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White House nixes climate change language from vehicle emissions proposal

The White House removed language calling climate change a “serious challenge” from a proposal that limits California’s ability to set tougher vehicle emissions standards, according to reporting from E&E News

A draft of the document obtained by E&E shows the White House striking the phrase “while global climate change is a serious challenge” before explaining its rationale for why California should not be allowed to set more stringent emissions standards than the federal government.

The changes were made to the Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule proposed by both the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

President Trump announced last month on Twitter that he was revoking the waiver California has relied on for more than 50 years to mandate tougher emissions standards. Thirteen other states also use the California standards.

The move spurred swift legal action from both the state and numerous environmental groups

The draft reviewed by E&E also shows the White House removed a reference to the Fourth National Climate Assessment, which painted a stark picture of how climate change will impact the planet.

The White House did not respond to request for comment.

The Trump administration has been repeatedly accused of burying reports that show the dangers of climate change, spurring a report from Senate Democrats that found the U.S. Department of Agriculture alone failed to publicize 1,400 studies that deal with the topic.  

Meanwhile, the battle between California and the administration has now gone beyond air quality to include water. A letter from the EPA last week said California was “failing to meet its obligations” on sewage and water pollution and blamed homelessness for the contamination.

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