The Trump administration plans to try and freeze Obama-era fuel-efficiency standards starting in 2021 in a bid to reverse another of the former president’s crowning policies aimed at combating climate change, according to a report from The Washington Post. The report, which cites a federal official who has viewed the drafted proposal, says the Trump administration would go even further by restricting a state’s ability to set its own fuel standards, which would be a strike against California and its strict state-specific emissions rules.
The proposal has been reportedly drafted by the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, and the plan right now is to freeze standards for cars and light trucks at levels set for the year 2021 and keep them there for five years.
The Obama administration’s rules, which involved a partnership with California and car makers, set standards at 50 miles per gallon for cars and light trucks by 2025. Obama also, through the Clean Air Act, granted California a waiver to set its own, higher standards. That way, if automobile manufacturers wanted to maintain a presence in the lucrative California market, they’d have to abide by the new rules.
The Trump administration now says a separate law overrules that arrangement, The Washington Post reports. The news comes after Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt, who was grilled by Congressional lawmakers this week over his myriad ethical scandals, said earlier this month that the EPA plans to roll back the emissions standards to appease automakers who say more fuel-hungry vehicles like SUVs and pick-up trucks were more popular than electric cars and other low-emission vehicles.
“The Trump Administration’s plan would rob Americans at the gas pump and risk our childrens’ health by polluting the air we breathe,” Xavier Becerra, California’s attorney general, said in a statement given to The Washington Post. “We’ll closely monitor any developments and I’m ready to take any and all action necessary to defend our progress.”