air pollution in the state due to population growth, and its rules have been adopted by 12 other states and Washington D.C., according to the State of Maryland.

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