Friday, 26 February, 2021


Nearly 1,200 premature deaths in Ireland from poor air quality every year

California smog Getty Images
Kristine Garrett | 26 September, 2019, 11:43

Last Wednesday, the administration announced that it plans to revoke the waiver permitting California to set its own fuel efficiency standards above and beyond those enforced at the federal level, even after 17 automakers laid out their concerns that a federal challenge of the California rules wouldn't be in their interest.

The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday threatened to withhold billions from California's highway funds over the state's purported failure to tackle air pollution.

The EPA should grant California a grace period to update and finalize its plans to improve air quality, instead of making it harder for state officials to make environmentally beneficial infrastructure upgrades, Christianson said.

"California has the worst air quality in the United States", Wheeler wrote, adding that many of those 130 plans "are inactive and appear to have fundamental issues" that would prevent them from getting approved.

Wheeler sent a letter to California's top air official on Tuesday saying the state's plans to improve air quality were insufficient and they could lose federal funds if they don't withdraw the old plans and submit new ones that correct the problems. Last week the administration said it will revoke a waiver that allows California to set stricter vehicle emission standards.

"Just as the Trump administration is taking yet another political pot shot at California, it's also trying to undercut the zero-emission vehicle program there, which is one crucial way the state is trying to cut down on soot and smog", David Pettit, a senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a statement.

California was approved to receive more than $19 billion in federal highway grants between 2016 and 2020, according to the Federal Highway Administration, but the administration can not withhold money from grants to improve safety problems or prevent accidents under the Clean Air Act. But no state has more problems than California, where 85% of the population - 34 million people - breathe dirty air.

Last week, The Trump administration formally revoked California's authority to set its own automobile emission standards. According to the Department of Transportation California is projected to receive more than $19 billion from the Federal Highway Administration between fiscal years 2016 and 2020.

EPA's move is the latest in a string of attacks on the Golden State over its efforts to reduce air pollution and combat climate change.

"I don't know what the hell happened to this country that we have the president that we do today, on this issue", Newsom said Monday morning.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, said the "threat to withhold California's highway funding over clean air quality reports is the height of hypocrisy".

In North Carolina, Gov. Roy Cooper's administration is considering a clean energy plan that includes strategies for increasing registered electric vehicles in the state to 80,000 by 2025, The News & Observer has reported.

The move is the latest battle the Trump administration has picked with California over its environmental policies.

California's independent streak on regulation began in 1947, when Los Angeles became the first city in the country to implement local air pollution regulators.

The White House didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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