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Why This Matters: The Trump Administration has now gone on offense to stop the car companies and California from continuing to work toward cleaner cars even after the administration rolled back the federal clean car rule put in place by the Obama Administration earlier this year. Since the Clean Air Act specifically and unequivocally allows the state of California to enact stricter tailpipe standards because of its historic problems with smog caused by cars, this investigation seems like a witch hunt to us.
Why Does California Get To Set Its Own Tailpipe Standards?
“[W]hen the Clean Air Act was passed, California was already developing innovative laws and standards to address its unique air pollution problems.”
Congress made a special exemption for Californa — as long as its standards protect public health and welfare at least as much as federal law, and if they are necessary “to meet compelling and extraordinary conditions,” the law requires the EPA to grant California a waiver so it can continue to apply its own regulations.
“California has received numerous waivers as it has worked to reduce vehicle emissions by enacting ever more stringent standards since the 1960s.”
“Other states can’t set their own standards, but they can opt to follow California’s motor vehicle emission regulations.”
As the Biden administration is readying a reversal of the Trump policies loosening rules on auto emissions, many states have started tightening their laws to align with the California clean car standards. Case in point: the Virginia legislature last week passed a law that toughened its emissions standards.
Gas flaring was responsible for Texas’s recent increase in oil refinery pollution, but it’s hardly a new problem. We’re less than a decade away from the UN’s goal of Zero Routine Flaring by 2030, but refineries still flare 150 billion cubic meters of natural gas each year, releasing 400 million tons of greenhouse gasses and other pollutants into the atmosphere.
Why This Matters: Companies have historically practiced gas flaring as a convenient and inexpensive way to “dispose of ” gas that was extracted alongside oil, as opposed to storing paying to store it.
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