Officials from the EPA and DOT announced on Thursday that they are revoking California’s authority to set auto emissions standards under the Clean Air Act. The state developed a voluntary plan more stringent than the Trump administration’s proposal to freeze federal standards next year.
“No state has the authority to opt-out of the nation’s rules and no state has the right to impose its policies on everybody else in our whole country,” Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said at a press conference Thursday, according to Reuters.
The EPA under President Obama granted California a Clean Air Act waiver in January 2013 for the state’s tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions and zero-emission vehicle regulations, David Shepardson reported in Reuters.
“It’s time to put California’s waiver back in its box,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, according to Shepardson. Prior to joining the agency, Wheeler worked as a lobbyist and represented coal, mining, and other energy companies.
Wheeler and Chao said on Thursday that the Trump administration plans to set a single national rule for auto fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions — and there will be no exemptions for any state, the CBS San Francisco reported.
Tension has been mounting between Trump administration and California government officials for months. In February the White House broke off fuel economy talks with the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the state’s top clean air regulator. Over the summer, the administration froze fuel efficiency fines for automakers. Then in late July Ford, Volkswagen, BMW, and Honda signed CARB’s voluntary agreement.
CARB chair Mary Nichols told Reuters at the time that the automakers “didn’t want to face the expense, distraction and the bad publicity that comes from being part of a big rollback on clean cars.” An EPA spokesperson dismissed the move as a “PR stunt,” according to the Washington Post.
Last month California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that two more automakers were thinking about signing the CARB agreement.
After President Trump tweeted about revoking California’s federal waiver this week, Newsom tweeted back, “See you in court.”