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article imagePruitt, Chao to go to California to negotiate emission standards

By Karen Graham     May 12, 2018 in Politics
President Trump has reportedly tapped Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head Scott Pruitt to negotiate fuel economy standards with California.
Automakers met with Trump on Friday, reported to discuss a an EPA draft proposal that would keep fuel efficiency requirements at 2020 levels for the next five years.
Basically, the draft proposal would stall out fuel economy increases at just short of 42 mpg in 2020, and hold them there through 2026, rather than having the standards increase to 54.5 mpg by 2025.
Trump got the idea of sending a delegation to talk with California officials after one automotive executive commented that it would be better for the industry to have one standard instead of two.
So, President Trump, being the great negotiator that he is, is sending embattled EPA Director Scott Pruitt, along with DOT Secretary Elaine Chao to California with instructions to negotiate a deal on the EPA draft standards.
All this is based on information obtained from people who spoke on condition of anonymity in describing the private discussions.
Of course, implementing the proposed rules will put the Trump administration on a collision course with California and about 12 other states who will follow in the Golden State's footsteps, if necessary, in implementing the Obama-era standards.
California has special rights when it comes to setting emissions standards for vehicles in the state. Under the 1970 Clean Air Act, only California—with its climate and emissions challenges unique in the country - can set emissions standards tougher than the rest of the United States.
The bottom line? If Trump goes through with allowing implementation of Scott Pruitt's draft proposal on car emissions, this would bring lawsuits from environmental groups as well as California. Leaks about the Trump EPA plan already have provoked a suit from California and 16 other states.
In testimony before Congress this month, Mitch Bainwol, CEO of the manufacturers’ alliance, said the group has encouraged the administration to find a happy medium that increases mileage requirements from 2022 to 2025 and includes California in one national standard.
“The resulting regulatory nightmare would ultimately harm consumers by increasing vehicle costs and restricting consumer choice,” Bainwol said.
Auto executives attending the meeting included Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler, General Motors CEO Mary Barra, Ford CEO Jim Hackett and Bob Carter, executive vice president of North America for Toyota.
More about emission standard, Automakers, Trump administration, Epa, Dot