California leaders are up in arms again as the Trump Administration, on Monday, went after two laws specific to the state: The Clean Air Act and the selling of Federal lands.
The Clean Air Act
Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt announced a potential change to the current federal goal of having vehicles average 55 miles per gallon by 2025. Instead, the government will seek an as-of-yet unspecified lower target for fuel economy.
How does this affect the Golden State? “Under the Clean Air Act, California is the only state that can independently adopt its own emissions standards.” Other states can adopt these standards, and about 12 have done so, but no other state can create and set their own. California has one of the strictest emissions regulations.
“Cooperative federalism doesn’t mean that one state can dictate standards for the rest of the country,” Pruitt said, adding California’s authority to set its own emissions standards was “being reexamined.”
Gov. Jerry Brown called the action a belated April Fools’ Day trick. “This cynical and meretricious abuse of power will poison our air and jeopardize the health of all Americans.”
The action was brought about by auto makers’ complaints that the current regulations made it difficult to meet such high goals. Most buyers, they said, want SUVs, not the smaller fuel-efficient vehicles. Supporters say having all states follow one federal regulation will make it easier for the consumer.
Pruitt said the EPA’s new standard will benefit auto manufacturers as well as the consumer, while still striving to environmental safety.
Differing standards could cause more harm than good, reported the Los Angeles Times:
“Different standards in a single market will only cause harm to consumers, the environment, the economy, and automakers,” Rebecca Lindland, executive analyst at Kelley Blue Book, said in an email. The fallout, she wrote, could include higher car prices, difficulty selling cars across state lines, and possibly more older, higher polluting cars being used as consumers get discouraged from buying new models.
“Nobody wins if we can’t come to a single standard agreement which promotes the most fuel-efficient versions of vehicles consumers already want to buy,” Lindland said.
Selling of Federal Lands
The Trump Administration doesn’t like California’s self-imposed state law that gives it the ability to obstruct the federal government in yet another way – how and when federal lands are sold. The state law could affect several important sales:
According to federal officials, the state law could block the Army’s plan to convey 78 acres to a developer in the East Bay city of Dublin, a separate Navy contract with a developer for a property called Admiral’s Cove in Alameda, and the long-running plan by the Veterans Affairs department to rebuild its 388-acre West Los Angeles campus by leasing land for housing, and to provide an easement for the Purple Line Metro project.
“California has once again passed an extreme statute found in no other state, to obstruct the federal government,” Jesse Panuccio, the acting associate attorney general, told reporters at the Justice Department.
The federal government currently controls 46 million acres in California. Lawmakers passed legislation in October that gives the state veto power over federal land sales. According to the law, the state “won’t recognize any sale, donation or exchange of federal land unless the California State Lands Commission has the right of first refusal over any deal.”
The law’s intention, according to lawmakers, is to “keep public lands public.” State officials and environmental activists are concerned about the administration’s plan to use more land for mining and drilling and the law seeks to prevent that from happening to protected areas.
As the Los Angeles Times reported:
“Safeguarding public lands is in our DNA as Californians — so much so that we have enshrined the principle in our state Constitution. We will use every legal and administrative tool to thwart Trump’s plans to auction off California’s heritage to the highest bidder,” said Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who serves on the lands commission.
While it’s understandable that California wants to protect its resources and quality of life, its self-absorbed lawmakers who declare themselves better than any other state or the federal government is the root of the problem. California is not a country unto itself. It is a part of a community and while it can have some governing rules for its citizens, it must still abide by the community at large’s government.
This land is your land – but we have the say of how and when it is sold – is arrogant beyond belief. The egotistical way the state’s lawmakers demand superiority over the other states is atrocious. It is no wonder the Trump administration seeks to bring them down a few pegs. It’s about time California lawmakers learned to play well with others and join all the other kids on the playground instead of sitting in lofty arrogance on the bleachers, pointing and making fun of others.
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