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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Trump and vehicle emission standards

Por MRod

The Environmental Protection Agency decided to review the requirements adopted by former president Barack Obama in efficiency and emissions. The steps established by Obama, added from the Safe Climate campaign, were a very important step in the fight against global warming and energetic saving. The current administration, however, has something else to say in this regard.

The Administration presided over by Donald Trump makes a new setback to the environmental policy of his predecessor Barack Obama, announcing that the requirements to raise the efficiency of automobiles and reduce greenhouse gas emissions must be reviewed. In this way, the process to lower the established objectives to fight pollution and against climate change begins. The decision of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is not a surprise.

Trump believes that the efficiency standards established for the models that come to market between 2020 and 2025 represent a technical challenge for manufacturers. Current legislation establishes that cars must achieve a range of 50 miles per gallon (21 kilometers per liter). Scott Pruitt, Administrator of the EPA, believes that the policy followed by the previous government was "wrong" and “too aggressive”. Assumptions were made that they do not fit the reality," he says, and then say that the established requirements are "too high". From there, he points out that new guides for cars and light changes will be written for the 2022-2025 models. Therefore, this is just another issue the current administration will not leave untouched.

As it should not occur, the objective of the review is not detailed in the note published by the EPA. It remains to be seen how the eventual change of regulation affects California, which has an exemption that allows it to apply more stringent efficiency requirements than in the rest of the country. The end of this special treatment could lead to a tough legal battle between Washington and Sacramento. Wait and you will see. As expected, the reaction in California was instantaneous. The leaders and the state press had been anticipating this movement for months and warning that they will face up, as in other cases in which the State Administration, completely dominated by the Democratic Party, has confronted Trump in the courts.

The governor, Jerry Brown, published a statement in which he said: "This abuse of cynical and ostentatious power will poison our air and threaten the health of all Americans. " Last year, Brown sent a letter to Pruitt when he began talking about reducing the emissions targets of cars in which he said that it was "an inadmissible gift to polluters" and that he put "the interests of the big oil companies ahead of clean air", and “politics ahead of science". The response predicts a new battle in the courts. California has already denounced the Trump Government more than twenty times in little more than a year. At this pace, the number won’t do more than increase.