Trump Administration Unveils Its Plan to Relax Car Pollution Rules

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from The New York Times,

The Trump administration on Thursday put forth its long-awaited proposal to freeze antipollution and fuel-efficiency standards for cars, significantly weakening one of President Barack Obama’s signature policies to combat global warming.

The proposed new rules would also challenge the right of states, California in particular, to set their own, more stringent tailpipe pollution standards. That would set the stage for a legal clash that could ultimately split the nation’s auto market in two.

The administration’s plans immediately faced opposition from an unusual mix of critics — including not only environmentalists and consumer groups but auto-industry representatives as well as individual states — who are now launching efforts to change the plan before it is finalized.

In a statement titled “Make Cars Great Again” that was published Thursday on The Wall Street Journal’s website, Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao and Andrew Wheeler, the acting administrator of the E.P.A., wrote that the Obama-era standards would “impose significant costs on American consumers and eliminate jobs.” Their new proposal, they said, would “give consumers greater access to safer, more affordable vehicles, while continuing to protect the environment.”

William Wehrum, the E.P.A.’s Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation, added, “There is a tension between calling for ever-increasing efficiency standards on one hand, and the obligation to have safe vehicles on the road.”

That conclusion forms the basis of the current administration’s reasoning on rolling back the rule. However, it clashes with the Obama administration’s analysis of the same rule, which found that improving fuel-economy standards would actually lead to about 100 fewer auto-related casualties over the next 13 years.

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