The California Air Resources Board (CARB) says EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt mischaracterized the current working relationship between the two agencies during his testimony today on Capitol Hill. The discrepancy comes at a time when EPA is considering revoking the California exemption granted under the Clean Air Act of 1970, which gives the state (and CARB) authority to set its own independent emissions and air quality standards of those established by the EPA.
Pruitt announced on April 2 that the EPA was turning around the vehicle emission standards of Obama's time, and was also "re-examining" the California exemption since the agency works with the Department of Transportation to set new standards Today, in two Congressional hearings, amid an avalanche of questions about their spending, policies and various scandals, Pruitt was asked about EPA's plans regarding California's Clean Air Act exemption.
Pruitt, who was not under oath, did not say whether the EPA will revoke the exemption during any of the testimonies. But he painted an image of collaboration with the California Air Resources Board. Pruitt said he sent EPA representatives to meet with the CARB on the April 2 decision, as well as on the next proposed rule. In the morning, he told Representative Doris Matsui (D-CA) that EPA is "working very diligently and diplomatically" with CARB; In the afternoon, he told Representative Ken Calvert (D-CA) that the two parties are in "active discussions" about the fate of the exemption.
"We have a role to play, and California too, and that collaboration is important, we are committed to that, we dedicate our resources, and we will continue working in the process to try to achieve something in common and a response to both California and for those states and our agencies, "said Pruitt.
. CARB disagrees with this assessment, according to Stanley Young, communications director of the agency. It confirms that EPA officials met with CARB before the EPA published its decision on April 2, but said that those meetings were "remarkably unsubstantial" and that nothing new has happened in the following weeks.
"We never received any material from EPA or NHTSA before the Final Determination announcement on April 2," Young said in an email to The Verge . "We have not received any material since then, we have not had meetings since then and we have not received invitations to any meetings on this issue."
"Pruitt himself has never met anyone from CARB, even when he was in the Declare in March just days before the launch of the Final Determination on April 2," he added. "This is not, in any sense of the definition," working with California ". Young says that CARB would like to collaborate with federal agencies to develop consistent standards. The EPA did not respond to a request for comment.
"It is disappointing that Administrator Pruitt, despite his claims, does not engage with CARB on this important issue substantively," said Rep. Matsui The Verge in a reply via email to the comments of CARB. "Ensuring that we maintain a robust emissions program for the entire country not only provides public health benefits and help to consumers, but also provides certainty to manufacturers." Representative Calvert could not be reached in time to publish it.
The California exemption could be crucial in the coming months, as the EPA drafts new standards for 2022-2025 model cars. The current EPA has said that the emission standards set for those years are too high for a variety of reasons, so the new rules are likely to be less stringent. But it is likely that California will not move while it has its resignation, and 12 other states already follow the strict standards that California has established.