By on July 17, 2018

Following Andrew Wheeler’s appointment as acting head of the Environmental Protection Agency, he extended an invitation to the California Air Resources Board to discuss emission regulations — a matter which former EPA administrator Scott Pruitt seemed less inclined to discuss with the state.

Mary Nichols, chairman of the board, said Wheeler reached out to state officials and the pair agreed to hold a meeting in Washington. It’s a slight easing of tensions in the cold war between D.C. and Sacramento.

Initially, the EPA hoped to convince California to compromise so the current administration could progress with its deregulation strategy for the automotive industry. However, California has drawn a bold line when it comes to rolling back the corporate fuel economy mandates passed under President Obama. Pruitt claimed the existing targets were unreasonably high after the Trump administration requested a revaluation of the standards.

Since then, the Golden State and its Air Resources Board have retaliated by filing a lawsuit claiming the EPA’s decision to roll back fuel economy targets was irresponsible. In the aftermath, Nichols noted that the agency seemed less inclined to make time for meetings with her organization. It even cancelled discussions the President said had to take place — as Pruitt was busy saying the state should forget about being able to make demands the rest of the country has to adhere to.

The White House is currently reviewing proposals from the EPA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that will roll back the rigorous fuel economy and emissions standards set for the coming years. Those documents are also said to include ways to circumvent California’s authority to set vehicle efficiency rules, which are tougher than the federal government’s.

While Wheeler is expected to be less overtly prickly than Pruitt, few expect him to deviate from the initial plan. Most feel he’ll stay the course while taking a more pragmatic approach. At the very least, he seems willing to speak with California.

“I am not at the moment expecting any changes in direction or changes in policy,” Nichols said. “But I hear from others who know him he is a practical person who likes to move forward and is willing to make compromises, so I am hopeful that we’ll find some things to work on together.”

[Source: Bloomberg]

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27 Comments on “Replacement EPA Boss on Board With California Gas Confab...”


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Both the Trump EPA and the CARB are correct.

    Consumer tastes are diverging from government fiat, and yet we need overseers to keep the mfrs honest (see Dieselgate).

    What I’d like to see are nationwide harmonized requirements.

    • 0 avatar
      bullnuke

      I absolutely agree with you, SCE.

    • 0 avatar
      a5ehren

      Also make the NHTSA steal the Euro headlight regulations to allow some of that cool stuff to come over.

    • 0 avatar
      hpycamper

      Disagree. No reason for Wyoming and California to have the same regulations. One size does not fit all.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        Good point. The EPA’s 1980s proposed air quality standards for particulates that were appropriate for New York City were unattainable in parts of Montana and Wyoming, even if all evidence of human habitation were removed. Erosion of the Rockies and prevailing winds produced particulates well beyond the standard.

        By the same token, temperature inversions in the central valley and Los Angeles basin require measures that are unnecessary in most of the West. One standard for a country with such varied geography simply doesn’t work.

        A tougher nut to crack is getting agencies to realize that emissions standards, fuel mileage standards, and crash standards are interrelated, and tradeoffs are involved. You might think the result will be econoboxes, but the mass needed for them to meet current and proposed crash standards will affect both mileage and emissions.

        Of course, if the ultimate aim of the people running the regulatory agencies is to kill off the personal vehicle, there’s no conflict at all!

  • avatar
    TW5

    The fleet is currently at 25mpg. CAFE 2025 requires fleet fuel efficiency of roughly 40mpg in less than 7 years. California can be as bold as they want. People don’t have the money or the desire to increase fuel economy that sharply in such a short time.

    In some ways, I kind of hope Wheeler caves. The manufacturers have done nothing but fight NAFTA reform, and they’ve done nothing to address foreign tariffs and trade barriers. Let CARB have their way with them.

    Tariffs will increase MSRP $2,000, and hybrid equipment (or CAFE fines) will raise MSRP another $3,000. The townsfolk will riot and all auto executives and CARB officials will flee the country. All’s well that ends well.

  • avatar
    Drew8MR

    I think CARB has probably helped more than hurt,but the stupid California only gas formulations and the stubborn refusal to let smog exemption become rolling instead of fixed at 1974,plus their weird war on hobbyists who are really insignificant overall does bug the hell out of me. Just measure tailpipe. Is it good? Then who gives a shit about the visual? I remember having to put a points ignition back into a car in order to pass. So dumb.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Mary is a ‘no compromise’ ballbuster from from way back. There’s no way “discussions” with her will go anywhere. She cares zero about the damage it would do to California, CARB states, automakers, and the US in general.

    I’m sure she has an escape plan involving Costa Rica, gold, and e-money.

    But it doesn’t have to be either or. Consider California’s crashing, welfare state, overspending economy.

    Figure current fuel economy averages would turn into tremendous CARB fines by 2025. Billions annually. Except the offending vehicles are usually very profitable to obscene.

    CARB fines are small enough to be easily paid, without jacking up the price of “gas guzzlers” with less than 40 mpg sticker, everything from minivans, trucks, muscle cars to luxo barges.

    Money does grow on trees. Palm trees. Obviously this isn’t about “emissions” anymore.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    Warmism is about hegemony, environmentalism is merely a delivery system.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      Wow, you really showed that strawman who’s boss! W00t!

      Seriously, if you want to argue against environmealism, you’ll need to argue against what we actually believe — not against strawmen.

      • 0 avatar
        Sub-600

        I’m not arguing against environmentalism, I’m saying it’s being used by warmists to bring supplicants such as yourself into the fold. Environmental conservation is one thing, warmism is quite another. It’s a power grab. Furnace Creek, CA July 10, 1913, 134 degrees. Highest reliably recorded temperature on Earth. 105 years ago. Yeah, we’re warming at an alarming rate. Wise up.

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    One Nation, One CAFE, One Emissions.

    Do not give into CARB.

    • 0 avatar
      hpycamper

      This exactly wrong. Why do we need to make every thing one size fits all? Just because it simplifies things for auto makers? Especially when it means going to a lower standard.

  • avatar
    pwrwrench

    This can be solved with no Constitutional problems. Just put a sign in bakeries and Sacto: “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone”
    That’s the practice anyway, why not be honest and open about it?

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Does the Red Hen in Virginia have such a sign?

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Interestingly the unintended consequence of all that, since It has been pointed out that Political Affiliation is not a protected class under civil rights law, would be for such bakers to simply proclaim they reserve the right to not bake cakes for Democrats, since the reverse has been deemed acceptable. And you dont have to refuse service to all democrats either as I am sure that I can find some Republicans that have in fact consumed a meal at the Red Hen. Unintended Consequences are always a MoFo


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