Former California Gov. Jerry Brown testified on Tuesday that President Donald Trump and Republican members of Congress are responsible for his state’s wildfires because of their opposition to climate change policies.
“California’s burning while the deniers make a joke out of the standards that protect us all,” Brown told the House Oversight Committee.
“The blood is on your soul here, and I hope you wake up. Because this is not politics, this is life, this is morality,” he added, specifically referencing Republican lawmakers.
Brown testified against the Trump administration’s decision to rescind an Environmental Protection Agency regulatory exemption that allowed the state to set its own auto mileage standards.
Because of the size of California’s population, whatever rules it set had the effect of creating the standard for the entire country.
During his testimony, Brown slammed General Motors and other automakers for siding with the Trump administration in a court battle to decide whether California can continue to set its own emissions rules, Reuters reported.
Ex-California Governor Jerry Brown hits out at General Motors for backing President Trump’s rollback of Obama-era fuel efficiency standards for vehicles, which were based on California’s standard https://t.co/F4zsSrDmsr pic.twitter.com/sxp2c5OEnx
— Reuters (@Reuters) October 30, 2019
“It’s really something at the very moment when California’s burning, General Motors jumps on the bandwagon as Trump’s lapdog to join the opposition to undercut California’s rules,” Brown said.
The Hill reported that Toyota North America and Kia joined with General Motors in the Coalition for Sustainable Automotive Regulation, while Ford, Honda, Volkswagen and BMW of North America entered into a direct agreement with California in July to manufacture their cars with the higher efficiency standards.
John Bozzella, president and CEO of Global Automakers and a spokesman for the coalition, argued on a call with reporters that the Trump administration made the right decision, the report said.
“Since 2010, America has had a unified fuel economy in greenhouse gas emission and programs on improved fuel efficiency,” Bozzella said. “Recent federal and California rulemakings have threatened to end this balanced approach, creating uncertainty for consumers. Facing this problem, we had an obligation to intervene.”
The U.S. Supreme Court has recognized in multiple rulings in the past the power of the federal government to prevent states from adopting rules that significantly impact interstate commerce, which the setting of car manufacturing standards would seem to clearly fall into.
Trump announced his administration was ending California’s federal emissions waiver last month, contending the move would result in less-expensive and safer cars, which in the end would facilitate people replacing their older, less-environmentally friendly ones.
“The Trump Administration is revoking California’s Federal Waiver on emissions in order to produce far less expensive cars for the consumer, while at the same time making the cars substantially SAFER,” the president tweeted.
“This will lead to more production because of this pricing and safety advantage, and also due to the fact that older, highly polluting cars, will be replaced by new, extremely environmentally friendly cars,” he said. “There will be very little difference in emissions between the California Standard and the new U.S. Standard, but the cars will be far safer and much less expensive.”
….far safer and much less expensive. Many more cars will be produced under the new and uniform standard, meaning significantly more JOBS, JOBS, JOBS! Automakers should seize this opportunity because without this alternative to California, you will be out of business.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 18, 2019
Trump concluded, “Many more cars will be produced under the new and uniform standard, meaning significantly more JOBS, JOBS, JOBS!”
California’s current round of wildfires is being fueled, in part, by powerful Santa Ana winds.
According to AccuWeather, the winds kick up periodically and blow from the dry interior of Southern California to the coast.
In the fall, they create a particular fire hazard, because the Golden State gets most of its rain from December through March.
The Los Angeles Times reported the Getty Fire in LA appears to have been started by a tree branch blowing into power lines.
Power lines were also faulted for igniting multiple wildfires in California last year.
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