EPA threatens to revoke California’s ability to set emissions standards as the Trump administration moves to abandon fuel mileage goals

The Trump administration openly threatened one of the cornerstones of California’s environmental protections, saying that it may revoke the state’s ability under the Clean Air Act to impose stricter standards than the federal government sets for vehicle emissions.

The announcement came as the administration confirmed it is tearing up landmark fuel economy rules pushing automakers to manufacture cleaner burning cars and SUVs.

“Cooperative federalism doesn’t mean that one state can dictate standards for the rest of the country,” Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt said in a statement.

“EPA will set a national standard for greenhouse gas emissions that allows auto manufacturers to make cars that people both want and can afford — while still expanding environmental and safety benefits of newer cars. It’s in everyone’s best interest to have a national standard, and we look forward to working with all states, including California, as we work to finalize that standard.”

The threat against California’s decades-old independent authority on clean air rules came on the same day that the administration filed suit to try to overturn another of the state’s environmental protections — a measure passed last year by the Legislature that seeks to limit the federal government’s ability to sell public lands to private interests by requiring that the state be given a right of first refusal on federal land sales within California’s borders.

Together, the two moves marked another escalation of the battle between the state and federal governments over environmental policies.

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