Energy & Environment

Trump tweets he's revoking California's tailpipe emissions waiver while visiting state

President Trump announced on Wednesday that his administration will be removing California's tailpipe emissions waiver under the Clean Air Act, a decision likely to face fierce backlash in courts.

Trump made the announcement via Twitter while touring California for private fundraisers and a visit to the border with Mexico. The tweet came just before he was scheduled to deliver remarks at a breakfast with donors at a downtown Los Angeles hotel.

"The Trump Administration is revoking California's Federal Waiver on emissions in order to produce far less expensive cars for the consumer, while at the same time making the cars substantially SAFER," Trump tweeted.

"This will lead to more production because of this pricing and safety advantage, and also due to the fact that older, highly polluting cars, will be replaced by new, extremely environmentally friendly cars."

Trump added that the administration's new standard - which has not yet been released - would have "very little difference in emissions between the California Standard and the new U.S. Standard."

He said, though, that the rule would be "far safer and much less expensive" and lead to more car production.

"Many more cars will be produced under the new and uniform standard, meaning significantly more JOBS, JOBS, JOBS! Automakers should seize this opportunity because without this alternative to California, you will be out of business," he tweeted in the thread.

Trump's announcement indicates the White House is moving ahead with plans to split its auto emissions rule into two parts, a move seen as a way to speed up the process of finalizing the hotly debated deregulation. The final draft of the Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient Vehicles Rule was submitted to the White House in August.

The first section of the rule, which would formally revoke California's preemption and waiver under the Clean Air Act, could be finalized as early as this week.

The administration has not yet announced the second part of the rule, which will include a final decision over what fuel efficiency levels to set emissions at starting in 2025. It's expected the regulations will be much weaker than those proposed under former President Obama. 

Despite Trump's promises, California state leaders and scientists have long argued that the White House's proposed changes to the federal emissions standards would worsen air pollution.

California had worked hand in hand with the Obama administration to determine stringent air pollution standards for cars.

The state maintains it has the right to establish its own strong air quality standards under the Clean Air Act, and auto manufacturers have long sought one national standard for vehicles across the country.

Updated at 11:54 a.m.

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