Becerra also promised to sue if the Trump administration makes good on plans to revoke a longstanding waiver allowing California and other states to set their own stricter auto emissions standards.
The proposal to roll back anti-pollution efforts is in line with President Donald Trump’s decision past year to abandon the 2015 Paris Agreement, under which countries agreed to take steps to mitigate global warming.
The two agencies will gather public comments and hold hearings before the rule changes can be implemented.
The Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have unveiled their new proposal for fuel economy standards following the scrapping of the Obama-era plan which called for a corporate average fuel economy rating of 54.5 mpg (65.4 mpg United Kingdom / 4.3L / 100km) by 2025. Becerra vowed Thursday to fight the White House’s proposed changes, along with attorney generals from 18 other states. Why all of the sudden would the Trump administration – without the facts and the science behind them – feel like they can just yank those away?
“For more than a decade, ME and the other states have used our rights under the Clean Air Act to limit tailpipe pollution beyond federal minimum requirements”, Emmie Theberge, federal project director at NRCM, said in a statement.
The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation said the increase in emission standards for cars built from 2021 to 2026 would hurt auto sales and improve safety of motorists across the country.
“They don’t offer any meaningful example of what has changed so dramatically” to warrant the reversal, said Jeff Alson, who until this spring was a senior engineer in the EPA’s transportation and air quality office. Under the Obama plan, the fleetwide fuel economy would have risen gradually to roughly 47 mpg by 2025.
The proposal also eliminates California’s ability to set its own greenhouse gas and zero-emissions-vehicle requirements, which would force it to live with the same rules that apply to every other state.
Dan Becker of the Safe Climate Campaign dismissed the Trump administration’s arguments as a “parade of concocted horrors”.
But consumer advocacy groups, environmental groups and medical associations have said the rule would hurt Americans by costing them more at the pump and releasing more air pollution in the long run. On Thursday, the White House also seemed to be stepping back a bit from the proposal. A final rule is expected this winter.
The state’s Democrats in Washington and Sacramento have come out aggressively against the proposal. Gov.
Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler says the proposal would make cars more affordable and save lives. “Automakers support continued improvements in fuel economy and flexibilities that incentivize advanced technologies while balancing priorities like affordability, safety, jobs and the environment”.
The affordability argument ignores thousands of dollars of saving in fuel costs for each driver over the life of a vehicle, opponents of the rollbacks said.
In an analysis of the proposed freeze, the researchers at the Rhodium Group noted that future oil prices would play a major role in determining the overall effect of the relaxed standards, since higher oil prices push consumers into smaller, more fuel-efficient cars (though of course, modern crossovers are quickly closing the fuel-economy gap on sedans).