ONE MAN’S VIEW: Trump administration says states can’t protect residents’ health


Double talk and double standards are the coin of the realm in the Trump Administration.

The latest example of that is the Trump administration’s effort to revoke California’s right to protect its citizens’ health by mandating stricter auto pollution controls for autos.

  • Double talk: “We embrace federalism and the role of the states, but federalism does not mean that one state can dictate standards for the nation,” said Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler, talking recently to the National Automobile Dealers Association.
    What? Dictate standards for the nation? California enacted the rule ONLY for California.
  • Double standards: Republicans are always critical of the federal government telling the states what they must do, always praising “state’s rights.” So here a state acts to protect the health of its citizens and the federal government is saying “no way?” Double talk, doubled!
    Already 13 other states (not Missouri or Illinois of course), the District of Columbia and several major auto makers (Ford, Honda, Volkswagen and BMW of North America) have vowed to follow California’s lead to help eliminate pollution that is aggravated by auto emissions.

And California, being the largest and most populous state in America with some 14.6 million cars on the road, sees the problem growing steadily and wants to do what governments should do, protect the health of their residents pro-actively and not wait until there is an unsolvable health crisis.State Attorney General Xavier Becerra said California’s clean car standards are “achievable, science-based, and a boon for hard-working American families and public health,” as he announced the state’s plan to sue the Trump administration to prevent implementation of the EPA’s disastrous decision.

Emissions from transportation, including cars and trucks, are the largest single source of greenhouse gases in the United States.

The stricter standards set by the Obama Administration, which California wants to implement, required that cars average nearly 51 mpg by model year 2025. The Trump Administration wants to freeze mileage standards at roughly 37 miles per gallon from 2020 to 2026.

In July, California forged an agreement with four companies — Ford, Honda, Volkswagen and BMW of North America — under which they pledged to produce fleets averaging nearly 50 mpg by model year 2026.

What? Let the states determine their own policies? No way says the Donald! The Trump Justice Department has opened an inquiry into whether the accord violated antitrust law.

“While the White House has abdicated its responsibility to the rest of the world on cutting emissions and fighting global warming, California has stepped up,” Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said in an interview with the Washington Post. “It’s a move that could have devastating consequences for our kids’ health and the air we breathe, if California were to roll over. But we will not.”

Finally, a governor with guts to stand up to the bully. Right on!

(Some information from the Washington Post.)


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