President Donald Trump announced that his administration will revoke California's longstanding power to limit auto emissions, a move critics say will create less efficient cars and contribute to global warming. He insisted that new cars would be cleaner, even as they burn more gasoline than they would have under Obama-era fuel efficiency standards he wants to replace.
While the rollback was part of Trump's broader plan to roll back the Obama-era standards, the Times noted that gutting California's ability to set its own standards may be part of a strategy to force the automakers siding with the state into line.
Since Trump's 2016 election, California state officials have filed dozens of lawsuits over the administration's actions on a host of issues from immigration and healthcare to the environment.
Kamala Harris, D-Calif., said she would re-introduce a 2018 Senate resolution asserting the state's authority to set its own standards, saying Trump's decision was not based "in scientific fact".
Washington state will join in the legal challenge to the Trump administration's upcoming move to block states from setting tougher vehicle-emission standards.
Now, Californians may be forced to breathe dirtier air and people in other states may end up with a more restricted range of vehicles.
Thirteen other states and the District of Columbia have already adopted California's stricter exhaust pipe greenhouse gas standards - together representing about a third of the USA auto market.
The administration argues that lower-cost vehicles would allow more people to buy new ones that are safer, cutting roadway deaths by 12,700 lives through the 2029 model year.
That same month, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said it would end rules limiting carbon emissions on new coal plants, soon after the president dismissed a report by his own government warning of future devastating economic consequences to the United States from climate change.
Newsom further says that in the unlikely event California does not prevail, no tighter standards could not be established, but they would simply revert to the strict standards already adopted by the Obama Administration.
But Sacramento has pushed back that, while cars will become more expensive, consumers will actually save money because they will be spending less on gasoline.
In a morning flurry of tweets, Trump confirmed he will revoke California's authority to require car-makers to build cleaner vehicles than federal requirements demand.
"Your letter seeks federal dollars for California from hardworking American taxpayers but fails to admit that your State and local policies have played a major role in the current crisis", he said.
The auto emissions battle is just one front in a widening battle between the Trump administration and California's Democratic administration.
But House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., one of seven Republicans in the state's 53-member U.S. House delegation, said he agreed that it does not make sense to have a separate California and federal standard for tailpipe emissions.
The Canadian government said Wednesday that it intends to continue collaborating with California on vehicle emissions regulations. But fuel economy has been one of the key regulatory tools the state has used to reduce harmful emissions.
Wheeler on Tuesday said California's ability to address smog and other forms of air pollution caused by motor vehicles would not be affected. The consequences have been great for everyone in that not only have we been able to keep California cleaner when it comes to our air, but the rest of the nation has also benefited with cleaner cars, cleaner air and the kind of economy and health care system that allows us to let our people live longer.