In a victory for automakers, President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that his administration would roll back pollution standards enacted in the waning days of the Obama administration. Speaking at a factory in Ypsilanti, Michigan, Trump ordered the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to review emission standards, saying the standards were becoming too burdensome for manufacturers. " I'm sure you've all heard the big news that we're going to work on the CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards so you can make cars in America again," Trump said.
"My administration will work tirelessly to eliminate the industry-killing regulations, to lower the job crushing taxes and to ensure a level playing field for all American companies and workers."
The news is a blow for the Democrats and climate change advocates, who got a last-minute win under the Obama presidency with a bill that put into place emission standards that aimed to double the mileage per gallon to 54.5 by 2025, up from the current standard of 27.5 miles that was put in place in 2010. (See also: Automakers Ask New EPA Chief for Leniency)
Trump told the small crowd that "the assault on the American auto industry is over," but put onus on the automakers to meet the government half way. "We're going to do some wonderful work with you, but you're going to have to help us with jobs," Trump said.
California Steps Up
The announcement will not have any immediate impact on regulation, but it is likely to set up a showdown between state and government. Officials condemned Trump's comments. California Governor Jerry Brown said Trump's decision to weaken standards is "an unconscionable gift to polluters."
California, long a Democratic and environment-friendly state, filed a motion to block a lawsuit brought by automakers that are seeking to challenge the current EPA requirements. California is one of a handful of states that under the Clean Air Act can set its own emission standards due to higher pollution levels. New York State has joined California in the motion. (See also: California's Economy: The 9 Industries Driving GDP Growth)
"President Trump's action represents a dramatic wrong turn in our nation's efforts to fight air pollution from passenger cars and trucks and protect the health of our children, seniors, and all communities," Eric Schneiderman New York Attorney General said in joining the motion.
In a further blow to environmentalists, President Trump announced as part of his budget that he plans to cut EPA spending by 30 percent.