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CA Air Resources Board disputes EPA vehicle emissions rollback




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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced this week it's rolling back vehicle emissions standards. Fuel efficient vehicles are a key component of reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with global warming, and they're a key component of California's efforts to meet its own emissions goals. Air Resources Board communications director Stanley Young explains California's response to the EPA's vehicle emissions decision.

How the EPA announcement will affect California

Right now, it doesn't affect us at all because we're going to stick to the standards that were agreed upon by California, the federal government and the auto makers back in 2012. From our perspective, those standards hold. We and the federal government both spent more than two years taking a very close look at whether those standards were appropriate and feasible. After exhaustive examination and 2,000 pages of detailed analysis, we came to the conclusion last year that those standards are appropriate and feasible and in fact will cost a lot less than we originally thought, and the Obama administration came to exactly the same conclusion.

How California can continue to enforce its clean car rules

Under the Clean Air Act, California has the authority to set stricter standards than federal regulations. We got a waiver to enforce those regulations, so we have the ability to continue with those standards and enforce them through 2025.

Can the U.S. government rescind California's waiver

In the 50 years that we've been operating under the Clean Air Act, we've had more than 100 waivers. Not a single one has ever been revoked, and there is some serious legal consideration as to how that would actually happen. We act on our part when the EPA takes an action on their part. We're not looking for a fight. We weren't looking to have a face off here, but it depends on what course of action the EPA takes and then we will address that as needed.

12 states follow California's stricter vehicle emissions standards

Those 12 states constitute more than 1/3 of new car sales in the nation, and about 110 million people. We are a constituency that are committed to these standards because they protect public health.

Why fuel-efficient, low-emissions vehicles are important in California

In California, we are under a law here to meet targets to reduce our greenhouse gases and because the transportation sector in California is the largest source of climate changing gases, that's where we have to look to get to the most reductions. These standards help reduce burning fossil fuels, so that helps us on our way to achieving our climate goals.

ARB Chief Mary Nichols says the EPA decision was politically motivated and lacked documentation to back up its decision

We didn't see any evidence, data, science or fact in this call to revise the standards. We spent two years and thousands of pages of analyses in demonstrating those standards were feasible. In the document the EPA produced, it mostly just parrots claims by the industry that the standards are too hard to meet, but there's nothing yet to definitively demonstrate that is actually the case.

State plans to vigorously defend the existing clean vehicle standards

Our game plan is to ensure that we're able to defend California's ability to have those vehicle standards in place, the same standards we all agreed to, so whatever will fulfill that primary goal is where we're going to be moving.