This is only my opinion, and not the representation of Saintel Daily, LLC.
According to Bloomberg, the Trump administration is putting forward a proposed standard that would strip California of its extra authority, as it relates to the Clean Air Act. If you’re unfamiliar with their authority, the state effectively determines the standards for the rest of the country, negating any federal attempts at rolling back anti-population efforts. Trump has had enough of this, and he’s on a rampage. This is all really confusing, isn’t it?
The Obama administration permitted California to set its own greenhouse gas emissions for cars in 2009 – giving it a waiver under the Clean Air Act. Now, many other states follow California’s standards. Under Obama, the EPA and NHTSA decided to negotiate with California so that the country retains one nationwide standard, even though California had the authority to institute its own.
The EPA would suggest revoking California’s waiver, while the NHSTA would maintain that California isn’t allowed to regulate emissions under the law that established federal-level fuel efficiency requirements in the first place.
This particular measure would also cut short the Obama plan that would raise fleet fuel efficiency averages to 50 MPG by 2025. This new proposal would stop the improvements at the 35MPG expected by 2020. And you can expect plenty of attempts by officials to spin the effort as a positive move. They’ll supposedly claim that this would lower the prices of vehicles, leading to more people upgrading to safer vehicles and reducing fatalities. They wouldn’t mention the possibility that people would spend more on fuel, however.
The Clean Air Act has become part of California’s environmental identity. Not only that, but these measures are part of their efforts to clean up the air in Los Angeles and other heavily polluted areas.
On Friday, the EPA and NHSTA revealed in a regulatory notice that its upcoming proposal to reduce vehicle efficiency and emissions standards will be dubbed the “Safer and Affordable Fuel Efficient Vehicle Rules”. This supports my theory that there is more to it than we’re being told. Trump doesn’t get behind anything unless there’s something in it for him. Which leads me to believe that he has some kind of connection to oil or at least gas, because why else would he care about this? I mean, if you look at other things that he should be concerned about (Russia, for example) – he’s not. Why? Because he has something to lose by that information getting out.
On the flip side, he’s got something to gain by blocking these environmental measures. That said, if the proposal moves ahead, there’s no guarantee that it will make any difference. California and its 12 main supporting states are expected to fight these changes tooth-and-nail, potentially resulting in a years-long legal battle that could leave the standards in place for years no matter who prevails.
There’s also the big matter of the car manufacturers themselves. In order to meet standards in Europe and Canada, many of them have already committed to designing cars that produce lower emissions. Which means, despite all of the things that he’s trying to accomplish, it might be for nothing.