This morning, the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation formally announced — as expected — that the Trump Administration is revoking California’s waiver to set its own vehicle standards. Yesterday, Trump tweeted the news, coupling it with falsehoods claiming that the rollback would save lives and save consumers money. As I blogged yesterday, both are lies. Not to be outdone, today’s EPA/DOT press release, with statements from EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler and DOT Secretary Elaine Chao (currently under the cloud of a corruption investigation), repeats the lies and adds some new twists of its own. Here’s an excerpt:
the proposed SAFE Vehicles Rule standards would establish attainable fuel economy and GHG vehicle emissions standards that will help ensure that more Americans have access to safer, more affordable, and cleaner vehicles that meet their families’ needs. The SAFE rule’s standards are projected to save the nation billions of dollars and strengthen the U.S. domestic manufacturing base by adding millions of new car sales. Most importantly, because newer cars are safer than ever before, the new standards are projected to save thousands of lives and prevent tens of thousands of Americans from being hospitalized by car crashes.
Not only will the cars under Trump’s proposed rule to rollback tough carbon pollution standards be cheaper and safer, they will also be cleaner! And even though the federal government has yet to issue its own rules and has launched an antitrust investigation against the auto manufacturers, Administrator Wheeler assures us that the yanking of the waiver is good for the automakers: “One national standard provides much-needed regulatory certainty for the automotive industry,” he claims.
Secretary Chao adds her own false narrative about California forcing the rest of the country to follow its path: the waiver revocation is necessary because “no State has the right to impose its policies on the rest of the country.” Of course the rest of the country can choose whether to follow national standards or California standards. The Trump Administration is diminishing state choice and flexibility, not increasing it.
And then there’s the finger wagging at California, which really might be the most duplicitous and disingenuous statement in the whole press release:
The state must redouble its efforts to address the worst air quality in the United States and finally achieve compliance with EPA’s National Ambient Air Quality Standards, where for decades it has failed to address serious, severe, and extreme non-compliance status in several areas within the state.
Honestly, I don’t know how they write this stuff. At the same time the Administration is trying to eliminate the most effective program California has to meet tough federal air pollution standards — its Zero Emission Vehicle mandate, which eliminates not some but ALL pollutants from the tailpipes of cars and trucks — EPA and DOT are scolding the state for not doing enough. I can’t even….
If I’ve missed any more particularly egregious examples from the press release, please add them in the comments.