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Trump's EPA proposes rollback of Obama emission standards

03 August 2018

The Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Thursday that officially calls for leaving fuel economy standards alone rather than increasing them as decided under the Obama Administration.

"The administration's proposal goes beyond a simple rollback".

"We remember the thick smog that used to choke our cities and we refuse to return to those times", Earthjustice attorney Paul Cort said in a statement on Thursday responding to the Trump administration's proposal, which would freeze rules requiring automakers to build more fuel-efficient vehicles.

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.

Gina McCarthy, thes EPA administrator under Obama, said the reversal of these standards "run contrary to sound science and the law".

The administration's proposal would freeze USA mileage standards at 2020 levels, when the new vehicle fleet will be required to hit an average of 30 miles per gallon in real-world driving.

"It's a proposal that attacks the states' right to protect people from unsafe pollution, one that no one -- not the American public, not the states, not even most automakers -- really wants, and one that's being presented to the public under the false and easily discredited guise of improving public safety", the statement continued. It might even cause vehicle prices to stop increasing so rapidly.

But the Trump administration is arguing its plan, which it dubbed Safer and Affordable Fuel Efficient Vehicles Rule, or SAFE, would save lives, replacing current standards that officials claim drive up the cost of vehicles too much and create a safety hazard for motorists.

What were the Obama administration guidelines?

The affordability argument ignores thousands of dollars of saving in fuel costs for each driver over the life of a auto, opponents of the rollbacks said.

The argument may prove a tough sell in court, where attorneys for states and environmental groups will come armed with a wealth of data undermining it.

"The Trump administration's proposal to slam the brakes on America's successful Clean Car Standards is a massive pileup of bad ideas", Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp said in a statement. He assured them he would, ordering his EPA chief and Transportation secretary to try to broker a deal with California.

Schwarzenegger and Trump have repeatedly criticized each other over the years, including during Trump's presidency.

Those negotiations have gone nowhere. Currently California has a special waiver under the Clean Air Act to enact stricter rules than those at the federal level.

"There is no precedent for revoking California's waiver", said Dan Becker, director of the Safe Climate Campaign of the Center for Auto Safety, an advocacy group in Washington.

©2018 Los Angeles Times, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. They forced the manufacturing of small and less safe vehicles which many experts have concluded lead to thousands of unnecessary deaths and injuries.

Besides, California - which is essentially now a foreign country - should not control the auto market and decide pollution and mileage standards for the rest of the country.