Climate Standoff: President Trump Looking to Repeal Californian Right to Regulate Vehicle Emissions

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.

Read more:

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.

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Patrick J Wood
July 23, 2018 6:51 pm

California’s usurpation extends far beyond the realm of automobile regulation. Just look at packaging for most goods. There seems to always be a clause regarding California.

Reply to  Patrick J Wood
July 23, 2018 7:00 pm

Nor can you obtain any oil based paints or solvents, even by post. CA bans them so no large box retailer, Loews, Home Depot, etc. will carry them.

Lee Riffee
Reply to  rocketscientist
July 23, 2018 9:17 pm

I remember back when I was a scenic artist living in CA in the late 90s how hard of a time the company I worked for struggled to find adequate paints. A lot of the stuff we painted was made to be outside 24/7 (lots of stuff went to amusements parks) and exposed to all sorts of weather (including intense sunlight) and it was a real challenge to find paints that could both be legally bought/used and would stand up to such harsh elements. Many of the allowed paints simply weren’t up to muster and my boss and co-workers would often complain about not being able to give the customer what they wanted in terms of durability. What tended to happen was that workers were sent rather frequently to do touch-ups and re-paints of installed pieces.
And this was 20 years ago – I can’t imagine how much worse it has gotten. I’m still a professional artist and I still use a lot of paint and I’m so glad I don’t live in California!

Reply to  Lee Riffee
July 23, 2018 9:56 pm

and the hilarious part -oil paints are made almost exclusively using hardening oils extracted from plants with a small percentage of mineral oil added as an evaporating drying aid .. as opposed to the ‘environmentally friendly’ synthetic paints which are almost wholly manufactured using fossil fuels. but when did logic ever come into these decisions when feelings are so much more powerful.

Hocus Locus
Reply to  Karlos51
July 24, 2018 1:08 am

So they banned oil paints because they contain the very same mineral oil contained in California’s utility power transforms by the tons? Well there’s the solution then, when the power situation stabilizes (grid down) painters can crack one open to make a lifetime’s supply of durable paints.

California Dystopia, oil on canvas, 16″x20″

Mineral oil is a GOOD thing. In the early days of mass electrification transformer fires were common — and the industry discovered a miracle substance — a non-flammable, excellent dielectric that dissipated heat better than simple oil and was extremely stable over time, polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs. But nature plays a very cruel trick on us. Once you start bonding chlorines to carbons and hydrogens you get some very useful organic solvents, but they do horrifying things to people and critters. In the 1960s mounting evidence of toxicity and a direct mass poisoning in Japan led to a financially traumatic but well-justified US ban in 1977. The industry went back to using flammable transformer oil, and the occasional brushfire. In my book the greatest TRUE environmental ‘wins’ of the human race so far are,

1. Getting the lead out of gasoline
2. Catalytic converters in autos (love/hate ’em)
3. Replacing the PCB with mineral oil.

After Hurricanes Hugo and Marilyn we were disassembling peoples’ computers and immersing the guts in carbon tet to remove corrosive sea salt and moisture. That was a miracle in itself. Can’t live without solvents either.

Reply to  Hocus Locus
July 24, 2018 6:29 am

Hocus Locus ……….I think you lack focus !
” In my book the greatest TRUE environmental ‘wins’ of the human race so far are :
1. Getting the lead out of gasoline
2. Catalytic converters in autos (love/hate ’em)
3. Replacing the PCB with mineral oil.”
……………BUT………………….TRY THESE:
1. Reticulation of CLEAN , RUNNING WATER !
Especially HOT RUNNING WATER ( as in MY morning shower !
The MINIMUM starting point of TRUE human civilisation
to my mind !! ).
2.Removal of sewerage and household-waste and rubbish
…which , together with access to clean water , account
for MOST of the improvement in human health and well being ,
simply by removing the major disease vectors and agents
( like bacteria & rats & fleas ) ! It was Serendipitous !
CLEANLINESS before “we” even understood the concept !
3.The vast improvements in AGRICULTURE which not only
allowed fewer people to produce an ever increasing amount
of food , but removed the threat of starvation and freed-up
people to study and invent all the “other stuff”
( Like better housing , the Oil Industry , the Pharmaceutical
Industry ,Medicine , Engineering , Art and so on ! ).
CIVILISATION ( not JUST Western Civilisation )……..
BUT THE WEST continued to develop and refine them to
the TAKEN FOR GRANTED ubiquitous level “WE” now ENJOY !

Reply to  Hocus Locus
July 24, 2018 10:19 am

Good reply Hocus. PCBs by themselves are only slightly toxic. The whole scare-mongering industry concerning it is that PCBs exposed to fires produce dioxin, depending on the temp exposed. If PCB is burned in a hot-enough flame (>2200F or so — it’s not flammable, but it decomposes), any dioxin is destroyed.

Reply to  Hocus Locus
July 28, 2018 1:57 pm

mineral oil /= PCBs

Heathkit ham radio 50 Ohm “dummy loads” for instance still use simple mineral oil in lieu of Polychlorinated biphenyl “oil”.

Henning Nielsen
Reply to  rocketscientist
July 24, 2018 12:51 am

Have they also banned plastics? That’s oil-based too.

Reply to  Patrick J Wood
July 23, 2018 7:33 pm

Yeah — “Known to cause cancer in California.” — and nowhere else!

Reply to  noaaprogrammer
July 23, 2018 8:04 pm

Because California is the smartester. Everyone is the dummerist.

Reply to  noaaprogrammer
July 23, 2018 8:45 pm

therefore: California causes cancer…..

Bryan A
Reply to  Patrick J Wood
July 23, 2018 9:39 pm

Perhaps the thing California needs to do is to produce their vision of the “Gold Standard for Emissions” approved vehicles within the state and mandate that auto sales within the state are only of California produced vehicles. Then other states could follow the National Standard and not be required to buy the cars with the more stringent standards. Then the state’s like Colorado that want to follow Wakyfornia standards can simply sell cars in their state that were made in California.

Wayne Job
Reply to  Bryan A
July 25, 2018 7:58 pm

I live in OZ and have owned two harley’s with stickers on them that declared, not for sale in California.

Bill Powell
Reply to  Patrick J Wood
August 2, 2018 6:24 am

I work in the inland marine business and see the plastic “this product contains materials known to the state of California…” tags on all kinds of products. These plastic tags are mandated by California and are found on products sent to all 50 states and likely beyond. Wonder how many plastic straws would be the equivalent of those dumb tags.

July 23, 2018 7:10 pm

Ahh yes, back to one of the original purposes of government: Assuring fair interstate commerce. #winning

Reply to  Bruckner8
July 23, 2018 7:33 pm

US Constitution:

The Congress shall have power … To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes–Article I, Section 8, Clause 3.

Reply to  OK S.
July 24, 2018 1:51 pm

The drawback comes when the sneaky politicians declare that EVERYTHING relates to interstate commerce, even if none of the product actually leaves the state, and therefore, ergo, ipso facto and QED, the Federal government can regulate EVERYTHING!

July 23, 2018 7:13 pm

This is a hard call. The spirit of states rights is for individual states to be able to have control over their state when specific fed. power is not given in the constitution. California is acting as a sudo federal Government, because of its market size, its laws end up being imposed on other states. I say the spirit of the law should prevail in this case.

Reply to  bearman
July 23, 2018 7:21 pm

As a retired attorney who practiced regulatory law, in a number of fields, i agree with you.

Mike the Morlock
Reply to  bearman
July 23, 2018 7:48 pm

Hi bearman
Ah no it is not. No state can set up regulation that regulate outside of their borders. No state may bar the import of merchandise from another state.
California can regulate merchandise produced within it’s own borders, but not per say the city of Detroit that is outside it’s borders.
It can appeal on the grounds that there is a real hazard unique to their State. Example Conn. back in the 1980s wanting to ban triple trailer semi trucks. They lost.
Cal has been playing fast and loose they are about to be put in their place.
You can’t tell other states how the must regulate in regards to interstate commerce


Jake J
Reply to  Mike the Morlock
July 23, 2018 8:00 pm

I don’t take anyone seriously who cannot spell per se.

Bryan A
Reply to  Jake J
July 23, 2018 9:47 pm

Sometimes autocorrect is not your fiend

Mike the Morlock
Reply to  Jake J
July 23, 2018 11:03 pm

Jake J

John Endicott
Reply to  Jake J
July 24, 2018 5:23 am

And I don’t take anyone seriously who nitpicks spelling instead of addressing the issues being discussed. So it’s all good 🙂

Reply to  Jake J
July 24, 2018 6:45 am

I don’t take seriously anyone who complains about spelling.

Reply to  MarkW
July 25, 2018 10:33 am

I used to be the pedants’ pedant.
But – provided the communication is clear [that is important] – then I am now of the opinion that spelling doesn’t matter.

Provided the communication is clear.


Jake J
Reply to  MarkW
July 25, 2018 12:46 pm

Blame the nuns, especially the one in fifth grade.

Reply to  Jake J
July 24, 2018 10:23 am

Jake J, spelling naz*s are so boring.

Reply to  beng135
July 25, 2018 10:42 am

We demand precision in scientific calculations, but when it comes to language composition, we can let the precise rules go to hell. Is that the position we want to take here ?

The speed of light is 286,000 miles per second. “186, 000”, you say ? — curse you, number Nazi ! … it’s just a difference of “one” vs “two” at the beginning of that string of digits. What’s the big deal, mein fuhrer ?

[??? .mod]

John Endicott
Reply to  Robert Kernodle
July 26, 2018 6:02 am

Precision in scientific calculations and precision in language composition server two different purposes. The purpose of language is communication. If the message is successfully communicated, what matters if there is a typo? it doesn’t matter, as the purpose is met. The purpose of precision in scientific calculations is in part so that the scientific calculations can be verified by others (a key part of science is the ability to replicate the results), so a typo in a calculation matters a great deal, as it completely ruins the calculation, resulting in erroneous results that others can’t replicate without making the same errors.

Reply to  Jake J
July 24, 2018 2:59 pm

Sometimes, it is your enema.

Reply to  Mike the Morlock
July 23, 2018 8:01 pm

How does it prevent paint with “large” amounts of volatile substances then? Seriously I had to drive considerable distances to obtain a can of red touch up paint for a Ford Mustang years ago, because the paint was banned in CA. Car manufacturers have troubles with red paint. Most other colors weren’t affected.

Percy Jackson
Reply to  Mike the Morlock
July 23, 2018 8:03 pm

Surely California can have different laws as to what vehicles can be driven in the state.
So while it would be unconstitutional for California to ban you from buying a car from a different state it would not have to let you drive it.

Of course I am not a constitutional lawyer so that might be complete nonsense.

Mike the Morlock
Reply to  Percy Jackson
July 23, 2018 11:27 pm

Percy Jackson
“Of course I am not a constitutional lawyer” Nor am I but I took enough classes on the subject years ago.
Drivers licenses are an example. Yes you can regulate the tests and requirements for a license. But the state must recognize other state licenses.
Can they refuse to allow the registration of a vehicle that has been manufactured in another state because of requirements? No. Interstate commerce is just that you can place no burdens on the commerce. If the object must be modified for the party purchasing it this places a burden on the trade.
As I said California played fast and loose and the present supreme court is likely to enlighten them. This is basic stuff, it just has never been challenged.


dan no longer in CA
Reply to  Mike the Morlock
July 24, 2018 5:41 am

I moved to CA in 1996 and brought in a “federal” car that did not have the magic sticker proclaiming it to be CA compliant (I bought the car used in Alabama). They charged me an extra $800 to register the car. When I took it for emissions testing, it passed the CA requirements. So the real concern was the sticker, not the actual emissions. Later, a judge prohibited that practice and ordered immigrants such as myself to be repaid. I mailed in the rebate forms but never heard back. There are many reasons why I left CA.

Reply to  dan no longer in CA
July 24, 2018 6:32 am

Dan, having worked in a environmental regulatory agency often the technocrats “regulate” not by environmental outcomes but by what paperwork was complete and by the due date.

I was ask to sit in on a meeting with regulatory division directors and the regulated community. After some growling and nasty words our new Secretary asked the division directors how many “notice of violations” were issued due to bad outcomes, that is where a company failed to meet regulatory standards. Answer after hemming and haahing, none in the previous five years. All the notice of violations were issued for failure to met deadlines in submitting paperwork. Even though quarterly reports were inches thick all the regulatory staff did was review the top three pages for clerical and time errors.

Reply to  Mike the Morlock
July 23, 2018 8:35 pm

Seems to me I recall reading that back it FDRs day, the Supreme Court forced a famer to buy grain to feed his livestock because growing his own impacted commerce across state lines. We’ve had some very bad Supreme Court justices during and since Roosevelt’s socialist progressive era.

Reply to  Mike the Morlock
July 23, 2018 11:54 pm

But California is regulating automobile manufacturing outside of California for sale within California, not just produced within California. That seems to be regulating interstate commerce to me.

Reply to  WR2
July 24, 2018 8:37 pm

No, the state is regulating what can be sold in CA. They do not regulate any manufacturer outside of the state. A car company does not have to follow the regs, they just wouldn’t be able to sell them in CA. A state can regulate, or even prohibit, what is sold within that state.

Unfortunately, CA is such a big market, manufacturers often find it most profitable to meet CA’s requirements, and sell the same product throughout the country. There’s nothing that can be done short of taking away their sovereignty. A bigger problem than autos is schoolbooks having to conform to the standards of major states.

Reply to  Mike the Morlock
July 24, 2018 1:55 pm

There’s the “gotcha”! No cars are made in CA (except Tesla, and, well, they deserve it), therefore CA does not have a say in how ANY cars are made!

P.S., for the didactic comment, I was more bothered by using “it’s” when “its” was what he meant, than by per say.

Reply to  Mike the Morlock
July 24, 2018 8:29 pm

Sorry to burst your bubble. “No state can bar the import of merchandise from another state?” That’s just not true. Try taking legally purchased marijuana from CO into most any other state, and you are subject to arrest. Other examples, including certain types of weapons and ammo, exist. Perhaps you meant that no state can ban the import (or charge a special import tariff) on products from another state that could otherwise be legally sold within that state?

John Endicott
Reply to  Jtom
July 25, 2018 7:23 am

marijuana is a bad example. It’s illegal on the federal level, so individual states legalization of it is irrelevant because while it’s legal (on the state level) in CO you could still get arrested for it *in* CO if the feds ever decided to crack down on it.

Reply to  John Endicott
July 26, 2018 1:55 pm

“It’s illegal on the federal level”

based on which section of the Constitution?

Reply to  simple-touriste
July 28, 2018 2:06 pm

“based on which section of the Constitution?”

Face palm …

Please take a look at 1) the US Code *and* 2) also the Code of Federal Regulations …

Reply to  _Jim
July 28, 2018 9:54 pm

What are you trying to say?

John Endicott
Reply to  simple-touriste
August 1, 2018 5:51 am

What he is saying is you need to educate yourself on how our government works.

Congress passes laws, presumably based on the powers given to it by the constitution, including setting up government agencies. Federal Government agencies enact regulations based on the powers given to them by congress. and if you look at those laws and regulations you will see that marijuana is illegal on the federal level (specifically via the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) (21 U.S.C. § 811)).

Legal/Illegal is a separate issue from constitutional/not constitutional. The Judicial branch of the government determines if a law or regulation is constitutional, and they only do that when a lawsuit about the law or regulation comes before them.

So, if you think a Law or regulation isn’t constitutional, then initiate a lawsuit so the courts can make a ruling on the law or regulations constitutionality. Until such a ruling is made, the law or regulation stands and thus you can be arrested by the Feds, even in CO, for breaking that law or regulation (hence it being illegal on the federal level).

Donald Kasper
Reply to  bearman
July 23, 2018 10:47 pm

Not remotely a hard call as pollution is not limited to one state once its in the air or water. It crosses state lines it is only a Federal matter. The California pollution standards are a privilege granted by the Federal government that can be revoked at any time.

Reply to  Donald Kasper
July 24, 2018 6:36 am

Donald, typical the federal statute sets an upper or lower limit. For example, a state can pass regulations, depending on what is regulate, which does not exceed or fall below the federal standard. You are correct that the federal government can rescind such permission. However, in most cases it is up to Congress to do so.

Reply to  bearman
July 24, 2018 12:03 am

Similar arguments can be made in another field, that of K-12 school books. The outsized influence of the Texas Board of Education afflicts the content of text books far beyond Texas’ borders. There is a wealth of information on the textbook wars available via your favorite search engine for those who might want to further explore this OT subject.

Reply to  RayG
July 24, 2018 6:39 am

Ray, good example. Several years ago I believe Fox News (it could have been CSPAN) broadcast the Texas schoolbook debates. It is more than a little enlightening. More than half of those on the selection committee were liberal to far, far left. The debates were extremely nasty. What is fascinating is what the left on the committee wanted to remove from history books. Like most liberals they also wanted to change or redefine specific words.

Henning Nielsen
Reply to  bearman
July 24, 2018 12:55 am

Which law? The law of market size?

Tom Dayton
July 23, 2018 7:31 pm

It’s not California’s fault that so many people want to live here, that we have a great deal of market clout. Our regulations and taxes are working quite well, thank you. We are the sixth largest economy in the world, partly because of those regulations and taxes. Contrast with, say, Kansas…

Jake J
Reply to  Tom Dayton
July 23, 2018 7:59 pm

Not only that, but CA has:

– The nation’s highest poverty rate
– The world’s highest smugness rate

Percy Jackson
Reply to  Jake J
July 23, 2018 8:10 pm

No idea about the smugness rate but according to Wikipedia California is rated 35th by
poverty rate among US states. Highest on the list in terms of poverty are the American territories suggesting that being ruled by the US results in a destruction of personal wealth.

Greg F
Reply to  Percy Jackson
July 23, 2018 9:01 pm

No idea about the smugness rate but according to Wikipedia California is rated 35th by poverty rate among US states.

Wikipedia is for 2014 which also includes the Supplemental Poverty Measure. The SPM takes into account food, clothing, shelter, utilities, as well as other factors. IOW, it takes into account the cost of living. For 2016 the U.S. Census Bureau Supplemental Poverty Measure (Excel File) puts California 2nd at 20.4% just behind the District of Columbia at 21.0%.

Reply to  Jake J
July 24, 2018 6:53 am


Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Jake J
July 24, 2018 6:57 am

CA has a huge number of homeless people, about 131,000. Food and accommodation are literally unaffordable. Maybe they are supposed to live in their cars.

Gene H
Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
July 24, 2018 11:41 am

Many of California’s homeless come here because of the benefits provided by extreme liberal cities like San Francisco… which now has a huge problem with feces and drug needles littering city streets. Unintended circumstances from giving the homeless money for housing and food and touting that they have “a right” to live on the streets.

Reply to  Tom Dayton
July 23, 2018 8:20 pm

CA has high taxes, high electric rates, high gas prices, massive traffic and insane political leadership. If not for the generally pleasant weather and being the center of high tech, I wouldn’t have moved here decades ago. Now, I can’t wait to get the f out of here.

Bryan A
Reply to  co2isnotevil
July 23, 2018 9:54 pm

They’s no F in here…watchu talkin ’bout

Reply to  Bryan A
July 24, 2018 6:59 am

co2isnotevil : ” Now , I can’t wait to get the f out of here. ”
Bryan A : “They’s no F in here…watchu talkin ’bout ”
Trevor : See ! He was QUICK wasn’t he !!

Reply to  Tom Dayton
July 23, 2018 9:16 pm


California is now ranked 46th in the US for math, science and reading skills.

Rent prices in major California cities are some of the highest in the world because of insane “green” zoning laws, which severely curtails new apartment/housing construction.

It has the highest state and local taxes in the country, the streets are filled with poop, and insane EPA regulations make it difficult for manufacturers to turn a profit.

California’s water system is designed for a maximum of 25 million residents, however, at any given time, 40 million reside in the state, so there are often severe water shortages.

California’s state debt is now $1.3~2 TRILLION (nobody knows for sure) and is completely unsustainable and out of control. The only way out is to dramatically increase state taxes, which are already the highest in US.

California’s roads and bridges are some of the worst kept in the US and totally inadequate to meet the needs of 40 million residents.

California ranks DEAD LAST in quality of life… It’s designed for the very rich, the very poor and public sector employees, with the middle class getting clobbered with :exorbitant taxes, small living quarters and high living costs…

Leftist political hacks have destroyed California and have made the state a cautionary tale…

John Endicott
Reply to  SAMURAI
July 25, 2018 7:29 am

” the streets are filled with poop”

That’s certainly true of San Fran. Probably true in LA as well. But outside the big cities, most likely not, even in CA.

D. Cohen
Reply to  Tom Dayton
July 23, 2018 11:56 pm

Look at the geographic size of CA compared to the same “length” of the east coast of the US. That alone is enough to explain why there are so many people in CA. There is no need to talk about how more people prefer to live in CA.

By the way, just in the interests of fairness, it makes sense to have all the states roughly equal geographically. Glancing again at the east coast, it is clear that CA should be split up into three or four different states at least. As it stands, the CA citizens are under-represented in the US senate. A similar point could be made about TX, which by the same reasoning should also be split up. Does all this sound unlikely? Just wait until our wonderful political class realizes how many extra openings for state legislators, governors, US senators, etc., would be created by this sort of state splitting — not to mention all those extra CA senators would probably be democrats. Republicans would then in defense have to split up places like TX to create more red-state senate seats.

Reply to  D. Cohen
July 24, 2018 6:54 am

Japan has about 2/3rds the land area and almost twice the population.

PS: I’ve thought that Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Maryland and Massachusetts should be combined into a single state for years.

Reply to  MarkW
July 24, 2018 2:04 pm

…but Connecticut gets a pass?

John Endicott
Reply to  MarkW
July 25, 2018 7:35 am

“PS: I’ve thought that Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Maryland and Massachusetts should be combined into a single state for years”

How do you propose that working? Maryland is separated from the other via NY, Penn, Del, & NJ. are those states also included in your fantasy combination?

Reply to  D. Cohen
July 24, 2018 8:54 pm

The Senate was never intended to be based on proportional representation of the people, but to represent the interests of each of the several states, with each one having an equal vote in the Senate.
Congress would have to give approval to CA to split. That will never happen. Texas, otoh, already has congressional consent to split into as many as five states. That was included in the terms of their joining the Union.

Reply to  Tom Dayton
July 24, 2018 6:01 am

Remember than Kansas and a lot of other states helped pay for the rebuilding after the LA riots with Federal money. That was after Chicago and other Democrat-controlled power bases forced add-on funds for their cities too. No doubt Kansas and other states will pay again for rebuilding of California cities built on active plate tectonic boundaries.

Reply to  Tom Dayton
July 24, 2018 6:08 am

Kansas and a lot of other states receive families and retirees from California and now Colorado as a result of piling on costs and taxes. That includes high impact fees on housing permits and real estate prices forced higher by policy design. The reverse Dust Bowl migration is underway with the same callous attitude of Californians.

Reply to  Tom Dayton
July 24, 2018 6:51 am

Let me get this straight.
It is your contention that taxes and regulations are why people are moving to California, and not because of things like the weather?

Reply to  Tom Dayton
July 24, 2018 10:51 am


About 6 years ago I was offered a federal job in California. After a bit of research, I decided that the taxes in California weren’t high enough & there were not enough regulation … I decided to ride out the depression and stay where I was/am.

JP Guthrie
Reply to  Tom Dayton
July 24, 2018 5:13 pm

No, your taxes and regulations are not working so well. I live in Japan, and have worked with companies which operate offices and factories in America. The largest of these, Toyota, recently moved their headquarters out of California and into Texas. California is now near the bottom of the liste for Japanese companies looking for a place to open an overseas office.

As the cost of California’s taxes and regulations drive up the cost of living, poverty will increase, because businesses and companies will go to places where they can make more money.

At the moment, despite California’s high taxes, state debt is astronomical, being at $70,000 per capita. Every year Jerry Brown predicts his administration will create a surplus, but every year creates a new deficit.

I grew up in California, and would love to live there. But as a business owner, California is a nearly impossible environment to do business. California’s main industry is agriculture, which happens to be the least regulated and lowest taxed. Cars used to be made in California, Chrysler ran a large operation there, but those days are gone.

Reply to  Tom Dayton
July 25, 2018 11:36 am

You mean despite those regulations and taxes… As small companies and wealthier people leave in droves…

Denis McCormick
July 23, 2018 7:36 pm

The argument to be made is that the air falls under the federal government’s jurisdiction. They control air traffic (FAA) and the media (FCC). They both are carried over the air.

Another Paul
Reply to  Denis McCormick
July 24, 2018 5:59 am

I think only one of the above requires air?

July 23, 2018 7:47 pm

Under strict adherence to the Constitution as it was written, the 9th and 10th the Amendments prohibit the Federal government from repealing/interfering with California’s pollution standards as such powers are not granted to the Federal government in the enumerated powers in Article 1, Section 8.

However, given SCOTUS’ utterly disgusting ruling in the 1942 Wizard v Filburn case regarding the unlimited scope of the Commerce Clause, the Federal government can pretty much do whatever the hell it wants…

The Willard V. Filburn case was used to establish the Federal EPA, so he who lives by Leftist SCOTUS rulings, can die by Leftist SCOTUS rulings; it’s a two-edged sword.

This could be a very interesting case. If California challenges the right of the Federal governemnt to repeal California’s pollution standards, and wins, then it would open the door for states to challenge federal EPA regulations they feel are too excessive.

Leftists should be carful what they wish for…

David G. Mills
Reply to  SAMURAI
July 23, 2018 10:11 pm

Anybody who thinks commerce today is remotely similar to commerce in 1879 is just flat nuts. In fact large corporations carry on business today in virtually every state. Stuff gets shipped all over the nation all the time. One can hardly run a business without getting goods or material from another country much less another state. The concept of intrastate commerce is a fiction in today’s world.

I am a retired attorney. I think the commerce clause in today’s world, pretty much allows the government to do all the damn regulation it wants. That is my two cents. I am not saying that the Supreme Court would agree with me. But they have to arrive at some twisted facts to get there.

We are not an agrarian country of 17 million people. We have 320 million people and most of the commerce is in big cities. Things are vastly different from when the commerce clause was written.

Reply to  David G. Mills
July 24, 2018 6:25 am


The more complex and fast paced economies become, the less feckless government hacks should try to micromanage them through: regulations, subsidies, bailouts, excessive taxes, loan guarantees, mandates, rules, picking winners and losers, starting stupid trade wars, setting prices, minimum wages, labor laws, anti-trust BS, a 75,000-page tax code, etc.

Businessmen and natural market forces are perfectly capable of adopting to changes, and don’t require or want clueless governemnt hacks imposing $2 TRILLION/yr (about the entire GDP of India) of senseless regulation compliance costs, starting trade wars, playing god with interest rates, exploding the money supply, etc.,

Apart from basic trademark, patent, contract and product liability laws, the governemnt should

Given the immutable law of Leftist irony, all the stupid governemnt meddling in the economy has the complete opposite effect of what’s planned..

Yes, David, a lot has changed since 1791 when the Commerce Cluse was made part of the Constitution, but it’s original simple purpose still remains the same: to prevent states from imposing duties on interstate trade… that’s it..

Reply to  SAMURAI
July 24, 2018 7:00 am

The faster the world moves, the less government is capable of regulating it.
Beyond that, the bigger government gets, the slower it moves.

PS: That’s also why you don’t need to worry about big companies taking over the world. Without the protection of big government, big companies are quickly eaten alive by their more nimble rivals.

Reply to  MarkW
July 26, 2018 1:52 pm

Microsoft Windows, an horrible OS, still rules the PC world. GNU/linux, an horribly designed flavor of the stupid Unix basic design, defended by hypocrites for is security (the security had to be retrofitted, it’s a patchwork), has not taken over.

Reply to  David G. Mills
July 24, 2018 6:50 am

David, while you are mostly correct, you underestimate how much interstate commerce took place during the early days of the country. Before, after and during the debates over the Constitution commerce between states and between countries was a major concern and topic of discussion. The compromise was that only the federal government should regulate interstate commerce. However it was assumed at the time that the federal government wouldn’t regulate very much.

SCOTUS long ago step beyond its delegated authority. Sadly, much of what SCOTUS has ruled could be changed by Congress.

Reply to  David G. Mills
July 24, 2018 6:58 am

If you believe that the constitution no longer works, the proper, and legal recourse is to change the constitution.
To ignore it because it’s inconvenient is the path of tyranny.

John Dilks
Reply to  MarkW
July 24, 2018 7:48 pm

Actually it is best to leave the Constitution alone. You stand to lose all of the good in it, if you open it up for changes.

George Daddis
Reply to  David G. Mills
July 24, 2018 7:37 am

I am not an attorney, but wouldn’t it be fair to say that the Commerce Clause is being interpreted much differently than the Founders intended? Or more specifically the interpretation of the word “commerce” in the Constitution?

Didn’t they simply intend to protect the transactions of buying, selling and transport of widgets across state lines (interstate commerce) from discriminatory practices of individual states; or did the act of a widget crossing a state line somehow allow the feds to control design, manufacture and distribution of widgets from cradle to grave?

If I had a farm in NJ and sold bacon to folks across the river in NY, do you think Adams, Jefferson and Franklin really thought the new Federal Government should now have the ability to regulate how I raise my piglets? Or were they simply thinking of the transactions of transport and trade of bacon across state lines?

Tsk Tsk
Reply to  George Daddis
July 24, 2018 8:20 pm

No, the point was to preempt individual states from engaging in trade wars with each other or abusing their regulatory power, which, um, is exactly what CA is doing.

Reply to  SAMURAI
July 24, 2018 7:18 am

Samurai : “Those who live by the sword , die by the sword ! ”
” he who lives by Leftist SCOTUS rulings, can die by Leftist SCOTUS rulings;
it’s a two-edged sword.” ………………..Seems that YOU should know !!

Considering the comment posted by “Bryan A
Perhaps the thing California needs to do is to produce their vision of the “Gold Standard for Emissions” approved vehicles within the state and mandate that auto sales within the state are only of California produced vehicles.”
I loved your closing PUN or was it a FREUDIAN SLIP or just a spelling error ?
“Leftists should be carful what they wish for…”
How apt !

Bryan A
Reply to  Trevor
July 24, 2018 10:04 am

Purely by design and not modeled prior

Reply to  SAMURAI
July 24, 2018 8:37 am

The Federal Government has a potentially unbeatable strategy, which is that the laws of physics prelude the premise behind California’s insane climate related regulations and that no government, local, state or federal has jurisdiction over the laws of physics.

Tsk Tsk
Reply to  SAMURAI
July 24, 2018 8:18 pm

10A: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Commerce clause is enumerated in the Constitution. This is clearly an application of the Commerce clause (unlike the 99% of the time it is normally invoked).

Johann Wundersamer
July 23, 2018 7:48 pm

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 regulations were ALWAYS meant for “fleet average”.

It was only under Obama that it became a single pursuit of individual car types.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Johann Wundersamer
July 24, 2018 5:33 am

Yes it is fleet average. So if you throw in a couple of models of electric cars that keeps the average low enough to continue to build and sell the cars people really want.

Jake J
July 23, 2018 7:57 pm

The compromise should allow CA to keep regulating smog-forming emissions, but not CO2 emissions.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Jake J
July 23, 2018 9:16 pm

The EPA’s own CO2 Endangerment finding still stands in the way.

Jake J
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
July 24, 2018 10:16 am

That’s why Trump was elected. Reverse it. CA’s smog controls are great, but ditch the CO2 crap.

July 23, 2018 7:59 pm

California can do what it wants within its’ own borders….. except opening them. It’s up to the rest of the states/country/world to decide whether or not they’ll follow the dictates. Just because they carry so much economical “clout” shouldn’t mean they are in control…. but they may be. California just removed the vote from the ballot that could split the state into 3 even though it was legally put there by petition. They’re afraid it might pass and reduce their clout. California is already a Socialist state controlled by outsiders intent on spreading the California “clout”.

July 23, 2018 8:14 pm

“On the other hand, California appears to be attempting to use their market strength to usurp more control over national vehicle regulation.”

That is false. They are not doing it to usurp more control over national vehicle regulation. It is a side effect of their efforts over the years to reduce in-state pollution and now CO2 emissions.

Walter Sobchak
July 23, 2018 8:26 pm

It is quite amusing to see leftist Democrats (I know its a redundancy) defending “State’s Rights”. Until November 2016, they always said “State’s Rights” was a code word for racism.

BTW: California has the right to set its own automotive standards because Congress explicitly granted it to them. Congress could repeal it, and federal law would preempt California law.

A Friend
Reply to  Eric Worrall
July 23, 2018 9:51 pm

There is a federal program for foreign diplomats only.

You might be able to claim Nevada residency for cheap though, using a service that gives you a Nevada street address and forwards your mail for you (there are many such services available). Then just drive around California like someone who likes to visit a lot.

Not sure it is worth it, or if there is some catch.

Reply to  A Friend
July 24, 2018 10:59 am

There is a catch based on individual state laws. Oregon has no sales tax so people from other states have come here for years to buy big ticket items like RV’s, cars, appliances, etc.. States have successfully sued companies in Oregon for helping outside residents avoid paying sales taxes and gone after individual buyers for not paying their taxes.

We had a case just a couple years ago where Washington (the state) sued an Oregon mattress company and put them out of business for essentially not collecting Washington sales tax. State of Oregon should of but did not come to the aid of the company who broke no Oregon law. It’s up to the WA resident to declare and pay sales taxes on anything purchased in Oregon.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
July 24, 2018 9:16 pm

The federal government has the power to decide the requirements for vehicles using the (federally paid for) interstate highway system. The highways are federal property.
The feds could also require reciprocity between states, i.e., CA must allow cars from other states to use their roads (though CA could put restrictions what cars their own citizens could own). If a state refused, the feds would just cut off federal funds for road construction. If things got really bad, the feds could just shut down the Interstate system within the state. That would get CA’s attention very quickly.

J Mac
July 23, 2018 8:52 pm

Maybe California should focus on basics, like providing 24/7/365 reliable, abundant, low cost electricity and natural gas to its citizens. And stop trying to tell the rest of the USA how to live!
The west coast heat wave is just getting started, with weeks stretching out in front yet, and Cali is facing power and natural gas shortages already.

California power grid urges consumers to conserve energy in heat wave–finance.html

Reply to  J Mac
July 24, 2018 12:19 pm

They aren’t telling the rest of the country how to live, they are deciding how they want to live.

Joel O'Bryan
July 23, 2018 9:13 pm

California was granted a waiver in order for it to impose tougher standards.
Other states do not have this waiver.
That means California is treated differently under Federal law. Unconstitutional.

The Federal Clean Air Act has priority over state laws under Supreme Court interpretations of the interstate commerce clause of the US constitution. But the CAA allows the EPA to grant states waiver to make them tougher. That is what happened here.

Paul Johnson
July 23, 2018 9:38 pm

Appreciate the Newspeak:
“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”

It’s framed as though CAFE would rise of its own accord, instead of being forced to do so.

July 23, 2018 10:05 pm

It appears that California has a waver, granted by congress, that allows it to set its own vehicle pollution regulations. link It is likely that any attempt to revoke California’s waver would be strongly challenged in court.

It’s really important that the Republicans do well in the midterms, otherwise the Democrats would have an easy time thwarting President Trump’s plans.

Donald Kasper
July 23, 2018 10:45 pm

Figuring it out is very simple. California has the right to set higher car emission standards with the agreement of the Federal government who can remove that privilege at any time. So Caly is going to sue to get a privilege made into a right. Caly has no such rights as pollution is not limited to a state.

John Hardy
July 23, 2018 11:13 pm

In the electric vehicle world, so called “compliance cars” sold in California and a few other states but not elsewhere were regarded with contempt by many; crude conversion of piston engined vehicles to tick a box, not even offered to a wider public that would have bought them. We even had the absurd spectacle of the head of one major automaker asking people not to buy his company’s compliance cars because they cost him too much to build! Well doh. It is noticeable that the most successful EVs (Nissan Leaf, GM Bolt, Tesla) are largely ground-up designs and no one is going to do that for compliance.

Another Paul
Reply to  John Hardy
July 24, 2018 6:03 am

I do think Tesla made plenty of money from selling California Zero Emission Vehicle Credits to other car companies.

Curious George
Reply to  Another Paul
July 24, 2018 7:31 am

They are running out of money.

Reply to  John Hardy
July 24, 2018 7:29 am

That MAY have been the case initially since it took a time to figure out how to integrate the pollution controls with everything else least inefficiently.
The company that did this the best would capture the CA market. No company would abandon that.

July 24, 2018 4:42 am

I recall a TV documentary years ago which looked at why the EU went down the catalytic converter route for vehicle emissions rather than the lean-burn combustion technology route. There had been much lobbying by German car companies for the former because of their Californian markets.

Bruce Cobb
July 24, 2018 5:03 am

It is laughable that they are hiding behind the fig leaf of “state’s rights” as an excuse to control CO2, forcing a burden on automakers, which affects everyone. Notice also that they conflate CO2 with all tailpipe emissions, a favorite tactic and form of lying by Greenies everywhere.

July 24, 2018 5:16 am

Why should Trump want to force Kalifornicia to act in a sane manner? If they are hell bent on acting like Collectivist Idiots, then let them. Perhaps, after most of the citizens creating wealth, i.e. tax base, have fled, they will finally begin to see the errors of their ways.

As the late Frank Lloyd Wright once said, ” The United States is tilted downward to the west. All loose nuts roll to California.” Let them have all the nuts, so the rest of the country will be sane.

Reply to  John L Kelly
July 24, 2018 7:45 am

John L Kelly :
I couldn’t find THAT QUOTE :As the late Frank Lloyd Wright once said, ” The United States is tilted downward to the west. All loose nuts roll to California.”
“Tip the world over on its side and everything loose will land in Los Angeles.
Frank Lloyd Wright”.. …………which says MUCH THE SAME THING .
ALSO : “Bureaucrats; They are dead at 30 and buried at 60.
They are like custard pies ; you can’t nail them to a wall”
and the best one of all:
“I believe totally in a Capitalist System , I only wish that someone would try it ! “

Reply to  John L Kelly
July 24, 2018 12:54 pm

CA just passed up the UK to have the world’s 5th largest economy, even though the UK has a population that is 55% greater. Look at the hottest tech companies – Google, Salesforce, Facebook, Netflix – all located in CA. The citizens creating wealth are not leaving, they are staying because CA is where wealth is made. Enlighten me on all the wealth being created in red states.

Reply to  Chris
July 24, 2018 6:14 pm

Several company’s have moved here from California in the last few years.

Reply to  Chris
July 24, 2018 7:20 pm

That stat is far revealing about the UK’s average level of mediocre prosperity than it is about California’s wealthiness.

July 24, 2018 5:29 am

California’s basic problem is that of the alarmists, in a particularly obvious and acute form.

Increasing MPG and keeping everything else the same will have no material effects on either air pollution or CO2 emissions.

To make a serious dent in either you would have to do something about cars: basically, eliminate them. This would require a massive public transit building program, and it would also require rehousing and moving most of the population into high density energy efficient housing. You would also have to relocate most of the places people work, so they were reachable by public transit. And you would have to close all the shopping malls and go to neighborhood stores.

There is no reason, except money and politics, why this could not be done – not only is it practically doable, its simply going back to how people lived before the rise of the automobile. If they did this, they would certainly dramatically improve air quality and dramatically lower emissions.

So lets ask ourselves, why is no-one proposing any of this? Why is it that in fact of a problem which is threatening human civilisation and perhaps even human life on this lovely planet, all that California can think of is to raise MPG by 30% or so? And giving the big emitters, China etc, a free pass in the Paris agreement.

Enquiring minds want to know!

John Dilks
Reply to  michel
July 24, 2018 8:02 pm

That would be hell on earth. Closed in, constant noise, strangers everywhere, no sounds of nature, non-natural odors…

July 24, 2018 5:55 am

Yes, states’ rights are a good concept, but in the case of California.

July 24, 2018 6:21 am

You have to laugh when liberals and very liberal states babble about “states rights.” The USA fought a “little” war over that issue and the states lost.

What California and other states are doing is attempting an end run around the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution. They are regulating de facto interstate commerce. On the one hand they want the federal government to regulate air and water crossing state lines but don’t want the federal government regulating CAFE and other automobile standards.

Of course California and similar leftists states Attorney Generals will keep the Trump Administration tied up in court for decades.

Reply to  Edwin
July 28, 2018 2:18 pm

Under what conditions may appeal be made by the US Govt directly to the US Supreme Court?

July 24, 2018 6:41 am

One solution would be allow CA to break up into 3 or 4 states.
That would decrease the lunatics market clout.

John Endicott
Reply to  MarkW
July 25, 2018 7:49 am

Preferably, break the sane parts of Cal (there are a few left) from the insane parts (most of the current state it seems). Let the insane parts stew in their concentrated insanity.

Curious George
July 24, 2018 7:29 am

Automobile greenhouse gas emissions? I am all for banning automobile methane emissions. That should also apply to oxen, horses, and other transportation alternatives.

Reply to  Curious George
July 24, 2018 7:32 am

What about automobile water emissions?

John Endicott
Reply to  Curious George
July 25, 2018 7:51 am

What about the most powerful greenhouse gas emission: DiHydrogen MonOxide? No one ever talks about DHMO and yet it is the most powerful and deadly of all the greenhouse gas emissions.

Reply to  John Endicott
July 28, 2018 2:13 pm

DiHydrogen is the “feedstock”(fuel)for the upcoming Suncell (inaptly named, though it is) …

honest liberty
July 24, 2018 7:30 am

“Colorado also plans to adopt California’s clean-car rules.”

I’m so disgusted about this. These animals made bank in real estate out there, then jumped ship once their socialistic/totalitarian collectivist ideals collapsed on top of them. Where did they end up? Colorado.
I’m disgusted, because our state (which had I known what was coming when I moved here I would have never) is being over run by totalitarians claiming diversity, except of course, diversity of thought, opinion, action, tradition…etc.

July 24, 2018 7:34 am

Go, go, go! Chew up those fruits and nuts.

Robert W Turner
July 24, 2018 7:35 am

I see this as cut and dry easy peasy. The federal government has the authority to regulate interstate commerce, per the Constitution, Article 1 Section 8. The reason for this section of the Constitution is for this very reason, so that states like California cannot impose their will on the economies of other states.

So either California cannot impose these regulations that drive the costs up for the entire nation, or the government collects a tariff for all products shipped to California which incurs extra costs to imply to their onerous regulations and gives that money to manufacturers to offset the cost of doing business with them.

Kaiser Derden
July 24, 2018 7:40 am

If every car in California stayed in California they should be allowed to have local regulations … but they don’t so they shouldn’t be allowed their own rules … California is effectively regulating interstate commerce … something expressly forbidden by the Constitution since it would lead to chaos …

Dr. Bob
July 24, 2018 9:20 am

I do have to point out that so many of California’s regulations are pointless. Auto emissions control devices reached their maximum level of realistic effectiveness in the early 2000’s. After that, further reductions in regulated emissions had no meaningful impact on ambient air quality.
Remember that 50% of all hydrocarbon emissions in the LA basin come from plant life, not gasoline and cars, or paint solvents, etc. So there is a lower limit beyond which you cannot reach but regulators continued to reduce emissions levels which increased vehicle costs and reduced fuel efficiency. It has been estimated that these additional reductions in emissions below that which is needed cost all cars 20% in fuel efficiency. Mostly for NOx reduction.

And reducing NOx at the wrong time of day caused the ozone levels to increase. Known as the Weekend Ozone Effect. Look it up.

Also remember that the use of Ethanol to reduce emissions only worked in carbureted cars, not cars with fuel injection and catalytic converts. With modern vehicles, Ethanol does nothing to reduce emissions therefore is a pointless regulation meant only to enrich corn farmers. And no one wants to touch this issue because the first primary in the presidential election is in Iowa. Note that Corn caused a huge increase in land value since 2003. Prices rose from about $3,000/acre to over $21,000 in some places. Some of my relatives made millions off this absurd increase in land value. One of the drivers was that corn was so profitable that the farmers wanted to shield themselves from taxes by investing in their business. They purchased all the land they could and drove up prices to their current level. If the Ethanol Mandate were rescinded, prices would crash.

Reply to  Dr. Bob
July 24, 2018 11:13 am

One wonders what would happen would they realize the damage done by Ethanol. When engineers reach the level of ability and physical/chemical principles, this nonsense should (would?) stop.

July 24, 2018 11:00 am

OT/ …a string of strong quakes have struck at Gold Beach Oregon today, 9 total with 3 of those from 4.9 to 5.6 mag. I was wondering if the continuous quake activity in Hawaii might lead to a reaction on the West Coast fault zones. Anyway, from the look of this current action there is yet to be seen a main event, imo. In other words there is a heightened probability for a strong to very strong quake on the Gorda Plate, anywhere from Eureka California up into Coastal Oregon. This is something to keep an eye on.

Over the next seven days the Moon is entering a long Full phase, which is always the most likely time for a larger quake to strike, imo. ….

Reply to  goldminor
July 25, 2018 12:18 pm

Look up Dutchinsense on Youtube.

Reply to  NCCoder
July 25, 2018 5:25 pm

Every quake happens within 2 weeks of a full moon…

July 24, 2018 11:33 am

When states rights are claimed based on a grossly distorted, misapplied definition of “pollution”, then everybody’s rights are endangered. The proper use of language is endangered. The standard of honesty is endangered. The standard of truth is endangered.

California has polluted the definition of “pollution”, and so they are the biggest polluters of all.

July 24, 2018 7:26 pm

A 50mpg fleet average is fantasy. I know electric cars are to be factored in ( if only people would buy them ) but for gas cars, coming anywhere close to 50 mpg is only possible in vehicles that are really close to, but not quite a car.

Jake J
Reply to  StandupPhilosopher
July 25, 2018 12:42 pm

There are some compacts that get 50 mpg, but stay tuned on the rest. We are at the threshhold of a doubling of gas engine fuel efficiency.

Reply to  Jake J
July 25, 2018 5:24 pm

I would like to know how this doubling would occur. Yes, some very small lightweight cars get close to 50mpg but that’s just it, every car sold would have to be like that.

Jake J
Reply to  StandupPhilosopher
July 26, 2018 1:53 pm

The typical gas engine converts ~22% of the fuel’s energy to motive power. Mazda’s new “SkyActiv” engine is 27% efficient. Next year they will introduce their second generation engine that converts at 44% efficiency. They’ve announced that they’ll be working on a third-generation engine that will convert at 56%.

Toyota has a new engine, also coming out next year, that will be 40%-41% efficient. This is how it will be done.

William Sweeney
July 25, 2018 11:25 am

Clear disruption of interstate commerce by California. Turn it off.

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