Timothy O'Connor, who directs the Environmental Defense Fund's oil and gas program in California, said he expects more states to follow California's lead when it comes to air quality regulation in anticipation of a lack of support from the federal government. Well, it defies him every chance they get, and in this case, they gave Trump the proverbial middle finger by approving vehicle emission regulations for 2022 to 2025 that the Trump admiration says needs further review.
Bloomberg notes that CARB's vote for stricter emissions rules could lead to a showdown with President Trump, who described US environmental regulation as "out of control" when he met with statement-trump-administrations-reinstating-midterm-review-process/">automakers in January.
California's new regulations are the first major environmental regulations since the Trump administration took power, O'Connor said, and they may be an indication of what is to come at the state level elsewhere.
"What were you thinking when you threw yourselves on the mercy of the Trump administration to solve your problems?" "Why do another review if the current program is basically OK?" Each agency also committed to conducting a midterm review for the later year standards (for cars in model years 2022 to 2025).
In 2011, the California board - along with EPA, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and almost every major automaker - agreed to a new set of fuel economy and greenhouse gas regulations that spanned 2012 to 2025.
"The Trump administration has backed away from efforts to develop a federal rule to curb methane leaks from existing facilities - the nation's largest source of methane pollution", Mary Nichols, CARB chair, said in a statement immediately after the vote.
The Western States Petroleum Association attributes just 4 percent of the state's methane emissions to the oil and gas sector.
Under the Clean Air Act, California can set vehicle emission standards that are more stringent than federal standards. The requirements begin with model year 2018 vehicles and specify that by 2025, 15 percent of autos sold in the state must be zero- or low-emission vehicles. "We are asking them to beef it up - to strengthen it up - and put some regulations into it", said Penny Newman with the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice. "We hope that regulators will provide ample time for implementation and ensure that the program is fairly and consistently enforced across the state".
The regulation is sweeping, covering oil and gas sites on land as well as offshore and would apply to private, state and federal property.
ZEV sales in California accelerated in 2016, rising more than 18% compared to the previous year. Ryan Alexander, president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, sharply criticized Congress' recent assault on the rule, stating that "opposition to a particular government regulation should not mean overlooking potential waste, fraud and abuse at the expense of taxpayers".
"We can't build the market on our own".
The board's vote on greenhouse gas restrictions suggests a potentially bruising legal battle with the White House could be coming.
"I think we are where we wish to be, which is working together", he stated.
Regulators from California and other states, along with environmental groups, repeatedly criticized automakers on Friday for failing to offer plug-in electric cars and pure electric vehicles in all states and for refusing to market them aggressively. "If a divorce is going to happen at some point, we are going to litigate that divorce strongly", he said.