The Trump administration has moved to weaken United States vehicle emissions standards and has set up a major confrontation with California by scrapping its ability to enact stricter pollution standards and mandate the sale of electric cars.
Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund, called the proposed rule "a massive pileup of bad ideas" that would increase pollution and raise fuel costs for consumers. "We have been steadily increasing the standards... for nearly a decade", said EPA Assistant Administrator Bill Wehrum on a call with reporters Thursday.
Transportation experts question the reasoning behind the proposal. As such, more people will apparently buy them, resulting in a larger proportion of the population driving around in safer and newer vehicles.
In Thursday's proposal, the Trump administration argues that its proposed freeze will have a "negligible" impact on air quality, and boost the earth's temperature by 3/1000th of one degree Celcius by 2100.More news: Another Chipotle Is Closed After Customers Complain of Getting Sick
California Gov. Jerry Brown called the proposal "reckless". The argument remained on the EPA's website Thursday.
The Trump proposal estimated that under Obama-era requirements, about 70 percent of light trucks would be required to have some form of electrification by 2026 - a level it described as unrealistic - versus just 1 percent under the Trump proposal.
Heidi King, deputy administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said the freeze would reduce highway deaths by 1,000 per year "by reducing these barriers that prevent consumers from getting into the newer, safer, cleaner, more fuel-efficient cars". "More realistic standards can save lives while continuing to improve the environment". The affordability argument ignores thousands of dollars of saving in fuel costs for each driver over the life of a auto, opponents of the rollbacks said.
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.More news: ALF Reboot in the Works
"If the President thinks he can win this fight, he's out of his mind".
"For 48 years - since one of my heroes, then-governor Ronald Reagan, requested it - California has had a waiver from the federal government to clean our own air", Schwarzenegger wrote on his Twitter account. Twelve other states have adopted those tougher rules, representing about 40 percent of the country's auto market.
Automakers view the new proposal as a starting point for negotiations with California, with hopes of keeping one fuel efficiency standard for the entire nation. Colorado is set to become the 13th state soon. He added, "Make no mistake, the Sierra Club and the American people will continue fighting to protect the clean vehicle standards and the health of our communities".
California officials have said that they will sue if the federal government tries to force the state to lower its standard. And it says that compared to the 2012 rules, the new proposal would raise U.S. fuel consumption by half a million barrels per day (that's between two and three percent daily).More news: Corbyn event leaflet accuses Israel of lies
Tom Krisher reported from Detroit.