California Maintains Obama-era Emissions Rules in Affront to Trump's EPA

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
california maintains obama era emissions rules in affront to trump s epa

California has green-lit light-vehicle pollution targets that the Trump administration has placed under review. As expected, t he Golden State is going to continue playing hardball over Environmental Protection Agency regulations.

Already critical of the automotive industry for asking the president to reconsider federal guidelines through 2025, the California Air Resources Board hinted that it wouldn’t stray from the emission targets set by the Obama administration in 2012. On Friday, CARB finalized its state emissions rules while setting an updated ordinance on zero-emission vehicles. “We’re going to press on,” said Mary Nichols, head of the board, during last week’s press conference.

The target for passenger-vehicle sales made up of fuel cell, battery, or hybridized powertrains in California is set at 15 percent by 2025 — a five-fold increase from today’s number. That’s ambitious but, according to experts, not out of the question for the Pacific Coast. Although, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers disagrees.

The goal will, however, put the entire state at odds with the president’s maxim of, “I am, to a large extent, an environmentalist. I believe in it. But it’s out of control.”

Trump told Automotive CEOs that they would get the leeway they needed to be successful by curbing unnecessary regulations in January. This was followed by an announcement that the EPA would undergo steep budget cuts as its new administrator, Scott Pruitt, placed the former emissions standards under review. CARB’s decision to stay the course flies in the face of everything the current administration is hoping to achieve. The board seems to have no misgivings over challenging the president or the industry that was seeking favor with him.

“What were you thinking when you threw yourselves on the mercy of the Trump administration to solve your problems?” Nichols asked during Friday’s meeting. “What did you mean when you said you don’t want to question the overall thrust of the standards? Why do another review if the current program is basically Okay?”

The head of Trump’s EPA transition team, Myron Ebell, explained to Bloomberg that the Transportation Department may decide that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration could regulate fuel economy and exclude the EPA and California from any decision-making.

Pruitt intends to review the state’s legal authority to enforce its own limits on emissions as well.

“We tried very hard not to provoke or defy the national government and we’ve had a good past with the EPA,” Nichols told Automotive News after the hearing. “I don’t expect there to be a war on California. I was obviously disappointed when I heard Pruitt commenting that he might reconsider the California waiver.”

Nine other states, including New York, have promised to adopt California’s targets. However, according to IHS Markit, zero-emission vehicles amounted to less than one percent of new car sales in those nine states throughout 2016.

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  • NMGOM NMGOM on Mar 28, 2017

    California is not compatible with these United States. It needs to secede from the Union, and maybe take Oregon and Washington with it. But they want to do that anyway: And Oregon: And Washington: Problem Solved. Good riddance. Let's get America back to being America again, and not a pseudo socialist Euro-style republic... ====================

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    • Philipwitak Philipwitak on Mar 29, 2017

      @nmgom - "California is not compatible with these United States." that is for certain - the rest of you guys need to try harder and catch up. :: sarcasm :: c'mon, get with the program. you have to drink water just like californians do. let's ensure that it's clean. you have to breathe air, just like golden-staters do. let's ensure that air remains fresh and healthy. you also need sustainable jobs with decent compensation - jobs that compliment and address legitimate environmental concerns - not jobs that compromise them. you guys want a sustainable future? green energy can help lead the way. lots of opportunity for hardworking americans willing to look forward rather than back. the environmental protection agency as originally devised simply provides some essential motivation for those naturally lacking it. and regarding succession, i have a feeling that states on the west coast would do quite well on their own - separate from 'your' united states. in all honesty, i cannot say the same thing about most of the others, many of which are actually dependent on california tax dollars to one degree or another for sustenance.

  • Jeff S Jeff S on Mar 29, 2017

    It is ridiculous to talk about secession. This discussion should include California and an agreement should be reached to have uniform safety, emission, and efficiency standards that can be obtained in a reasonable amount of time without too great a cost. The automobile industry is already working on making more efficient and safer vehicles. It seems to me that auto engineers should be included with Federal and State agencies to determine a 50 state uniform standards which would benefit the automotive industry in that they would not have to comply with different standards for the states along with different Federal standards. There should be Global standards. A major issue is the manufacturers complying with different standards and designing and manufacturing Global vehicles to meet all those standards. The first step should be extending the 2025 deadline and then having meetings with the auto manufacturing industry and the governmental agencies both Federal and State. It costs the manufacturers more to meet the all the different standards than uniform standards--much more efficient an easier to budget for. Clean air is one factor but having obtainable standards that do not break the industry and the consumer. It doesn't do any good to have unobtainable standards that cause customers to hold on to their vehicles longer because they cannot afford to buy newer vehicles.

  • Jdt65724922 How can a Chrysler E-Class ride better than a Chrysler Fifth Avenue?
  • Lorenzo This series is epic, but I now fear you'll never get to the gigantic Falcon/Dart/Nova comparison.
  • Chris P Bacon Ford and GM have decided that if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Odds are Chrysler/Cerberus/FCA/Stellantis is next to join in. If any of the companies like Electrify America had been even close to Tesla in reliability, we wouldn't be here.
  • Inside Looking Out China will decide which EV charging protocol will become world wide standard.
  • Chris P Bacon I see no reference to Sweden or South Carolina. I hate to assume, but is this thing built in China? I can't help but wonder if EVs would be more affordable to the masses if they weren't all stuffed full of horsepower most drivers will never use. How much could the price be reduced if it had, say, 200hp. Combined with the instant torque of an EV, that really is plenty of power for the daily commuter, which is what this vehicle really is.