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Photo: Ali Balikci/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Royal Dutch Shell is jumping into the high-stakes fight over auto regulations.

What they're saying: According to some newly available comments filed with regulators, the oil giant says U.S. policy should be "consistent with the aim of the Paris Agreement." Shell "does not support" the administration's proposal to weaken federal mileage and carbon emissions rules by freezing them in 2020 rather than letting them become increasingly stringent.

  • Shell's comments push back against the EPA plan to revoke California's power to impose emissions standards that are tougher than the federal rules, calling it a "step in the wrong direction."
  • California has a special authority under the Clean Air Act to set separate tailpipe standards that roughly a dozen other states also follow.

Where it stands: California is fighting to keep its power to maintain tougher rules even if the federal standards are rolled back. But automakers fear that would create a messy patchwork and want California and the EPA to strike a deal that preserves a single nationwide set of rules.

The intrigue: The oil giant's views signal how the Trump administration's dismantling of Obama-era climate rules puts the White House to the right of even some big fossil fuel companies.

  • However, Shell's climate message is absent from more detailed comments filed by the American Petroleum Institute, the powerful oil-and-gas lobbying group.

The big picture: The fight over Obama-era auto rules — a pillar of the former president's climate policy — is pretty messy.

  • While big automakers say they don't support freezing the standards in place, they have lobbied for some kind of relaxation of the Obama mandates, calling them too stringent.
  • Shell, for its part, doesn't weigh in what the standards should be, but instead simply agrees with the auto lobby that they should not be frozen.

Go deeper

Trump threatens to veto Defense spending bill over social media shield

Photo: Erin Schaff - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted Tuesday a threat to veto a must-pass end-of-year $740 billion bill defense-spending authorization bill unless Congress repeals a federal law that protects social media sites from legal liability.

Why it matters: Trump's attempt to get Congress to end the tech industry protections under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is the latest escalation in his war on tech giants over what he and some other Republicans perceive as bias against conservatives.

The walls close in on Trump

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

With Bill Barr's "Et tu, Brute!" interview with AP, President Trump is watching the walls close in on his claims of fraud, hoaxes and conspiracies.

Why it matters: Trump and his legal team continue to claim election fraud. But the Republican governors of Arizona and Georgia have certified their elections, a loyalist like Barr has weighed in, and lower-ranking officials have taken potshots.

Congress plots COVID pandemic-era office upgrades

oving crates outside Rep. Elise Stefanik's old office Tuesday. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The House plans to renovate members' suites even though staff are worried about an influx of contractors and D.C. is tightening restrictions on large gatherings, some staffers told Axios.

Why it matters: The Capitol has been closed to public tours since March. Work over the holiday season comes as U.S. coronavirus cases spike, Americans beg for more pandemic assistance and food lines grow.

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