White House rejects automakers’ plea for a deal with California
WASHINGTON — The White House is moving forward with plans to significantly weaken vehicle pollution standards, rejecting a lastminute appeal to President Donald Trump by some of the world’s largest car manufacturers to restart negotiations with California.
White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said Friday that California’s top air quality regulator had failed to propose a “productive alternative” to the administration’s plan to ease requirements for tailpipe emissions and fuel economy standards.
The administration’s proposal would undo one of the most significant environmental regulations put in place under President Barack Obama — rules that sought to cut down on vehicle emissions, improve fuel efficiency and forestall the worst effects of climate change.
The regulations require car manufacturers to build increasingly efficient vehicles so that by 2025 the nation’s cars and trucks would average more than 50 miles per gallon.
After automakers complained that the Obama standards were too strict, the Trump administration decided to rewrite the regulations. But the results were too extreme even for the car manufacturers. On Thursday, 17 major automakers including General Motors, Ford, Nissan and Toyota, asked Trump in a letter to reopen talks with California, which has authority under the Clean Air Act to set its own tailpipe emission regulations.
They warned the president that his administration’s plan to weaken car pollution regulations and fuel efficiency standards would hurt car companies’ bottom lines and could produce “untenable” instability.