Government bid to revoke CA waiver violates rights

For the past few years, there have been efforts to stop global warming, especially in liberal states like California. On the other hand, much of the Trump Administration does not believe in global warming and instead chooses to focus on repealing legislature that protects the air quality and reduces pollution in favor of financial gain for large companies. 

The administration’s most recent actions regarding the revocation of California’s right to create stricter environmental guidelines than those of the federal government follow this pattern of behavior. It sets a dangerous precedent for the federal government to create laws that contradict state rules no matter how ill-suited to the public’s wishes the legislation is.

During Barack Obama’s presidency, California was granted a waiver from the Environmental Protection Agency that allowed the state to set its own standards for tailpipe emissions. The standards created were stricter than the federal regulations, but despite that—or possibly because of it—13 states followed California’s rather than Washington.

The federal government is trying to revoke this waiver for several reasons, some proclaimed and others implied. For one, it says that the power to determine the emissions standards in 14 states is too much power for one state to have, but it is the other states’ choice to whether or not to follow them; they aren’t legally obligated to follow suit. For the government to use this as a reason to revoke the waiver is a violation of the state’s right to set its own standards.

The implied reasoning for this repeal is to create cheaper cars, which is ironic considering the fact that the money invested into stricter tailpipe guidelines would go straight back to the economy in the form of jobs. Instead of helping Americans as intended, revoking the waiver would actually hurt them. California and 22 other states have pitted themselves in a legal battle against the government’s revocation, and lawmakers around the nation say that the 23 of them are likely to win, even given the lack of a legal precedent.

Additionally, the state has been working alongside automakers, including Ford, Honda, Volkswagen and BMW, to set goals for gas mileage that are far more progressive than the government’s: 50+ MPG by 2025 against 37 MPG by 2026. The administration even went so far as to propose that the four automakers freeze its fleet averages at 37 MPG, which may help keep vehicle prices lower while maintaining the gasoline market for oil companies, the latter theory being one common thread among the administration’s actions.

The other instance of the government doing Big Oil’s bidding happened earlier this year, once again between California and the federal government, in which the Trump Administration intended to open up over 1 million acres of land, primarily near national parks, for fracking and oil drilling. California blocked the plan, but its creation reveals the administration’s true intentions, which are to open the nation up to large oil companies both in land and market despite the predicted negative environmental impacts, including increased pollution, and the will of the people, who are against the drilling.

If the administration gains what they are after, though, a legal precedent will be set for the federal government to overrule states’ privileges and revoke all sorts of waivers, something that could give them power bordering on infringing states’ rights. Despite all of this, it is clear that the Trump Administration is wasting its breath on a futile fight against not only California, but also the environment and its supporters.