The emissions standards “Talks” that never began have ended

The news is that the Trump administration has broken off talks with California about emissions standards …

The Trump administration … is on track to roll back standards set by President Barack Obama, the White House said Thursday.

Er yes, if the White House is a source for anything, almost anything at all, you can more or less guarantee that it is probably not true.

First a bit of Background – what is going on here, what are these talks?

This all goes back into things that unfolded last year …

“In April [of 2018],the American Consumer Institute (ACI) organized a letter to then EPA administrator Scott Pruitt calling ‘for the revocation of California’s waiver from the Clean Air Act, which allows the state to decouple from federal policy and impose strict emission standards on automobiles.’

Eight of the eleven groups that signed the ACI letter have clear financial or organizational ties to the Koch network, including the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA), FreedomWorks, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), and Americans for Tax Reform.

In May [of 2018], three former members of President Trump’s transition teams — all of whom work or worked with Koch-funded and Koch-founded organizations — sent the president another letter, which also argued for the EPA to withdraw California’s legislated right to set its own tailpipe emissions standards.

In essence, The Administration are rolling back clean air standards because we all just love choking on fumes and climate change is of course a hoax.

Meanwhile in California, they set their own standards. Under the clean air act they are permitted to do that. California sets tighter regulations and so the entire nation falls into line because auto makers need one universal  production line for vehicles that they can sell in any state. Pulling that means far looser regulations.

The announcement by the EPA that they were doing this set the stage for a discussion between the administration and California to look for a pragmatic compromise, hence the supposed talks.

So what Really happened?

The White House claims this …

“Despite the Administration’s best efforts to reach a common-sense solution, it is time to acknowledge that CARB has failed to put forward a productive alternative since the” administration proposed a new standard, the White House said in a joint statement with the Environmental Protection Agency and Transportation Department.

But California officials are calling them out for spouting complete BS …

… officials in California said real talks never really began. They said sessions between the heads of the EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) were not substantive and never progressed into the nitty-gritty of policy negotiations.

“The administration broke off communications before Christmas and never responded to our suggested areas of compromise — or offered any compromise proposal at all,” Stanley Young, a spokesman for CARB, said in an email. “We concluded at that point that they were never serious about negotiating, and their public comments about California since then seem to underscore that point.”

oil and gas

So basically things are where they stood last year. The Trump administration is quite determined to exclusively serve the interests of Oil and Gas, and California is saying “No, clean air and climate change is far more important”.

The stage is now set for a huge state vs federal legal battle because neither side is going to back down.

Nobody with an ounce of common sense thinks that the administration stance is a good idea …

“It looks as if the administration is hellbent on driving the clean car standards off the cliff,” Becker said. He added that while automakers say they want regulatory certainty, “the only certainty they’ll know about is that there will be years of litigation.”

Margo Oge, a former director of the EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality who helped set auto regulations under Obama, called the Trump administration’s fuel-standard proposals “a horrible deal for the planet, U.S. consumers and the U.S. economy.”…

…“Selling gas-guzzling cars and trucks might continue to drive short-term profit, but abandoning the standards now in place would run counter to the longer arc of consumer demand, state regulations and international market forces,” Oge said. “Looser standards now, when consumers and many states are demanding cleaner cars, would spell trouble for the auto industry. Almost everyone loses except the oil industry.”…

It appears that “Making America Great” actually means that you get to enjoy the huge privilege of choking on fumes and basking in a far warmer climate.

Brief Reminder

Emission standards exist for a reason. The image on the left is New York in 1973, the image on the right is New York in 2013.

Once upon a time the EPA served the best interests of the public. Now they are focused on rolling everything back.

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