Schwarzenegger takes a dig at Trump following 'emission proposal'

Terry Joseph
August 5, 2018

The Trump administration proposed Thursday to freeze national automobile fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards for model year 2021-2026 passenger cars and light trucks.

The administration also filed notice Thursday that it wants to revoke the authority of California and other states to set their own, stricter mileage standards - independent of federal ones.

"The earth is not flat and climate change is real".

Arnold Schwarzenegger says President Donald Trump is ¿out of his mind¿ for terminating Obama-era fuel emission standards while denying his home state of California the legal right to impose its own regulations.

UCLA environmental law professor Ann Carlson says California has received almost 100 such waivers under the Clean Air Act to implement its own standards over the past 50 years. California and 17 other states sued the agency in March when it announced it would review the Obama-era rules, followed by a group of electric utilities and automaker Tesla. The move pits the federal government against California, the country's largest vehicle market.

The administration said vehicle manufacturers would benefit from the proposed rollback, but the USA auto industry is pushing for a negotiated settlement between states and the administration to lift uncertainty over the kinds of cars and trucks it will need to produce for the American market in the coming years.

Trump administration officials said the revised rules would make cars more affordable and safer for consumers.

"Even if the administration loses, they may end up just having a delay in this whole program", he said.

Thursday's proposal would freeze an effort by the Obama administration meant to promote auto fuel efficiency and curb tailpipe emissions of climate-changing pollutants.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) formally unveiled plans [text, PDF] Thursday to rollback fuel economy standards previously aimed at bringing cars and small trucks to 50 miles per gallon by 2025.

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Environmental groups criticized the assertion about reducing crash deaths, and said the proposal would drive up gasoline prices and reverse one of the most significant steps Washington has taken to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

"The clean auto standards are already saving our families billions at the pump, supporting almost 300,000 American jobs, and cleaning up unsafe tailpipe pollution", said Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council. "They're ignoring the hard work and innovation of American scientists, who have said, "No, we actually know what we need to do - let's do it, let's move forward, '" she says".

The administration must gather feedback on the proposal before it is finalized, a process that could take months and that could be further delayed by lawsuits. Automakers will be a lot better off if they aren't forced to sell so many underpowered, less safe, undersized vehicles, many of which nobody wants to buy.

"I would like to see a more gradual, less disruptive easing of fuel economy standards", Lindland said.

The administration's effort on emissions comes amid global trade tensions.

A significant body of ICCT research built up over several years, most of it done in close collaboration with United States and worldwide automotive suppliers, has validated the rigorous and meticulous analyses previously done by EPA and California Air Resources Board staff on which the vehicle efficiency standards that the administration now seeks to dismantle were founded.

But Becerra, the California attorney general, said the EPA is rewriting its own detailed analysis from 2012 and that his state is set to exceed its goal of electric vehicles. California Governor, Jerry Brown, along with California Air Resources Board (CARB) Chair, Mary D. Nichols, and California Attorney General, Xavier Becerra, released a joint statement condemning the proposed rule and indicating that "California will fight this [rule] in every conceivable way possible". Automakers don't want to have to meet two different sets of standards. They say those rules also save lives because of reduced air pollution. In a Senate committee hearing yesterday, Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler said the agency would consider a potential compromise between the state and the auto industry that would allow California to retain its more ambitious policies.

The new plan will freeze 2020 mileage targets, which are about 30 miles per gallon, for the next six years "because they are no longer appropriate and reasonable".

More than $500 billion reduction in societal costs over the lifetimes of vehicles through MY 2029 (Technology costs: $252.6 billion; costs attributable to additional fatalities: $77.1 billion; costs attributable to additional injuries: $120.4 billion; costs attributable to additional congestion and noise: $51.9 billion).

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