President Donald Trump on Wednesday said his administration will revoke a federal waiver, granted a decade ago, that allows California to mandate some of the strictest emissions standards for automobiles in the United States.
Trump announced the move in a series of tweets, emphasizing jobs over the federal Clean Air Act, under which the waiver was given in 2009.
“The Trump administration is revoking California’s federal waiver on emissions in order to produce far less expensive cars for the consumer, while at the same time making the cars substantially safer,” Trump wrote.
“This will lead to more production because of this pricing and safety advantage, and also due to the fact that older, highly polluting cars, will be replaced by new, extremely environmentally friendly cars.”
Trump added that there would be “little difference in emissions” between cars made with the stricter standards and standards established by Trump’s administration.
“Many more cars will be produced under the new and uniform standard, meaning significantly more JOBS, JOBS, JOBS,” Trump said. “Automakers should seize this opportunity because without this alternative to California, you will be out of business.”
The president’s move is nearly certain to ignite a lengthy legal fight in federal court over the matter, which could last beyond the 2020 election.
California has already taken action in court, anticipating Trump’s move.
“Today’s actions represent another act in Donald Trump’s political theater. A failed attempt to assert power,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom said. “A continuation of a political vendetta against [California] and our progress. Bad news for him — we will prevail. See you in court.”
California signed a deal this summer with BMW, the Ford Motor Company, Honda and Volkswagen under which the automakers agreed to produce vehicles that meet higher emissions standards than the Trump administration requires.
This month, the Justice Department started an antitrust investigation into the agreement, and attorneys at the Transportation Department and Environmental Protection Agency sent a letter to California to inform it the deal was “unlawful and invalid.”
“[The deal] does nothing to further the one national standard that will provide certainty and relief for American consumers,” EPA spokesman Michael Abboud said Tuesday.
California Sen. Dianne Feinstein and the ranking members of two other committees sent U.S. Attorney General William Barr a letter Wednesday opposing the Justice Department’s inquiry of the waiver. They called the investigation “baseless” and demanded all documents related to the inquiry.
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