President Donald Trump’s administration, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT), sent a letter to the California Air Resources Board, warning that its recent deal with automakers to implement stricter vehicle tailpipe emission standards was unlawful and would be challenged, according to the Hill.
Previously, California’s right to set tougher emissions standards than those implemented by the federal government was not challenged, as it dates back to a waiver granted under the Clean Air Act of 1970. State officials have consistently maintained that California should be able to hold itself to higher standards because of the poor air quality prevalent in certain parts of the state.
However, recent board actions setting clean air standards in collaboration with major automakers have caused the Trump administration to react. Opponents of the move are concerned that California’s emission standards will ultimately be forced upon the entire country, given that it will be far more cost-effective for automakers to meet just one standard than to have two different sets of assembly lines — one designed to meet requirements for California and another for the rest of the country.
Critics have asserted that the end product of California’s deal with automakers will be higher vehicle costs for lower-quality cars for the entire country, a prospect that Trump believes would damage the economy and hurt American consumers.
Which standard will prevail?
The emissions standards California has adopted are less stringent than those the Obama administration previously proposed, but they are tougher than those Trump’s EPA and DOT have advanced.
“Congress has squarely vested the authority to set fuel economy standards for new motor vehicles, and nationwide standards for vehicle emissions, with the federal government, not with California or any other state,” the letter to the Air Resources Board read.
Separately, DOJ attorneys are investigating whether four automakers are in violation of federal competition law by agreeing amongst themselves to follow tailpipe-emissions standards above and beyond those proposed by the current administration, CNBC reported.
Ford, BMW, Honda and Volkswagen are the automakers that entered into the deal with California in July. All four reported that they have received notice of the potential problem from the Trump administration.
So far, Honda has said in a statement that it would cooperate with the Department of Justice in the matter.
Doing what it takes
Unlike other presidents who came before him, Trump is not afraid to use whatever legal means may be necessary to thwart plans detrimental to the country that he loves. His opponents like to say he has a big ego, but what Trump actually has is the courage of his convictions.
This unflinching willingness to fight for what he thinks is best is why he was elected in 2016. He since has proven himself faithful to the ideals he professed as a candidate.
If he is re-elected in 2020, it will be in large part because he has kept his promises to the American people and is prepared to keep doing battle on their behalf, regardless of what (within the law) it takes.