One Just Thing: Fiat Chrysler To Pay $800M

Late last week, auto giant Fiat Chrysler agreed to pay out $800M to settle an enforcement action with the U.S. government and private lawsuits with car owners, after admitting that they installed emissions test-cheating devices on diesel Jeeps and trucks resulting in an additional 35,000 tons of pollution The company is also required to recall and repair the more than 104,000 out-of-compliance Jeep SUVs and Ram pickup trucks.  Vehicle owners who are part of the private lawsuit (who bought their vehicles between 2014-2016) will get payouts of about $2,800 per owner.  The AP reported that when “asked about the message the settlement would send, acting Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler responded: ‘Don’t cheat.’”  Hmmm.  Someone at the hearing should ask him about whether he is “cheating” by having EPA staff help him prepare for his confirmation hearing while the government is shut down.

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Even As Air Pollution Drops, Communities of Color in the U.S. Still Breathe Dirtier Air

Even As Air Pollution Drops, Communities of Color in the U.S. Still Breathe Dirtier Air

Although absolute disparities in terms of exposure to air pollution have fallen, relative disparities remain a new study published this week in Science showed. What they found, in the words of Emily Holden in The Guardian, was that “wealthy white Americans are still getting to breathe cleaner air than lower-income communities of color, despite significant nationwide reductions in pollution since the 1980s.”

Why This Matters: We see time and time again how intimately intertwined environmental justice is with racial justice. It is not enough that the absolute disparity of air pollution has fallen.

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EPA IG Investigating Trump Team’s Clean Car Rule Replacement

EPA IG Investigating Trump Team’s Clean Car Rule Replacement

The internal watchdog (Inspector General or IG) of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced they had opened an investigation into the Safer Affordable Fuel Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles rule, Coral Davenport and Lisa Friedman reported in the New York Times last week.

Why This Matters: As Vickie Patton, general counsel for the Environmental Defense Fund, told the NYT, “this is really serious…It’s rare for E.P.A.’s inspector general to conduct an investigation of the agency’s rule-making.”

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Federal Judge Dismisses Trump Administration Lawsuit Over CA-Canada Cap and Trade

Federal Judge Dismisses Trump Administration Lawsuit Over CA-Canada Cap and Trade

A federal judge on Friday dismissed a challenge brought by the Trump administration against a greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program that creates a market for emissions credits between the state of California and the Canadian province of Quebec.

Why This Matters: The Trump administration challenged the program because it argued California had no authority to deal directly with the government of another nation — that its program usurps the federal government’s primacy in foreign affairs.

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