California vows to fight Trump administration for clean air
"While the White House is abdicating its responsibility to the rest of the world on cutting emissions and fighting global warming, California is stepping up," said Governor Newsom.
The political fallout was instantaneous.
A scientific study published last year in America's leading medical publication, the Journal of the American Medical Association, predicted that Trump's roll-back of environmental protections were likely to "cost the lives of over 500,000 U.S. residents per decade and lead to respiratory problems for many more than 1 million people."
LOS ANGELES, Sept. 19 (Xinhua) -- On a fundraising stump through California on Wednesday, U.S. President Donald Trump escalated his contentious relationship with the Golden State by authorizing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to revoke California's waiver that allows it to establish its own safer standards for clean air and water.
California Air Resources Board, California's clean air agency, was formed in 1967 to be responsible for researching and establishing the state's vehicle emissions standards, attaining and maintaining healthy air quality; protecting the public from exposure to toxic air contaminants; and providing innovative and affordable approaches for complying with air pollution rules and regulations.
He was more optimistic about a win for California in the courts, noting "it is a fact that the environmental argument, the public health argument and most of the business arguments are on our side."
by Julia Pierrepont III
"As President Trump arrives in California to rake in campaign cash, his Administration is preparing to announce his desperate plan to rob our state of its long-standing authority to set vehicle emissions standards," warned Becerra. "To those who claim to support states' rights -- don't trample on ours."
A recent survey by the Public Policy Institute of California on Californians and the Environment showed that a whopping 72 percent of California adults and likely voters favor the new state law mandating reductions in greenhouse gases.
"The Trump Administration is revoking California's Federal Waiver on emissions in order to produce far less expensive cars for the consumer," Trump said in a tweet on Wednesday.
For Dan Jacobson, director of the Environment California Research and Policy Center, the outlook was grim. He told Xinhua that the roll-back will mean, "More kids with asthma, more premature deaths caused by air pollution, and more global warming ..."
Becerra added: "We can't afford to backslide to the days of dirty air and unregulated emissions. For us, this is about survival. When you endanger our people, our economy, or our planet, we rise with the full force of the law behind us."
California Governor Gavin Newsom characterized Trump's latest decree-by-tweet as a "political vendetta" against California and deplored his attempt to threaten the health of Americans everywhere and interfere with California's right to protect their residents with safer air and water standards.
Newsom, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, and California Air Resources Board (CARB) Chair Mary Nichols and other civic leaders have vowed to fight this destructive move, contending that California's clean air and water standards are essential to protecting the health and safety of millions of Californians and addressing the escalating climate crisis.
Under the federal Clean Air Act, California is the only state permitted to set their own emissions standards, subject to a waiver from the EPA. Other states may elect to follow California's stricter standards or the less stringent federal standards, but may not set their own. To date, thirteen U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and the province of Quebec in Canada have chosen to adopt CARB standards.
"Shame on the Trump Administration for putting the health of millions of its citizens at risk for absolutely no reason," she admonished.
The governor said in a statement that Trump's move "could have devastating consequences for our kids' health and the air we breathe, if California were to roll over. But we will not."
"For the first time in its 500-year history, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is trying to stop states from taking reasonable actions to cut smog," said CARB Chairperson, Mary D. Nichols.
Historically, smog has been a uniquely challenging problem in California cities due to the state's unusual combination of geography, weather systems, automotive culture, and dense population growth. As far back as 1943, residents of Los Angeles and San Francisco experienced episodes of smog that caused burning lungs, nausea, and eyes ailments and forced many residents to wear masks to protect them from the toxic air.