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Why Trump Attacks California’s Anti-Pollution Powers

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Trump Administration Proposes Easing Obama-Era Auto Emissions Rules
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When U.S. President Richard Nixon signed the Clean Air Act in 1970, he recognized a simple truth about his home state of California: Tens of millions of people driving around constantly in a desert generate lots of pollution. The law gave California special authority to write tailpipe emission limits that can be tougher than the federal government’s, when deemed necessary by state officials. Now another president, Donald Trump, is insisting that California fall in line like other states. Though he says he’s doing it for the benefit of automakers, the companies aren’t entirely sure they want this kind of help.

He’s challenging California’s powers on several fronts. He’s revoking the state’s authority to set tailpipe greenhouse-gas emissions standards that are more stringent than what the federal government requires, as well as its ability to force carmakers to sell a minimum number of electric vehicles in the state. The U.S. Transportation Department is joining the fight, saying California’s fuel economy standards are preempted by federal requirements. These steps are on top of Trump’s ongoing effort to upend fuel-economy rules negotiated with the auto industry by his predecessor, Barack Obama.