Dems: Congress rejected part of Trump’s car emissions rollback

Dems: Congress rejected part of Trump’s car emissions rollback
© Greg Nash

A trio of Senate Democrats says Congress has specifically rejected the Trump administration’s argument that California doesn’t have the authority to set its own greenhouse gas emissions for cars.

Sens. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperWhere do we go from here? Conservation can show the way Overnight Energy: EPA to regulate 'forever chemicals' in drinking water | Trump budget calls for slashing funds for climate science centers | House Dems urge banks not to fund drilling in Arctic refuge EPA will regulate 'forever chemicals' in drinking water MORE (D-Del.), Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyKennedy, Markey neck-and-neck in Massachusetts primary: poll Overnight Energy: EPA to regulate 'forever chemicals' in drinking water | Trump budget calls for slashing funds for climate science centers | House Dems urge banks not to fund drilling in Arctic refuge Democratic senators criticize plan that could expand Arctic oil and gas development MORE (D-Mass.) and Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinCalifornia lawmakers mark Day of Remembrance for Japanese internment Democratic senators ask DOJ watchdog to expand Giuliani probe House passes bipartisan bill to create women's history museum MORE (D-Calif.) wrote to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) acting head Andrew Wheeler and Transportation Secretary Elaine ChaoElaine Lan ChaoWatchdog sues for records of Boeing's communications with Trump's Transportation Department The Hill's Morning Report - Report of Bolton tell-all manuscript roils Trump defense Mitch McConnell may win the impeachment and lose the Senate MORE with what they say is evidence that lawmakers turned down the opportunity to preempt California’s authority in 2007, when debating a major energy conservation bill.

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It is a pushback against the administration’s proposal, released this summer, to revoke California’s authority. That revocation is part of a larger proposal, dubbed the Safer Affordable Fuel Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles rule, that would stop federal car efficiency and emissions rules from getting stronger between 2021 and 2026, as the Obama administration had envisioned.

“As elected officials who were deeply involved in the negotiation of the fuel economy provisions of [the Energy Independence and Security Act], we can attest to Congress’ intent that California’s authority under the Clean Air Act be preserved,” they wrote.

The senators said their evidence demonstrates “unequivocally that in the month before EISA was enacted, there were reported efforts on the part of the automobile industry, some members of Congress and the Bush administration to preempt, limit or otherwise constrain both EPA’s and California’s authority under the Clean Air Act.”

All the efforts were “rejected” and didn’t make it to the final law, they said.

When the 2007 bill was being debated, some in industry and some lawmakers were worried that the EPA, the Department of Transportation (DOT) and California would have overlapping or conflicting regulations on car efficiency.

The Obama administration resolved the potential issue by having both agencies and California agree to negotiate regulations together. But the Trump administration wants to undo that and revoke California’s authority to set separate rules.