Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Bloomberg reports the Trump administration has mounted a direct attack on California’s right to regulate air pollution, and their apparent efforts to use their market weight to impose their vehicle emissions standards on everyone else.
Trump to Seek Repeal of California’s Smog-Fighting Power
By Ryan Beene , Jennifer A Dlouhy , John Lippert , and Ari Natter
24 July 2018, 02:07 GMT+10
The Trump administration will seek to revoke California’s authority to regulate automobile greenhouse gas 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 proposed revamp would also put the brakes on federal rules to boost fuel efficiency into the next decade, said the people, who asked to not be identified discussing the proposals before they are public. Instead it would cap federal fuel economy requirements at the 2020 level, which under federal law must be at least a 35-mile-per-gallon fleet average, rather than letting them rise to roughly 50 mpg by 2025 as envisioned in the Obama plan, according to the people.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will likewise assert that California is barred from regulating greenhouse gas emissions from autos under the 1975 law that established the first federal fuel-efficiency requirements, the people said.
California, with more than 2 million new cars and light trucks sold last year, is the nation’s biggest state market — on par with Canada. A dozen other states follow California’s vehicle rules, and together account for more than a third of U.S. auto sales. Colorado also plans to adopt California’s clean-car rules.
California and 16 other states plus the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit on May 2 seeking to block the Trump administration’s effort to unravel the Obama-era emissions targets. Sperling said that number will grow as more people come to realize how fundamentally Trump is attacking the idea of states’ rights.
I’m sympathetic to the idea of states rights, states rights can be a protection as well as a hinderance – the ability of states to resist Federal policies was instrumental in combatting Obama’s regulatory overreach. On the other hand, California appears to be attempting to use their market strength to usurp more control over national vehicle regulation.
Glad I don’t have to figure this mess out.