California is taking matters into their own hands when they voted Friday to keep their stricter auto emission standards despite the Trump administration’s loose hold on the matter. Thanks to the state’s longstanding waiver under the Clean Air Act, California has made their boldest move yet in their resistance to Trump’s policies.
‘Assault On The American Auto Industry’
Just last week, the president vowed to loosen the regulations on auto emissions that held the auto industry firm on following strict emission standards. The said regulations were enacted by the Obama administration in order to cut down the carbon emissions fuelling climate change and thereby following through with the country’s commitment to an international agreement.
In a single move, the president achieved two things: repeal an Obama-era regulation and show the administration’s stand on climate change. The president is, of course, firm that the move was to create new jobs and support the auto industry fully, stating that “The assault on the American auto industry is over.”
It is very likely because of this that California’s Air Resources Board thought it fit to make the bold move of defying the regulations completely. Because of their long standing waiver under the EPA’s Clean Air Act, California has the ability to write its own clean air standards that can even be followed by other states that wish to adopt them.
Though the EPA ‘s new head has been under fire for his statements and stand about climate change and environmental protection, there is no denying that in this matter, California has the upper hand unless the White House opts to revoke the waiver — something that could lead to a messy legal battle similar to what happened when President George W. Bush attempted to challenge the waiver.
As of now, the EPA is upholding the waiver, which allows other states to follow California’s strict clean air ruling:
“The Clean Air Act allows other states to adopt California’s motor vehicle emission standards under section 177. Section 177 requires, among other things, that such standards be identical to the California standards for which a waiver has been granted. States are not required to seek EPA approval under the terms of section 177.”
The auto industry has been held by the stricter rules, which is probably why the president finds the need to loosen its hold on them if the industry should prosper again. The industry, however, could find themselves in a sticky situation because they have mentioned how the market for electric and hybrid vehicles has been flat of late.
Still, California remains to be the biggest auto market in the country, and major states including New York and Washington D.C. are currently following California’s standards, which makes for 130 million possible buyers in the United States.
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