Saying California has the worst air quality within the nation, the E.P.A. chief fires the most recent salvo in an escalating battle over clear air and states’ rights.
WASHINGTON — The political battle between California and the Trump administration escalated Monday with a letter from Andrew Wheeler, the top of the Environmental Safety Company, warning that Washington would withhold federal freeway funds from the state if it didn’t quickly handle a decades-long backlog of state-level air pollution management plans.
The letter is the most recent parry between President Trump and the liberal West Coast state that he seems to relish antagonizing. California’s latest actions on clear air and local weather change coverage have blindsided and enraged him, in line with two individuals acquainted with the matter.
Whereas California has angered Mr. Trump with its efforts to stick to stricter state requirements on local weather change air pollution from automobiles at the same time as Mr. Trump has sought to roll again such requirements nationally, Mr. Wheeler’s new letter to the state gives a twist on the narrative.
It states that California “has the worst air high quality in America,” together with 82 areas throughout the state with air high quality that doesn’t meet federal regulation. It says that by regulation, the state is required to submit plans for decreasing that air pollution, however, that California has a backlog of about 130 incomplete or inactive plans, “many courting again a long time.”
The letter notes that California has greater than 34 million individuals residing in areas that don’t meet federal air pollution requirements for pollution like soot and smog — “greater than twice as many individuals as every other state within the nation.”
Mr. Wheeler says within the letter that he’s calling consideration to California’s backlog as a part of a broader effort to “dramatically cut back” such backlogs nationally.
He says that California’s failure to deal with the backlogged plans could end in penalties such because of the withholding of federal freeway funds or the implementation of federal plans.
The letter requests a response from the state by Oct. 10.
California’s governor, Gavin Newsom, known as the E.P.A.’s administrator pure politics.
“The White Home has no real interest in serving to California adjust to the Clear Air Act to enhance the well being and well-being of Californians,” he stated in a press release Tuesday. “This letter is a menace of pure retaliation. Whereas the White Home tries to bully us and concoct new methods to make our air dirtier, California is defending our state’s clear air legal guidelines from President Trump’s assaults. We gained’t return to the times when our air was the color of mud. We gained’t relive whole summers when spending time outdoors amounted to a public well-being threat. We gained’t be intimidated by this brazen political stunt.”
The E.P.A. letter, made public on Monday however dated Sept. 24, was first reported by The Sacramento Bee. California officers stated Monday night time that they’d solely simply obtained it, they usually declined to reply till they’d time to assessment it. A spokesman for the White Home referred inquiries to the E.P.A., and a spokesman for the company didn’t instantly reply to an emailed request for remark.
The letter follows Mr. Trump’s announcement final week that his administration would revoke California’s authorized authority to set its personal stringent state-level rules on planet-warming air pollution from car tailpipes. On Friday, California and greater than 20 different states retaliated by submitting a sweeping lawsuit anticipated to be resolved solely earlier than the Supreme Court docket, accusing Mr. Trump of trampling on each states’ rights and on main efforts to struggle local weather change.
In truth, one of many key authorized arguments made by the California lawsuit final week is that these tailpipe requirements are required for the state to manage emissions of the opposite pollution, like soot and smog, at ranges required to satisfy even federal requirements.
“We’d like the additional clear automobiles to satisfy the requirements set by the federal authorities,” Mary Nichols, California’s prime clear air regulator, stated at a information convention final week. “If this prevails, hundreds of thousands of individuals in California will breathe soiled air. There might be extra air pollution, extra bronchial asthma, extra hospitalizations, extra untimely deaths.”
Mr. Trump’s transfer to revoke California’s authority to set local weather requirements from car air pollution got here after an announcement in July that 4 automakers that opposed Mr. Trump’s plan to roll again the nationwide car tailpipe air pollution normal signed a take care of California to adjust to tighter emissions requirements if the broader rollback goes by.
Mr. Trump, who was shocked and angered by that announcement, in line with two individuals acquainted with the matter, has since sought to push insurance policies that will punish California.
Earlier this month, the Justice Division opened an investigation into whether or not the automakers’ take care of California violates antitrust legal guidelines, though an individual acquainted with the investigation stated that it was not began on the request of Mr. Trump or any administration officers.