Trump 'backs' EPA chief Scott Pruitt amid ethics scrutiny

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Lawmakers in California and states that follow its standard have threatened to sue if the EPA revokes the waiver allowing those states to set higher emissions and fuel economy standards.

Several other countries have modeled their vehicle standards after those in the United States, so a rollback by the Environmental Protection Agency could potentially affect standards across the globe.

Former President Barack Obama's EPA "made assumptions about the standards that didn't comport with reality, and set the standards too high", Pruitt said in a statement.

The review of the emission standards could also spell trouble for California, which has a waiver under CAFE standards to enforce much tougher emission standards than other USA states, skewing the carpool towards those vehicles at the cutting edge of fuel-saving technologies.

So Pruitt and his team at the EPA found and used a provision in the Safe Drinking Water Act that allows the agency's administrator to hire up to 30 people without White House or congressional approval, the Atlantic reported.

McCarthy said that the standards set during the Obama era were based on extensive negotiations with states and the federal government, as well as with the auto industry. "EPA will set a national standard for greenhouse gas emissions", Pruitt said.

Some auto makers have complained that the standard is unreasonable and potentially costly, though they are also concerned about having two USA vehicle markets - one for California and the 12 other states that have tougher emission rules, and one for the rest of the country.

U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, D-N.Y., said Pruitt's call for a review of fuel and emissions standards could take the $1,650 in savings over the life of a vehicle out of the pockets of American taxpayers.

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Since then, the auto industry and other stakeholders have sought a reinstatement of the original Midterm Evaluation timeline, so that the agency could review the latest information.

A spokesman for Hart said that he did not lobby the EPA or Department of Energy in 2017 or 2018.

The EPA's decision had been expected for more than a year, following Trump's announcement that the agency would reconsider the Obama ruling.

While the auto industry straddles the transition to cleaner cars, it'll likely face yet another fight from California, which has been prodding the industry for years. The standard calls for all new vehicles sold in the meet a fleet average of 50 miles per gallon by 2025, up from the current 35 mpg.

There is no single more foolish way to stem global warming than by increasing vehicle fuel efficiency standards, which forces carmakers to increase miles per gallon in part by lightening cars.

There's also the issue of cost: Obama's EPA determined that vehicle buyers would save money over the life of their cars because they would need to purchase less fuel to operate the cars. In return for their rescue by US taxpayers, Detroit automakers agreed to slash greenhouse gas emissions from their cars and light trucks.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers members are: BMW Group, FCA US LLC, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz USA, Mitsubishi Motors, Porsche Cars North America, Toyota, Volkswagen Group of America, Volvo Car USA. Ford's top leaders, for instance, recently said they remained committed to carbon emission reductions consistent with those set under the Paris Climate Accord, even though Pruitt and Trump have announced the USA will withdraw from that agreement.

He said previous year he wanted to review the new emissions rules, so Monday's action had been expected.