Healey, Markey Criticize Plan To Roll Back California's Emissions Standards

Morning traffic on the Mass Pike (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Morning traffic on the Mass Pike (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and U.S. Sen. Edward Markey are protesting the Trump administration's plan to revoke an Obama-era waiver allowing California to set its own standards for automobile fuel economy and emissions.

Thirteen other states, including Massachusetts, have adopted California's rules.

"An attack on California's waiver is an attack on all of the 150 million of us currently living with, and benefiting from, the California standards," said Markey, "and all of us are going to support every effort to fight back."

The 2013 EPA waiver allowed California to impose stricter air quality standards than those set by the federal government. In July, four automakers signed a deal with California, agreeing to produce passenger vehicles averaging 50 mpg by 2026.

The Trump administration launched an antitrust investigation into the deal, and is calling for a single, federal guideline freezing mileage standards at 37 mpg until 2026.

In a series of tweets, President Trump said that revoking the waiver would lead to safer and cheaper vehicles.

But in a statement released Wednesday, Healey said “the Trump administration’s attack on the California waiver is an illegal assault on states’ rights, clean air, and the climate that will cost drivers billions more at the pump.”

Markey and Delaware U.S. Sen. Tom Carper said in a joint statement that the waiver was "projected to save nearly 2.5 million barrels of oil a day by 2030, around as much oil as the United States currently imports from OPEC countries every day, save consumers over $1 trillion, and reduce global warming pollution by six billion metric tons."

In a press call, Markey said California's right to establish its own tailpipe standards under the Clean Air Act has already been successfully defended in court, and called the Trump administration's move a "vindictive, oil-soaked power grab." He predicted that it would lead to years of litigation, confusion and disarray, and be "a disastrous U-turn on addressing the climate crisis."

"Trump's move to revoke the California federal waiver for strong, state-level vehicle greenhouse gas emissions is unprecedented," said Markey. "It is illegal, it is bad for consumers, bad for business, bad for workers, bad for the planet."


Barbara Moran Correspondent, Climate and Environment
Barbara Moran is a correspondent on WBUR’s environmental team.



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