The Trump administration is taking steps toward an anticipated move to roll back greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy rules for cars, The New York Times reported Thursday.
The newspaper reported that details of the initiative remain in flux, but noted that the plan "could substantially roll back the Obama-era standards," citing two sources familiar with deliberations over the move. An Environmental Protection Agency spokeswoman confirmed to the Times that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has given the White House a 16-page draft proposal to review.
A weakening of automobile standards would deliver a win for car manufacturers and a blow to environmentalists.
Former President Barack Obama made regulatory efforts to fight greenhouse gas emissions -- and climate change -- a central focus of his second term in office. Those efforts were criticized by some Republicans, who characterized the EPA's environmental regulations as government overreach.
President Donald Trump campaigned on promises to cut back on environmental regulation. And last June, he announced his intention to exit the Paris climate agreement, an international deal the Obama administration had worked to negotiate. Trump has previously called climate change a "hoax" despite scientific consensus that climate change is real and caused primarily by human activity.
A change to the rules would set the stage for legal battles challenging the decision.
The state of California, for example, "has vowed to stick with the stricter rules even if Washington rolls back federal standards," according to the Times report.