No word yet if California is going to build a wall

By Sandi Soendker, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

A rousing conflict is brewing between the Trump administration and California. The president’s executive order for a less-restrictive Environmental Protection Agency puts the White House at odds with the unyielding California Air Resources Board.

As a bit of background, just days after Trump was elected, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers lobbied to roll back emission mandates, asking him to lead “efforts with EPA, NHTSA, CARB and automakers on finding a pathway forward.” In a letter to the White House, the alliance wrote that reform is imperative and that “we live at a moment where technology and change are swamping the regulatory capacity to manage our emerging reality.”

This appeal seems to have had an impact. In mid-March, Trump met with automakers in Detroit, and announced he would “work on the CAFE standards” so cars “can be made in America again.” A week later, the White House announced executive orders and a presidential memorandum that rescinds the climate change guidance of the Obama administration.

The White House recently announced even more program slashes. According to a senior administration official, the president is “not going to pursue climate or environmental policies that put the U.S. economy at risk.”

No word yet on how “EPA Lite” will affect heavy trucks.

Meanwhile, the environmental battlers on our nation’s West Coast are livid at the executive order that clashes with their long crusade for clean air. In California, Mary Nichols – head of the California Air Resources Board – is staying the course. Nichols, self described on Twitter as Queen of Green, and Gov. Jerry Brown swear they will not back off the state’s strict emission rules. For more than four decades, California has operated under an EPA waiver that allows the state to set tougher rules than the fed – that waiver secured by then-Gov. Reagan.

We head into summer hearing a lot of fuming, speculation and saber-rattling.

And no word yet if California is going to build a wall. LL