Today Trump makes it official: he's reopening tough Obama-era vehicle-mileage and tailpipe carbon-emissions rules for model years 2022-2025 for more review and, very possibly, a rollback.
Why it matters: the rules for cars and light trucks are a pillar of Obama's climate and energy policy.
- EPA estimated that the standards for those years would cut oil consumption by 1.2 billion barrels and save consumers an average of $1,650.
- But big automakers, citing federal estimates that complying with standards would cost billions of dollars, argued the rules will hurt jobs and are way out of step with consumer preferences.
What's next: A senior White House official told reporters Tuesday evening that Trump's Detroit-area visit with auto executives and workers will include the announcement that he's withdrawing a January 12 EPA decision that locked in standards. Obama's EPA concluded just before he left office that the standards could be met at "reasonable cost" through a "number of different technological pathways."
The White House was careful to say that it's not prejudging the outcome of what's expected to be a year-long analysis, claiming instead that it wants to do a more careful version of a process critics said Obama's EPA rushed through without enough analysis.
But all that said: the White House dropped more hints that it's very sympathetic to the industry view that EPA's January findings were riddled with problems. The official vowed to arrive at rules that are "technologically feasible, economically feasible." Environmentalists are bracing for an effort to water down the standards that currently set a fleetwide average of 54.5 miles per gallon in 2025.
The White House confirmed that EPA isn't, for now, seeking to end the Clean Air Act waiver that gives California—and by extension over a dozen other states—leeway to maintain the tough Obama-era rules. But California is bracing for a fight and the state has tapped Obama's former attorney general Eric Holder to help its defense.
Who, what, where: The Detroit News has a good rundown of the auto executives and others taking part in Trump's events in Michigan today.