Democrats opposed to the Trump administration's proposal to freeze fuel efficiency standards have limited options to fight back in the halls and floor of Congress, but the one option they do have comes straight from the GOP deregulatory playbook.
If the proposed rule becomes final, it could roil the auto industry as it prepares for new model years and weaken one of the federal government's chief weapons against climate change - regulating emissions from cars and other vehicles.
Opponents are concerned about the rollback's effects on air quality.
"With today's release of the administration's proposals, it's time for substantive negotiations to begin".
Heidi King, deputy administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said the freeze would reduce highway deaths by 1,000 per year "by reducing these barriers that prevent consumers from getting into the newer, safer, cleaner, more fuel-efficient cars".
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Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) on Thursday blasted President TrumpDonald John TrumpPro-Trump pastor: Trump is "the most pro-black" president I've ever seen Trump renews calls for interview with Mueller: report CNN's Acosta: Hannity is "injecting poison into the nation's political bloodstream" MORE for his administration's plan to strip California of its ability to determine its own vehicle regulations for greenhouse gas emissions.
The administration argues that higher fuel economy standards are a safety risk, claiming that if cars that are more efficient are more expensive, people will be less likely the buy newer cars with improved safety features, and if they spend less on gas, they'd drive more and therefore be at greater risk of crashes.
The states that have adopted California's emission rules together make up about one third of the us auto market.
The attorneys general of 20 states, including California, pledged to sue the administration.
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In the end, the White House approved taking a hard line, despite fears of some administration officials that their plan is based on weak evidence that will not hold up under court challenge.
In the years before California's extremely strict clean air rules, there were smog-filled skies that were fairly common.
"The joint proposal initiates a process to establish a new 50-state fuel economy and tailpipe carbon dioxide emissions standard for passenger cars and light trucks covering MY 2021 through 2026", said the Department of Transportation. Yet for President Donald Trump, who's prioritized eliminating regulations, the auto rules represent a grand prize. "The Trump administration has launched a brazen attack, no matter how it is cloaked, on our nation's clean vehicle standards", Becerra said on Twitter. Also, and manufacturers are talking about kind of having two different standards. In our federalist system, California and other states should be able to experiment with what is permissible on their roadways.
Democrats hope to make any rollback of the emissions rules a key part of midterm elections in November, when they will be seeking to try to regain control of one or both chambers of Congress.
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