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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

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
2 hours ago - Health

Falling sperm counts could threaten the human race

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A new book makes the case that sperm counts have been falling for decades — and a major reason is chemicals in the environment that disrupt the body's hormonal system.

Why it matters: The ability to reproduce is fundamental to the viable future of any living thing. If certain chemicals are damaging our fertility over the long term, human beings could end up as an endangered species.

4 hours ago - Health

Black churches become vaccine hubs

A woman arrives at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic outside the Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church in southeast D.C. Photo: Jacquelyn Martin/AP

Black pastors have a new job on their plates during COVID-19: encouraging skeptical congregants to get vaccinated.

Why it matters: “There’s distrust in our community. We can’t ignore that,” Rev. James Coleman of D.C.'s All Nations Baptist told AP.

Biden names USPS board of governors nominees, as Democrats put pressure on DeJoy

United States Postal Service Postmaster General Louis DeJoy at a Feb. 24 committee hearing. Photo: Graeme Jennings/pool/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden on Wednesday nominated a former postal union lawyer, a vote-by-mail advocate, and a former deputy postmaster general to sit on the Postal Services' Board of Governors.

Why it matters: The nominations, which require Senate confirmation, come as some Democrats call for Postmaster General Louis DeJoy's ouster and others push for Biden to nominate board members to name a new postmaster general.

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