The gap between Trump and California widens because of the failure of auto emissions negotiations




© Reuters. Fuel tanks are shown in National City, California

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – US federal authorities have decided to end negotiations with California on the Trump government's plans to lower fuel efficiency rules designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Wednesday announced a government official.

California and 19 other states have asked the Trump administration to abandon a proposal made in August to freeze energy efficiency standards after 2020 and deprive California of its ability to impose stricter rules.

In addition to the threat of increased pollution, Detroit automakers have the biggest financial interests at stake.

General Motors (NYSE: :), Ford Motor (NYSE 🙂 Co and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles derive the bulk of their global profits from the sale of fuel-laden large vans and sport-utility vehicles in the United States. All three stopped or planned to remove their small sedans from their lineup to focus on trucks and SUVs.

The rules that require manufacturers to double the average energy efficiency by 2025 – with a corresponding reduction in carbon dioxide emissions – is one of the most important actions of the Obama administration's climate policy.

Since taking office, Trump has sought to revisit a wide range of President Obama's environmental policies opposed by the petroleum and coal industries.

As the 2020 election cycle heats up, the fight against motor vehicle emissions announces itself as a dividing line between Trump and the Democrats, many of whom are adopting an aggressive platform of action to reduce climate emissions in what they call the Green New Deal.

The break in talks is also taking place as the power struggle between California and Trump intensifies. The Trump administration on Tuesday canceled federal funding of $ 929 million for a California high-speed train project. The California governor quickly associated this move in California, leading a coalition of 16 states challenging Trump's national emergency in order to secure funds for the construction of a wall along the US-Mexico border.

The California Air Resources Board (CARB), California's leading regulator on air quality, met with officials from the White House, the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Ministry of Transport on the Trump administration's efforts to prevent California from tightening vehicle emissions rules.

The government official gave no further details about the end of the talks and it was not easy to know when an announcement would be made.

California authorities have already filed lawsuits to block the Trump administration's proposal to lower the fuel economy targets set by the federal government for 2022-2025. It is unclear how the industry would react to the formal adoption of Trump's proposed freeze and lawsuits by California and other states.

Last year, Mary Nichols, president of CARB, said that the state was willing to give automakers more flexibility to meet vehicle greenhouse gas emission limits.

EPA Administrator, Andrew Wheeler, and Nichols met two weeks ago in San Francisco, but no substantive discussion took place, said CARB spokesman Stanley Young.

"The administration interrupted the communications before Christmas and never responded to the suggested points of compromise, nor offered any compromise proposals, so we concluded that they were never serious at all. about the negotiation, "said Young.

A source close to these talks said EPA officials were not working on the rule when the government shut down. "There was no real effort to get to yes," the source said.

The Trump EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposed in August a rule that would keep emissions standards at 2020 levels rather than requiring them to be upgraded.

Scientists have linked rising fossil fuel emissions to higher temperatures that have worsened drought conditions in California, causing devastating fires.

California officials and environmental groups have said the Trump administration's proposal would be a blow to efforts to limit this damage.

Ford Motor Co said on Wednesday that he was "disappointed" by reports that the negotiations had collapsed. "The auto industry needs regulatory certainty, not protracted litigation," said Joe Hinrichs, President of Ford Global Operations, in a statement.

Fiat Chrysler declined to comment. General Motors and the Alliance for Automobile Manufacturers have not responded to a request for comment for this story.

The freeze proposed by Trump would result in an additional oil consumption of 500,000 barrels per day by 2030. The administration said it would reduce regulatory costs for automakers by more than 300 billion barrels. dollars over the next decade.

The administration was expected to finalize the new rules by the end of March so that the less stringent requirements take effect by the model year 2021, but some builders and managers have wondered whether they should be in the market. they would respect this deadline.

Most manufacturers are opposed to freezing requirements, but also want a reduction in standards approved under the Obama administration that advocated an annual reduction in carbon emissions of about 5% – goals that translate into fuel economy requirements for different categories of vehicles.


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