White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Thursday ripped news reports the Trump administration was moving to reverse Obama-era fuel and emissions standards after two agencies proposed setting new limits for 2020.
“The reporting that we’re reversing Obama-era fuel efficiency standards in pre-empting the tougher California standards is simply false,” Sanders said at the White House briefing.
“What the EPA released was a proposed rule, not a final rule.”
The Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposed Thursday to cap fuel economy requirements at a fleet average of 37 miles per gallon starting in 2020.
Under restrictions passed by the Obama administration, the fleet-wide fuel economy would have risen gradually to about 47 mpg by 2025.
The agencies also proposed to revoke California’s authority under the Clean Air Act that had allowed the state to set more stringent rules than federal ones limiting tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions as well as an electric-vehicle sales mandate.
Taken together, the proposal is an aggressive move to dismantle what some environmentalists have praised as one of strongest efforts worldwide to combat climate change.
The plan’s release begins a 60-day public comment period.
“The notice asked for comments on the range of options,” Sanders told reporters. “We’re simply opening it up for a comment period — and we’ll make a final decision at the end of that.”
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