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Photo: Scott Olson / Getty Images

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday a long-expected decision to begin scaling back mileage and carbon emissions rules for cars and light trucks.

Why it matters: The regulations were a pillar of President Obama's climate change agenda. The move may also set up a major battle with California, which currently has authority to maintain tougher mileage rules, and roughly a dozen states that follow California's lead.

Details: The Obama-era rules for model years 2022-2025 would have required a fleet-wide average of over 50 miles per gallon (though it comes out to roughly 36 mpg under real-world conditions).

What they're doing: EPA, in announcing the move, said Administrator Scott Pruitt had determined that "in light of recent data, the current standards are not appropriate and should be revised."

  • The Obama administration "made assumptions about the standards that didn’t comport with reality, and set the standards too high," Pruitt said in a statement.
  • What's next: The EPA and the Transportation Department, which jointly set federal rules, will begin a rule-making process to set "more appropriate" standards, the EPA said. California's waiver to set tougher standards under the Clean Air Act is also being "reexamined."

What they're saying: The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a trade and lobbying group that represents GM, Ford and several other car companies, applauded the move.

  • "We appreciate that the Administration is working to find a way to both increase fuel economy standards and keep new vehicles affordable to more Americans," said spokeswoman. Gloria Bergquist.
  • But environmentalists attacked the decision: “We should be racing toward a cleaner, healthier transportation future. Instead, the Trump administration is steering us onto a dead end road," said Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp.

Go deeper: Bloomberg breaks down the announcement here.

Go deeper

10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves to be removed after fires

A firefighter looks up at a giant sequoia tree after fire burned through the Sequoia National Forest near California Hot Springs, California, on Sept. 23. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

"Upwards of" 10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves have been "weakened by drought, disease, age, and/or fire" and must be removed in the wake of California's wildfires, the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks announced.

Why it matters: The damage to these trees, considered "national treasures," and work to remove them means a nearby key highway must remain closed to visitors as they have "the potential to strike people, cars, other structures, or create barriers to emergency response services," per a statement from the national parks.

Obama stumps for McAuliffe, urges Virginians not "to go back to the chaos"

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama framed a Nov. 2 gubernatorial race as a bellwether for the Democratic Party and the country, telling a crowd at a campaign event for Terry McAuliffe on Saturday that "I believe you, right here in Virginia, are going to show the rest of the country and the world that we're not going to indulge in our worst instincts."

Why it matters: With just over a week to go before Election Day in the Commonwealth, McAuliffe is bringing out the big guns. The 44th president appeared on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University to urge supporters to get to the polls.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Axios AM Deep Dive: America’s murder surge

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

Homicides rose at the fastest rate in at least six decades last year. This Axios AM Deep Dive, led by Future correspondent Bryan Walsh, looks at the state of gun crime.

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