The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is pushing for a unified national fuel emissions standard for automobiles, a move that could significantly impact California's stringent car emissions standards.
EPA air and radiation head Bill Wehrum, speaking at the Washington Auto Show in Washington, D.C., Thursday, said the agency is leaning toward creating a national car standard. Wehrum told the crowd he was speaking on behalf of EPA Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittEPA bans use of pesticide linked to developmental problems in children Science matters: Thankfully, EPA leadership once again agrees Want to evaluate Donald Trump's judgment? Listen to Donald Trump MORE, who couldn't attend the event.
"We’ve heard loud and clear that having one national program is really important," Wehrum said, describing how the EPA was approaching potentially revising the national fuel emissions standards.
"From a good, solid national and public policy standpoint, the very best outcome for all of us to achieve is one national program," he said.
A unified national fuel standard could have grave implications for California, a state that utilizes a waiver created under the Obama administration that allows it to set emissions standards more strict than the federal government's.
The state in 2017 voted to push ahead with even stricter emissions standards for cars and trucks, a decision made in the face of President TrumpDonald TrumpCapitol fencing starts coming down after 'Justice for J6' rally Netanyahu suggests Biden fell asleep in meeting with Israeli PM Aides try to keep Biden away from unscripted events or long interviews, book claims MORE's vow to loosen regulations.
Wehrum acknowledged the potential conflict, saying the agency has "initiated talks" with California "with the intention and the goal of trying to achieve agreement as to whether changes should be made to the current (federal) standards"
He added "And if so, hopefully we'll work together to try to have a consistent and compatible program."
While Wehrum stopped short of saying the EPA was considering an option that would do away with the waiver program entirely, he said the EPA is considering whether adjustments to the current program need to be made, which is why it's communicating with the state.
Wehrum said the agency is on track to make its decision as to whether the federal standards will be changed by April 1.