60% of country opposes Trump rollback — report

Source: By Maxine Joselow, E&E News reporter • Posted: Sunday, May 12, 2019

States and cities committed to upholding Obama-era clean car standards represent 60% of the U.S. auto market, according to a new survey.

Put another way, 60% of the country opposes the Trump administration’s rollback of President Obama’s landmark climate rules for cars.

The findings come from a brief reportreleased Friday by the International Council on Clean Transportation, the group that helped expose the Volkswagen AG emissions cheating scandal.

The report notes that opposition to the rollback has come from beyond traditionally blue states in the Northeast and West Coast.

For instance, a diverse coalition of 17 states and the District of Columbia sued the Trump administration last year over its initial bid to loosen the car rules (E&E News PM, May 1, 2018).

More recently, Colorado formally adopted tougher tailpipe pollution limits in a direct rebuke to the Trump administration (Climatewire, Nov. 19, 2018).

And in New Mexico, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) signed a January executive order pledging to slash greenhouse gas emissions across the state, including from transportation. That’s seen as a signal that she may adopt the tougher tailpipe pollution limits, as well (Climatewire, Jan. 30).

Nic Lutsey, a program director with the ICCT and the author of the report, said the findings show states are realizing the importance of cutting emissions from transportation, which is now the country’s largest source of heat-trapping carbon dioxide.

“These states are doing a lot to clean up the power sector, but they’re realizing that they can’t meet their climate and air quality goals if they don’t also clean up the transportation sector,” Lutsey said.

He added: “These are states all over the place, not just on the coasts. And Colorado is certainly an important case. They need the standards to meet their air quality goals for the Denver Basin. So that is quite significant.”

The Trump administration is proposing to flatline fuel economy requirements at 2020 levels and preempt California from setting tougher vehicle emissions benchmarks than the federal government.

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler recently said that he expects the rule to be finalized in late spring or early summer.