Trump administration unveils plans to relax car pollution rules

Trump and the E.P.A. are scaling back Obama-era rules for U.S. automakers on greenhouse gas emissions.


California, where car traffic is daily challenge, worked with the Obama administration to increase auto emissions standards. That agreement, and the state's waiver to set it own standards, are now in jeopardy. Credit: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Many publications in the US carry the news that the Trump administration has published its – as the New York Times describes it – “long-awaited proposal to freeze antipollution and fuel-efficiency standards for cars, significantly weakening one of President Barack Obama’s signature policies to combat global warming”.

The newspaper adds: “The proposed new rules would also challenge the right of states, California in particular, to set their own, more stringent tailpipe pollution standards. That would set the stage for a legal clash that could ultimately split the nation’s auto market in two. The administration’s plans immediately faced opposition from an unusual mix of critics — including not only environmentalists and consumer groups but auto-industry representatives as well as individual states — who are now launching efforts to change the plan before it is finalized.”

Reuters says that “California and 18 other US states promised on Thursday to fight [it] arguing the US has an obligation to protect the environment for future generations”.

Vox focuses on the US Environmental Protection Agency’s “bizarre justification” for seeking to roll back the fuel standards: “The agency claims it will save lives by making safe cars more affordable. In fact, the proposal will lead to more pollution.”

An editorial in the New York Times says the EPA’s plan is “based on bad science, bad math, and bad faith”, adding: “To justify the unjustifiable, the Trump administration is deploying a series of bogus arguments that freezing the Obama standards would prevent nearly 13,000 traffic fatalities. That number stands in stark contrast to the Obama administration’s conclusion that its standards would lower fatalities by 100.”

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