Trump Administration Moves to Yank Major Regulatory Power From California

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Posted: Sep 18, 2019 12:00 PM
Trump Administration Moves to Yank Major Regulatory Power From California

Source: (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

The Trump administration will officially move to revoke California's ability to regulate emissions, setting up another legal battle between the Golden State and the White House. President Trump made the announcement Wednesday morning.

"We embrace federalism and the role of the states, but federalism does not mean that one state can dictate standards for the nation," EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said during a speech ahead of the move Tuesday. 

"To borrow from Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, CAFE does not stand for California Assumes Federal Empowerment. So we will be moving forward with one national standard very soon. We will be taking joint action with the Department of Transportation to bring clarity to the proper – and improper – scope and use of the Clean Air Act preemption waiver, he continued. "Our actions will not impact California’s health-based standards and programs. California will be able to keep in place and enforce programs to address smog and other forms of air pollution caused by motor vehicles. This will allow the State to redouble its efforts to address its air quality problems and finally achieve compliance with EPA’s National Ambient Air Quality Standards." 

California Governor Gavin Newsom, who knew the move was coming, tried to get ahead of the announcement yesterday.

Interestingly, a number of states use California's emission standards as their own and have vowed to issue a lawsuit in favor of the regulatory power. From the Denver Post:

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser vowed Tuesday night to challenge the Trump administration’s “unprecedented action” of revoking California’s authority to set its own auto mileage standards.

Colorado is directly affected by the forthcoming directive, given the state’s decision to mirror California’s low-emission vehicle standards. In August, Colorado adopted a zero-emission standard requiring that at least 5% of automakers’ vehicles available for sale by 2023 be electric.

“This action is a direct assault on our system of cooperative federalism and an effort to undermine the role of states in addressing #climatechange,” Weiser wrote on Twitter. “Colorado will be challenging this ‘unprecedented action.’ ”