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California and other states sue EPA over auto emissions rollbacks

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California and more than a dozen other states are suing EPA over Administrator Scott Pruitt’s recent decision to roll back greenhouse gas emissions standards for cars.

“My message to the EPA and Administrator Pruitt is simple: Do your job. Regulate carbon pollution from vehicles,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said at a press conference Tuesday. “We are not looking to pick a fight with the Trump administration, but we are ready for one.”

The lawsuit comes just days after sources said the Department of Transportation is planning to propose freezing fuel economy standards at model year 2020 levels. That could pave the way to a lower EPA greenhouse gas standard as well as an effort to block California from enforcing its own more stringent greenhouse gas standards.

“This move by Pruitt with the help and encouragement of Trump is not going to make America great. It’s going to make America second-rate,” said California Gov. Jerry Brown. “This is a science-based attack that we make on these characters in Washington.”

Pruitt told lawmakers last week that he did not plan to go after California’s ability to enforce its standards, and said he was looking to work with the state on the program. Democratic lawmakers are now calling those statements into question.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit by California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Virginia, as well as the District of Columbia.

Source: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/05/01/california-states-sue-epa-auto-emissions-561792

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Trump targets smog standards, ordering EPA to make it easier for companies to comply

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President Trump took aim at federal air quality standards Thursday, directing the Environmental Protection Agency to relax restrictions on state governments and businesses that have been key to cutting smog.

In a memo, the president instructed EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to more quickly review…

Source: http://www.latimes.com/la-me-ln-trump-air-quality-20180412-story.html

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Documents contradict EPA claims on threats to Pruitt, Democrats say

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Records from the EPA, Secret Service and a terrorism task force fail to back up EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s claims that he faces the kinds of threats that would justify his multimillion-dollar, round-the-clock security detail, two Democratic senators wrote Tuesday when asking for a congressional review of his spending.

Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.), the ranking member on the Environment and Public Works Committee, and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) wrote to Chairman John Barrasso (D-Wyo.) on Tuesday demanding oversight hearings and citing the non-public documents: an internal EPA review, Secret Service threat assessments and a Joint Terrorism Task Force report.

The Secret Service identified no “reports of behaviors of interest” against Pruitt, and internal reviews dispute “the administrator’s claims that the nature of the threats against him justify his expenditures,” Carper and Whitehouse wrote.

The EPA Office of Homeland Security‘s intelligence team concluded that an earlier threat assessment prepared by Pruitt’s security team DOES NOT employ sound analysis or articulate relevant ‘threat specific’ information appropriate to draw any resource or level of threat conclusions regarding the protection posture for the administrator,” according to a section of the Feb. 14 memo reproduced in the senators’ letter (emphasis included). The memo concluded that EPA intelligence officials had “not identified any specific credible direct threat to the EPA administrator,” according to the letter.

None of the incidents listed concern air travel, according to the letter. Pruitt’s aides have said he needed to fly first class after encounters with passengers.

The senators said the records don’t match public statements from EPA and the president, who in a tweet suggested Pruitt’s expenses are justified.

One view is “that certain factions within EPA have justified the exorbitant taxpayer spending incurred by the administrator’s first-class travel and large entourage of security personnel through unsubstantiated claims about threats to his security, either at the direction of the administrator himself or others in the agency,” the senators said.

EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox said Tuesday that “Scott Pruitt has faced an unprecedented amount of death threats against him and these threat assessments are conducted within [Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance] using information collected from the [Protective Service Detail], EPA’s Office of Homeland Security, and Inspector General.“ He pointed to interviews with EPA’s inspector general office discussing an increase in threats compared to the previous administrator’s tenure.

Source: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/04/10/documents-contradict-epa-claims-threats-984459