California struck a secret deal with automakers to thwart Trump’s attempt to reduce fuel-efficiency standards

States' rights in action.

via Corey Thompson / Flickr

One of the United States' greatest weapons against tyranny are states rights.

While they've typically been championed by conservatives who don't want to abide by federal dictates, the left-leaning state of California has been using its rights to push back against Trump's harmful environmental policies.

While the Trump Administration has been rolling back federal climate regulations, the state of California has created its own aiming to get 100% of the state's electricity from renewable sources by mid-century.

"What we're seeing is a tale of two climate nations," said Barry Rabe, a professor of public policy at the University of Michigan, told the New York Times. "The split has become much more pronounced in recent years."


The most populated state in the nation struck another blow to Trump's environmental policies by signing a deal with four major auto companies to reduce their emissions.

During the Obama Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency set new car emissions standards where auto manufacturers would have to raise their fleet average to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.

The Trump Administration has announced that it intends to roll back the Obama-era standard to about 37 miles per gallon. It has justified the decision by saying that the dirtier cars will be safer.

Calironia Governor Gavin Newsomvia JD Lasica / Flickr

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"The Trump administration is hell bent on rolling [emissions standards] back. They are in complete denial about climate change," California Governor Gavin Newsom told reporters. "I don't know if they're sincere about that, but for whatever reason, politically, they think it's advantageous."

"The standards the Trump administration is trying to roll back are the biggest single step that any nation has taken to tackle global warming," Dan Becker, director of the Safe Climate Campaign at the Center for Auto Safety, told NPR.

"They would save six billion tons of carbon dioxide, if not weakened. So this is an enormous threat to the planet if the president's rollback goes forward," he added.

The state of California, with its nearly 40 million residents, million holds considerable sway with auto manufacturers. So it secretly negotiated with Ford, Volkswagen, Honda, and BMW to reach a fleet average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, undermining Trump's planned rollbacks.

The four manufacturers represent about 30% of the total U.S. car market.

The Trump Administration is expected to challenge the state's ability to set its own fuel standards. But Califonia has vowed to fight the challenge all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.

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