Andrew Wheeler. Photo: Alastair Pike/AFP/Getty Images

The Environmental Protection Agency has sent the California Air Resources Board a letter threatening to cut federal highway funding because of air pollution issues — claiming that the state has the "worst air quality" in the U.S.

Why it matters: The letter, first reported by the Sacramento Bee, from EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler declaring that California has failed to "carry out its most basic tasks under the Clean Air Act" marks the latest in a series of battles between the Trump administration and the liberal state.

  • The New York Times notes that while California upset Trump by introducing strict standards aimed at tackling climate change pollution from vehicles as the president tried to implement green policy rollbacks, "Wheeler’s new letter to the state offers a twist on the narrative."

Driving the news: Trump warned while visiting California last week that the EPA would revoke its waiver under the Clean Air Act that enables the state to set CO2 emissions rules that exceed federal standards.

  • California and 23 other states are suing the Trump administration for plans to revoke the state's authority to set stricter tailpipe emissions rules than the rest of the U.S.
  • A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction last Thursday blocking a new California law requiring presidential candidates to release their tax returns in order to appear on the primary ballot — something the president has steadfastly refused to do.
  • Trump threatened San Francisco last Wednesday that the EPA would issue a notice to the city declaring that it has committed environmental violations because of its homeless crisis.
  • The president said he's considering an "individual task force" to tackle the issue of homelessness in California.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

43 mins ago - Health

SPACs are the new IPOs

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Churchill Capital Corp. III has agreed to acquire health-cost management services provider Multiplan at an initial enterprise value of $11 billion, as such deals continue to proliferate as alternatives to IPOs.

Why it matters: This is the largest special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) merger, and also includes the largest private investment in public equity (PIPE) associated with a SPAC. Existing Multiplan owners like Hellman & Friedman and General Atlantic will roll over more than 75% of their collective stake, and own over 60% of the public company.

Washington Redskins will change team name

Photo: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

The Washington Redskins announced Monday that the NFL team plans to change its name.

Why it matters: It brings an end to decades of debate around the name — considered by many to be racist toward Native Americans. The change was jumpstarted by nationwide protests against systemic racism in the U.S. this summer.

3 hours ago - Health

Houston public health system CEO says coronavirus situation is "dire"

Houston's coronavirus situation is "dire, and it's getting worse, seems like, every day," Harris Health System CEO and President Dr. Esmail Porsa said Monday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

The big picture: Porsa said the region is seeing numbers related to the spread of the virus that are "disproportionately higher than anything we have experienced in the past." He noted that Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital's ICU is at 113% capacity, and 75% of its beds are coronavirus patients.