One of the most predictable habits of the Trump administration is its pattern of rolling back any Obama-era rule possible. This would include everything from animal welfare guidelines to contraceptive insurance coverage, and of course, multiple policies related to climate change and pollution. So, it’s not surprising that the administration is reportedly finalizing the roll back of greenhouse emissions and fuel efficiency rules for automakers, which is expected to happen within days, according to the New York Times. The more immediately dramatic issue will be the upcoming showdown with California.
EPA head Scott Pruitt will reportedly (while speaking at a Chevrolet dealership in Washington) announce the looser rules as being in the best interest of both automakers and consumers in terms of producing more affordable vehicles. The plan is said to be in the final stages of White House approval, but California has committed to sticking with existing emissions rules:
The move — which undercuts one of President Barack Obama’s signature efforts to fight climate change — would also propel the Trump administration toward a courtroom clash with California, which has vowed to stick with the stricter rules even if Washington rolls back federal standards. That fight could end up creating one set of rules for cars sold in California and the 12 states that follow its lead, and weaker rules for the rest of the states, in effect splitting the nation into two markets.
The effects of two car markets within the U.S. could be disastrous, financially speaking, for California, but this is only the latest federal clash that the state must shoulder. Within the past few months alone, the state has dealt with the president threatening to remove Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from the state, and Jeff Sessions has lectured the “sanctuary state” over its immigration policies while suing the state. And after California legalized marijuana smoking, Sessions declared a beef against that as well.
This news also arrives, coincidentally, after news of Scott Pruitt’s occupation of a D.C. condo owned by a prominent fossil fuel lobbyist, J. Steven Hart, whose firm represents Exxon Mobil. It’s kind of a shady look.