Environment

“States’ Rights” Are Only For Republicans

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

We knew this was coming, but the Trump regime formally announced this morning that they will move to revoke California's authority to set their own fuel economy standards.

In usual Trumpian fashion, nothing Trump said about the decision makes any sense at all.

"The Trump Administration is revoking California's Federal Waiver on emissions in order to produce far less expensive cars for the consumer, while at the same time making the cars substantially SAFER," Trump tweeted.

He made the announcement while visiting California for fundraisers. He was in his hotel in Los Angeles when he sent the tweets.

"This will lead to more production because of this pricing and safety advantage, and also due to the fact that older, highly polluting cars, will be replaced by new, extremely environmentally friendly cars," he wrote in an additional tweet. "There will be very little difference in emissions between the California Standard and the new U.S. Standard, but the cars will be far safer and much less expensive."

Just to make sure we're all on the same page here -- revoking California's authority to set their own fuel economy standards means cars will be less safe and "highly polluting" cars will remain on the road for longer. Fewer "extremely environmentally friendly cars" will be produced, not more.

Up is down. Left is right. Etc.

In addition to claiming this will lower the cost of cars, Trump also claimed that this will lead to more jobs as automakers increase production.

Neither of those things are true or going to happen. Trump's trade war has already increased the cost of cars by more than higher environmental standards ever have. Trump's tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum, among other things, have cost automakers billions and nothing Trump has done or will do in the near future is going to prevent layoffs and plant closures. Trump has hastened their decline.

On the subject of states' rights -- it's been clear for a very long time that Republicans only believe in states' rights when they're the ones invoking it, but this really drives the point home.

It's possible that automakers will maintain the fuel economy standards they've agreed to with the state of California even if the Trump regime prevails in court. Lowering their standards now would be bad for business.

  • Draxiar

    Nevertheless she persisted.
    I would think it would be a bad investment for auto makers to decrease fuel economy. Not just because trump is a vindictive dipshit that changes his mind if he farts the wrong way but because the winds of change are upon us and that’s what people, especially young people (and ethical older people) right now, are looking for. Look, it’s only a matter of time before electric vehicles rule the roads so the sooner they’re in on the next thing the better. That’s not something that trump can change. Aside from all of that, California should simply ignore this edict.

  • Christopher Foxx

    … but this really drives the point home.

    I don’t understand why folks say things like that. The “We’ve seen this kind of thing before, but this latest example finally makes it clear that Republicans have no respect for law / are hypocrites / Trump is a racist / fill-in-the-blank.” declaration makes it sound like there’s some kind of finally coming to a realization. Of something that’s been suspected, maybe even strongly, but not really know for sure until just now, with this last example finally making things clear.

    The point has been driven home. A hundred times. This time is no greater an example than all the other times we’ve seen blatant GOP hypocrisy and lawbreaking over the years from the GOP. “Drives it home”? Rather “Yet another example.”

    • Scopedog

      Of course, I wonder if the fine folks in the Green Party or the Sunshine Movement will say anything about this…oh, who the fuck am I fooling? These jerks only care about screaming at Democrats.

  • muselet

    Steve Benen:

    As we discussed [last August, when the administration first proposed rolling back fuel efficiency standards], we’re apparently supposed to believe that more fuel-efficient cars (a) will be lighter, and therefore more dangerous; (b) will encourage people to drive more, increasing the chances of accidents, and (c) will cost more, discouraging people from buying new vehicles, and in the process, encouraging people to stick with older vehicles that have fewer safety features.

    It’s all nonsense, of course. This action is Donald Trump both trying to erase Barack Obama from history and poke a thumb in the eye of California. Nobody in this administration cares about the environment or vehicle safety (or affordability); they only care about propping up extractive industries as long as possible.

    I grew up in Southern California. I remember enduring stage 2 and even stage 3 smog alerts as a kid. I am not nostalgic for the days of brown skies and burning lungs.

    Donald Trump is, and that should concern even his most enthusiastic supporters.

    –alopecia

    • stacib23

      When I first moved to California in the early 90’s, I was heading into LA down the 10 from the San Bernardino area. Somewhere around El Monte, I actually noticed the air. I had never seen what I was breathing, and it was both amazing and terrifying. I can’t believe Californians will let trump take them back to those days.

      On another note – I haven’t truly ever hated anybody in my almost 60 years of living, (and I’ve experienced a whole lot of life). I…HATE…trump.

      • muselet

        You missed the 1960s and ’70s, the absolute funnest time to breathe in the LA Basin. The air was a tangible thing then, almost chewy on particularly bad days. “Both amazing and terrifying” doesn’t begin to describe the air when I was growing up.

        California will fight tooth and nail to avoid going back to those days. Even our Rs—with a few exceptions—tend not to whinge about the inalienable right to breathe toxic crap.

        –alopecia

    • Christopher Foxx

      …and that should concern even his most enthusiastic supporters

      Concerned? His most enthusiastic supporters are absolutely thrilled at the idea of Trump “sticking it to them California libtards”. They don’t care if it’s over cars or sanctuary cities or anything else, as long as it’s something that bothers the people they don’t like.

      And, of course, his supporters don’t care at all that they themselves are being harmed. They’ll happily, eagerly, cut off their right arms if it means someone else gets a hangnail.

      • muselet

        Well, I did say “should” …

        However, point taken.

        –alopecia