PatrickGorski/iStock(WASHINGTON) — In their latest clash over environmental issues, the White House announced on Thursday that talks with California had ended without an agreement on a controversial Trump administration proposal to roll back fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks.
The Trump administration has proposed lowering fuel efficiency rules — put in place by the Obama administration to limit pollution that contributed to climate change. The rules, known as the Corporate Average Fuel Economy or CAFE standards, would have required all cars and trucks to meet higher fuel efficiency standards by 2025.
But the Trump administration said those standards would be too expensive for consumers and it would be better to get older cars off the road instead. The proposal clashed with California and several other states that have higher requirements than the administration proposal.
In a joint statement the White House, Department of Transportation, and Environmental Protection Agency said the administration ended talks with California’s environmental agency.
“Despite the Administration’s best efforts to reach a common-sense solution, it is time to acknowledge that CARB has failed to put forward a productive alternative since the SAFE Vehicles Rule was proposed,” the statement said. “Accordingly, the Administration is moving forward to finalize a rule later this year with the goal of promoting safer, cleaner, and more affordable vehicles.”
But California officials say they haven’t spoken to anyone from the administration since before Christmas, when they said they got no response to suggestions for a compromise.
“We had several meetings with the administration, but they were highly non-substantive, and discussion never rose to the level where they could even be called or even ‘negotiations,’” a spokesman for the California Air Resources Board Stanley Young said in an email.
“The administration broke off communications before Christmas and never responded to our suggested areas of compromise — or offered any compromise proposal at all. We concluded at that point that they were never serious about negotiating, and their public comments about California since then seem to underscore that point.”
The administration says it will move to finalize its proposed rule, which will likely face legal challenges from California and environmental groups.
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