Representative Chu: Trump’s War on Environmental Regulations Risks Californians’ Health

Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Trump Administration announced plans to roll back federal clean car standards and revoke California’s ability set its own emissions standards, an authority codified by the Clean Air Act. Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) released the following statement:

“This is an outrageous new attack in Trump’s war on California. Many Angelenos can remember when the smog in our area was so bad that we could not go outside. But that problem has been largely improved. That is because we enacted smart, proactive environmental measures, including limits on emissions from cars. But Trump is trying to change all of that, putting all Californians’ lives at risk.

“California’s successful approach to curbing pollution is needed even more today as we battle the effects of climate change. In the United States, transportation accounts for more carbon emissions than any other sector. In order to curb that, California has adopted some of the country’s strictest Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, which have encouraged innovation while improving our air quality here in California. That’s why the clean car standards that Trump wants to roll back are so important.

“Already, many states and other countries have followed California’s example in efficiency and environmental protections. I am confident that the courts will quickly reject this blatant overreach of this Administration.

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“I strongly support California’s leadership in America and globally when it comes to reducing our impact on the climate and will continue to fight for policies that protect our health and environment.”


California began introducing stricter environmental regulations in the 1960s, after researchers at the California Institute of Technology linked smog to vehicle emissions. In 1970, Congress passed the Clean Air Act, which included a special waiver authority for California to continue enforcing emissions standards independent from the federal government. Since then, California has continued to be a global leader in clean air standards, with 12 additional states and the District of Columbia choosing to adopt the state’s stricter standards. Every President since 1970 – Republican and Democrat – has granted California’s waiver requests.

Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards were first enacted through the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 as a response to the oil crisis. The standards requires car manufacturers to build more energy efficient vehicles that use less oil by setting an average fuel economy for all cars made by the company.