California Continues To Buck Trump Administration’s Environmental Policies

by | Feb 24, 2017

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The Democratically-controlled California state legislature wants to “Preserve California” as a way to defeat any attempt by the Trump administration to rollback the state’s clean air and clean water rules now in place.

The aim of the bills is to protect federal lands in the state from being sold to oil companies, reports Reuters. The Democrats there have already hired former US Attorney General Eric Holder to fight for their causes.

“The goals and objectives of these measures… is to do everything within our power to make sure the federal government doesn’t encroach on our far-reaching progressive policies,” California Senate Leader Kevin de Leon said during a press conference in Sacramento on Thursday, as reported by the newswire.

Beside the bill to prevent federal lands from being auctioned off to drillers, another one would direct state environmental and public health agencies to protect any data under state law, says Reuters.

Specifically at issue here are the positions of the Trump administration and the new leader of the US Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt. Both have publicly touted their belief that the states ought to have more say on local issues — and that the federal government ought to have less say. In a nutshell: it is state rights versus federalism.

It’s something that the EPA administrator raised during his talk with EPA staffers this week. It’s also something that came up during email exchanges now made public — ones he had while serving as Oklahoma’s attorney general. However, he remained mum during his confirmation hearings on whether California would be permitted set vehicle emissions standards that would be different from those of the federal government.

Since the election of Trump to the presidency, California has been bucking his policies. While he was being inaugurated as the 45th president, California was busy unveiling its new strategy to reduce carbon emissions by 40% by 2030 from 1990 levels. 

California has long been on the cutting edge of environmental initiatives, having first enacted a law to cut carbon in 2006 — a ruling that has required it to review and reset its progress every five years. In the early years, the goal was to cut heat-trapping emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

Ten year later, the aim is now even more ambitious. By 2050, California hopes to have cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 80%, which would make it a paragon of hope not just for other states to follow but also for other countries. And it is something that the state says will actually work to create jobs.

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