Coal Plan Is Likely California’s Next Battleground Versus Trump

(Bloomberg) -- California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said the state may sue the Trump administration over a plan released Tuesday to weaken carbon dioxide emission limits on power plants.

Coal Plan Is Likely California’s Next Battleground Versus Trump

Becerra said the state will provide formal comments to the regulatory proposal but acknowledged that eventually, “it likely means we’re suing,” signaling another front in the state’s opposition to administration policies. California has already filed 41 legal challenges to Trump administration actions.

“We’re going to to continue to do what we need to do, and that could include suing the Trump administration yet again on trying to backslide on a very important protection,” Becerra said in a meeting with reporters and editors at Bloomberg News headquarters in New York City. “We don’t believe that they’ve followed the law and have the facts lined up to support what they’re trying to do.”

The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday unveiled its plan to weaken carbon dioxide limits on coal-fired power plants by shifting most of the regulatory burden to states.

Becerra said the EPA’s “Affordable Clean Energy” proposal is another example of how the Trump administration is trying to unwind policies valued by Californians on several fronts, from the environment to immigration and consumer protections.

He also cited the EPA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s proposal to weaken automobile efficiency requirements and revoke California’s authority to set tailpipe greenhouse gas standards that are tougher than federal limits. The agencies defended the changes in part by saying it would save 1,000 lives per year by making it cheaper for people to replace older, less-safe cars.

The plan would freeze fuel efficiency requirements for autos at 37 miles per gallon in 2020 instead of rising to 47 mpg by 2025 under current rules enacted during the Obama administration.

“Any time that a government tries to fly in the face of what it did itself, it’s got a very high standard to meet,” he said. “We think there was predictability established several years ago when we came up with these national standards. It’s the Trump administration that’s trying to break that, and that’s where I think the two words that we keep raising in most of our court filings against this administration just reverberate: arbitrary and capricious.”

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