EPA chief says agency, California ‘far apart’ on car emissions

(bloombergs, 4 Feb 2019) U.S. and California officials agreed Monday on one thing about auto emissions standards: they’re still miles from an agreement, with a crucial deadline just two months away.

In separate comments, Sacramento and Washington’s top environmental regulators said they’ve yet to overcome a long-running impasse over the Trump administration’s proposal to cap auto emissions and fuel economy standards after 2020 and strip California of its authority to regulate tailpipe carbon dioxide emissions.

“We certainly hope to have a 50-state solution but at the end of the day we have to move forward with regulation,” Environmental Protection Agency Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler told Bloomberg Television in an interview Monday, saying the agency and the state remain “pretty far apart” on the issue. “California is an important player -- an important part of this -- but this is not a two-sided negotiation for a national standard.”

After briefly meeting with Wheeler in San Francisco on Monday, California Air Resources Board Chairman Mary Nichols said the two sides remain at odds over the proposal and that a fundamental philosophical disagreement exists over the federal proposal to unwind California’s power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from autos.

Legal Disagreement

“That disagreement may turn into a legal disagreement at some point,” Nichols said during remarks at the BloombergNEF Summit San Francisco. “I think it’s also correct to say that we have some reason to hope that we could possibly reach a resolution, not so much because I think we’re going to change their minds through the force of our arguments, as that the auto industry itself has made it very clear that they don’t want this fight. ”

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bloombergs, 4 Feb 2019: EPA chief says agency, California ‘far apart’ on car emissions