Tensions between the Trump Administration and the state of California took a new turn last week when the state’s regulators voted to require automakers to stick with Obama-era federal vehicle emissions standards for cars sold in the state regardless of Trump administration efforts to weaken the standards.
On September 28, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) approved a regulation that will significantly curtail carbon spewed by new cars sold in the state, beginning in 2021, the Sacramento Bee reported.
CARB Chair Mary Nichols said in a statement that the state would “continue to work to keep a single national program,” but that the vote “ensures that California and 12 other states will not fall victim to the Trump administration’s rollback of vehicle standards should its proposal be finalised.”
The Trump administration proposed last month to freeze federal fuel efficiency requirements at 2020 levels through 2026.
In that proposal, the administration said stricter emissions standards make vehicles more expensive and less safe.
California however has longed vowed to fight Trump’s plan, in court if necessary, setting up a legal power play between the Federal government and the rights of an individual state.
Reuters said that California’s position is nationally significant because the state is the largest US auto market and boasts the nation’s most aggressive policies to address climate change.
Meanwhile, at least a dozen other states and the District of Columbia have adopted California automobile emissions standards.
The disagreement between the Trump Administration and California is causing increased concern for US auto makers who are urging the two sides to reach an agreement. Automakers claim that dealing with multiple emissions standards causes logistical problems.
They’ve urged CARB to postpone the decision while the state is still talking to the White House about a compromise. The Association of Global Automakers said in written testimony to the board that Friday’s CARB vote could “lock the state into a position that would make further negotiations with the Federal administration impossible.”