United States to relax emissions standards for cars and trucks

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt

Pruitt - who reportedly still has the backing of President Trump despite his troubles - asked the administration in March to boost the salaries of two EPA staffer whom he hired after bringing them to Washington from Oklahoma, where he was the state attorney general.

Former President Barack Obama's EPA "made assumptions about the standards that didn't comport with reality, and set the standards too high", Pruitt said in a statement.

The event came after Pruitt officially ruled Monday that the greenhouse gas rules set to take place for 2022 through 2025 are not achievable and should be changed.

Other Trump Cabinet members, including Housing Secretary Ben Carson and Interior head Ryan Zinke have also faced questions about their expenditures. Aside from California, 12 other states have the same policies inspired by the Clean Air Act. We saw another wave of California-only models in the early 2010s, when vehicle companies needed to sell so-called compliance electric cars to meet the zero-emissions requirement and keep doing business in the state. The state sued, and the case was dropped by the Obama administration before a court could resolve it. Marketing American LNG is not under the jurisdiction of the EPA administrator.

A spokesperson for Pruitt initially said the EPA administrator was only renting out one bedroom in the apartment, not the full unit.

California Gov. Jerry Brown also criticized the announcement. She argued that the move would "demolish" the nation's shift toward cleaner cars and that "EPA's action, if implemented, will worsen people's health with degraded air quality and undermine regulatory certainty for automakers".

The fight will cause planning headaches for automakers, who are running into design deadlines for the model years in dispute.

Automakers commended and acclaimed Scott Pruitt's finding.

"This was the right decision, " said Gloria Berquist, spokeswoman for the alliance. That has set up a battle on vehicle efficiency between California, the most populous USA state and a massive auto market, and the administration of President Donald Trump. It added that the lowering of fuel standards would "keep new vehicles affordable to more Americans".

However, lobbying groups representing US automakers argued that the proposed fuel economy targets would be hard and expensive to achieve and will force them to produce smaller, more fuel-efficient cars at a time when most Americans are buying SUVs and trucks that are less fuel-efficient, but more profitable for automakers.

Greenhouse gas emissions are tied directly to how much gasoline a auto burns. Instead, it will try to reach an agreement with California on a single national standard.

"As you know, a significant objective of Mr. Pruitt's trip to Morocco a year ago was the promotion of LNG exports, an activity that does not fall within EPA's jurisdiction".

The State of California also supported the proposal and was integral in developing this national program.

The transportation sector is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases. California can not meet its statutory goal of slashing carbon emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 without lower pollution from passenger vehicles.

He said a year ago he wanted to review the new emissions rules, so Monday's action had been expected.

"Our honest hope is that folks can work it out so we have one standard and there isn't disruption in the availability of vehicles, " Maas said. The revision eases restrictions for vehicles that are to be built between 2022-2025. The total now is 350,000.

Pruitt's EPA is abandoning those goals and says it will work with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to set more appropriate standards at a later date.

U.S. environmental group, the Natural Resources Defence Council, said the move to review the emissions standards for passenger cars - which account for about a quarter of the nation's greenhouse gases - was a win for big oil. Unfortunately, they won't know it, and they probably wouldn't thank him if they did.

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