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Tensions Rise Ahead of EPA Emissions-Rule Public Hearings

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Things are getting tense in the discussion of the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed emissions-rule rollback. The EPA is holding public hearings this week. Ahead of these, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy and state attorneys general from California and Maryland publicly reiterated that they are against the proposed emissions rule change, and spoiling for a fight about it.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said, “We’re not interested in taking a punch. We want to counter-punch.”

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The hearings

The hearings start today for public comment on the proposed plan to roll back already-established fuel economy standards. Alternatively, the EPA proposes a freeze of regulations at 2020 levels while revoking California’s ability to make its own emissions rules. The hearings will go until Wednesday.

The officials were particularly critical of the hearings’ duration, with Malloy accusing EPA officials of rushing through public hearings. Further, the three officials said that the public comment period was far too short. Federal regulators rejected a request to extend the comment period last week.

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Rising combativeness

The three officials’ comments underline a deepening divide between the federal EPA and states that follow California’s lead in fuel economy and emissions regulation. Lawsuits against the rule rollback have already begun.

Legal and political battles over these issues will likely be long and bitter. On one side, the Trump administration argues that lighter, more efficient vehicles are less safe on the road. On the other, critics say the EPA’s own studies contradict the proposal, and that the EPA didn’t base the study on science.

News Source: Green Car Reports