The Donald vs. the Sunshine State. This'll be interesting.
President Trump is certainly no stranger to controversy, to say the least, and the state of California is now openly defying him when it comes to fuel emissions. Reuters reports that California governor Jerry Brown and other state officials are vowing to defy the president's plans to lower emissions standards by setting their own. A week ago, the US Environmental Protection Agency announced it's reconsidering the 2022-2025 emissions targets in response to the automakers requesting such a move.
In response, the California Air Resources Board voted unanimously to finalize those same zero-emissions goals over the same period. In fact, the board even ordered staff to begin drafting new targets post-2025. How can this be problematic for the White House? Because a dozen or so states follow California's lead for auto regulations, either somewhat or entirely. Those states include Arizona, Connecticut, Main, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia. If that trend continues, and it very likely will, a showdown will take place between state and federal regulators.
Not only will that create political drama, but it'll be expensive for automakers because they won't be able to set a standard 50-state emissions policy. Consumers, as a result, will also be forced to bear those extra costs. In a statement to Reuters, the White House said in response to the Sunshine State's actions that "We are disappointed California has chosen to refuse our good-faith offer to work together with all relevant stakeholders on this important matter." California response to the automakers: "What were you thinking when you threw yourselves on the mercy of the Trump administration to solve your problems?" This fight is far from over.