Trump’s rollback of California pollution rules expected
September 18, 2019
Making good on a campaign promise to reverse pollution rules, the Trump Administration is expected to announce a rollback of California’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles. The expected announcement from the Environmental Protection Agency would come just weeks after California officials signed a deal with four automakers to produce cleaner cars. USC experts weigh in on the conflict over California’s decades-old authority to impose stricter car emissions standards.
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“It appears federal officials cherry-picked data to support a predetermined conclusion that the clean-car standards will lead to too many highway deaths. It’s doubtful these miscalculations were inadvertent.
“These are not mistakes; these are deliberate downsizing of benefits and inflating costs.”
Antonio Bento is a professor of public policy and economics at the USC Price School of Public Policy and director of the USC Center for Sustainability Solutions. He is the lead author of a study published in Science that concluded existing rules to increase fuel economy for passenger vehicles do more good than harm, contradicting claims by the Trump administration.
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“As far as I can see, President Trump wants to fix something that isn’t broken to score short-term political points – at the cost of having more efficient vehicles on the roads both in the US and in all of the secondary vehicle markets for used American cars.
“The rules tested in California epitomize why many conservatives support states’ rights and leadership. California has been a lab for policy innovation, and all of the federal rules that followed from California experiments have saved both human lives and property.”
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“I am disheartened by the administration’s choice to forbid California to protect its residents from certain vehicle emissions that were regulated by an Obama-era waiver of the Clean Air Act.
“The problem of climate change is complex, and in my view cannot be understood simply by CO2 and global warming. Other vehicle emissions such as particulates and nonmetal oxides present important threats among the issues of climate change. While some effects of these emissions are global, some are local. The Golden State should have the right to protect the safety of its residents as needed in our unique environment of urbanization and commercial development.”
Travis Williams is an associate professor of chemistry and biomedical engineering at the USC Dornsife College’s Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute and an expert in chemical analysis, safety, education, science outreach and clean tech.
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“The Trump administration’s revocation of California’s ability to enforce tighter emissions standards amounts to telling the American people that the public’s health is less important than the corporate bank account.
“Californians and all Americans are breathing easier due to the progressive and forceful approach the California Air Resources Board has taken on air emissions regulations. The health benefits of these approaches have been documented in numerous recently published scientific studies.”
Ed Avol is a professor of clinical preventive medicine and chief of the Division of Environmental Health at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. He’s an expert on respiratory health, smog and health effects due to vehicle traffic, and was deputy director of the USC Children’s Health Study, one of the largest studies of the long-term effects of air pollution on the respiratory health of children.
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“How do we know that Donald Trump’s re-election bid is in trouble? The president is throwing bedrock conservative ideals overboard in his effort to market messages of grievance to his supporters. The campaign is signaling that states’ rights and local control are merely quaint notions that fly in the face of ‘giving back as good as you get.’
“Good policy is not made by overriding processes which allow for public consensus and deliberate decision making. Telling California to stop environmental innovation, or reversing consensus agreements about clean air and water in Michigan and elsewhere is akin to the schoolyard bully’s intent to suppress anyone who’s different.”
Dora Kingsley Vertenten is a professor at the USC Price School of Public Policy. She’s an expert in public policy, intergovernmental management, social media and information technologies useful in collaborative and participatory democracy.
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