Trump EPA will keep California emissions waiver in place for now

State has set its own emissions standards since 1970

California, which has long set its own emissions mandates independent from federal standards, will keep that right, at least for now. US Environmental Protection Agency ( EPA) head Scott Pruitt had indicated he would review and possibly eliminate what's known as the California waiver. Last week, though, he indicated that the waiver was not under review, according to the Washington Post.

With the Trump administration pulling the US out of the Paris Climate agreement and planning to reverse many of the Obama administration's nation-wide emissions mandates, Pruitt's decision, or non-decision, is a victory of sorts for green-car and environmental advocates. California, which is the most populace state and is home to by far the most motor vehicles of any state, gained its exemption with the 1970 Clean Air Act because of notorious smog levels in cities such as Los Angeles. California Gov. Jerry Brown has been vocal about maintaining the state's stricter emissions standards — which have been adopted by 13 other states — regardless of the mandate changes from either Trump or the EPA.

Pruitt, the former Oklahoma attorney general, went on record earlier this year denying that carbon dioxide was a major cause of global warming, contradicting the Union of Concerned Scientists and many others in the science community in the process. In fact, Pruitt's position contradicts the position of the EPA itself. Just this week, Energy Secretary Rick Perry said the same thing.

Zero-emissions vehicles made up about 3.5 percent of the 2.1 million vehicles sold in California last year, when EV sales jumped 18 percent in the Golden State. About 4 percent of California's cars are of the plug-in variety. The state has set a goal for as much as 15 percent of its vehicle sales to be zero-emissions by 2025.

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