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EPA will allow California to set stricter emission standards for cars, SUVs

By
Don Johnson
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg (R) and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan talk before a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing in Washington D.C., on Tuesday. Photo by by Oliver Contreras/UPI
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg (R) and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan talk before a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing in Washington D.C., on Tuesday. Photo by by Oliver Contreras/UPI | License Photo

April 26 (UPI) -- The Environmental Protection Agency will grant California permission to set stricter tailpipe emission standards for cars and SUVs, the agency announced Monday.

The move is a reversal of a Trump administration policy and follows a Transportation Department decision to withdraw restrictions of state tailpipe emission rules that were also implemented by the previous administration.

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The proposal could result in a broader emissions deal between California and automakers. The EPA has set June 2 for a virtual public hearing on the proposal.

The EPA on Monday posted a notice seeking public input "for the purposes of rescinding the action taken by the prior administration." EPA administrator Michael Regan said he endorses California's ability to set its own standards.

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"I am a firm believer in California's longstanding statutory authority to lead. The 2019 decision to revoke the state's waiver to enforce its greenhouse gas pollution standards for cars and trucks was legally dubious and an attack on the public's health and well-being," Regan said in a statement.

Thirteen states and the District of Columbia have similar tailpipe emission standards as California.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg proposed last week the withdrawal of his department's rule blocking states from setting their own tailpipe standards, another reversal of a Trump administration decision.

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Both agency actions will give states more leverage in discussions with automakers on greenhouse gas emission standards for new passenger vehicles.

President Joe Biden announced at a global climate summit last week that the United States will take steps to cut carbon emissions in half by the end of the decade.

Biden is seeking to reassert the United States as a world leader in efforts to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

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Biden said the United States would seek a reduction of between 50% and 52% in net greenhouse gas pollution by 2030, compared to 2005 levels.

The president said the United States would meet net zero emissions economy-wide by 2050.

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U.S. President Joe Biden opens the virtual Leaders Summit on Climate in the East Room of the White House in Washington D.C., on Thursday. Pool Photo by Al Drago/UPI | License Photo

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