A highlight from White House Is Preparing To Give Back California's Smog-Busting Powers

Environment: NPR


For decades california has been setting its own greenhouse gas standards for vehicles and california has been a leader fourteen states and the district of columbia followed. California standards are higher than federal standards in many ways. The trump administration took away the state's authority to determine its own rules but now the biden administration plans to give power back and bureau camilo. Domino is with us now. good morning. Good morning steve. i guess we should begin by detailing. How california has been different. Yeah i mean. They've been incredibly influential. They're the only state that has this power from the epa to set their own rules. And that's because back. When the epa started california was already fighting an epic battle against smog and setting policy on these issues and they've kept this ability as california has ramped up efforts against climate change mandating electric vehicles. You mentioned all these other states that adopt california's policies even though they can't set their own together that's more than a third of the. Us auto market so california has the ability to put pressure on the us. Auto industry almost single-handedly and then the trump administration came in a bit more than four years ago and did not like california having this power. That's right trump. Both reduced the federal requirements for clean cars and tried to take away california's ability to set a higher bar. And it's interesting. The auto industry had been complaining that the requirements were too high but what trump gave them was more than they bargained for and it actually split the industry you had some carmakers stick with california and adopt higher standards with them while the rest of the auto industry backed trump in a lawsuit that said california didn't have the right to set its own standards and there were just lawsuits flying everywhere. Okay so big mess and now the by administration says wait. We're gonna flip the switch back. How does that resolve the situation. Well it makes it clear that california does have this right that it has long had said its own policies. Now i spoke to sandra pro. Hit the director of federal advocacy at e. Two that's a business group that supports environmental policies and she noted it is still not clear. What the federal policy will be under biden when it comes to vehicle emissions and fuel economy but allowing the states to move forward with this kind of authority means that regardless of what the federal standard it is states can still innovate states can still push the envelope. And that's a really important part of the history and and hopefully future as well so again big question what the federal rules will be. But this gives california back. It's negotiating lover in moving forward. Well let's talk about the automakers here before we go because you mentioned. The automakers weren't totally thrilled before trump than they weren't totally thrilled during trump. How do they feel now. There are no longer split support. For the doomed trump position has evaporated so automakers agree that california's should have its waiver back but they would rather have a single unified standard under obama. There are actually intense negotiations to get california and the feds on the same page which automakers really appreciated They again would like to see these policies not be as strict as they were under obama. But they'll almost certainly be stricter than they were under trump and peers camille domino. Thanks so much angsty. This message comes from. Npr sponsor ford the all electric mustang mach e and a twelve foot rocket. Take off the rocket launches into the atmosphere while the all electric pony takes off toward the horizon at full speed visit four dot com for a new perspective on range.

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