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Washington – Political War Between California and the Trump Administration escalated on Monday with a letter from Andrew Wheeler, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, warning that Washington would withhold federal highways from the state if it failed. rapidly with a decade behind on state-level pollution control plans.
While California angered Mr. Trump with his efforts to comply with stricter state standards for climate change from vehicles, even as Mr. Trump seeks to repeal those standards nationwide, n Wheeler to the state proposes a reversal
It states that California "has the worst air quality in the United States," including 82 districts in the state, with air quality that does not comply with federal law. It states that the state is required by law to submit plans to reduce this pollution, but California has a lag of about 130 incomplete or inactive plans, "for many decades."
The letter notes that California has more than 34 million people living in areas that do not meet federal air pollution standards for pollutants such as soot and smog – "more than twice as many people as any other country in the country."
Wheeler said in the letter that he was drawing attention to the California backlog as part of a broader effort to "drastically reduce" such backlogs nationwide.
He says that California's failure to cope with backlogs could lead to sanctions such as withholding federal highway funding or executing federal plans.
The letter requested a response from the State by 10 October.  The letter, made public on Monday but dated September 24, was first reported by the Sacramento Bee . California officials said Monday night that they had just received it and declined to respond until they had time to review it. A White House spokesman referred questions to the E.P.A., and a spokesman for the agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment via email.
The letter follows Mr. Trump's announcement last week that his administration would withdraw California's legal powers to determine its own state-level strict regulations on planet-wide pollution from prison. On Friday, California and more than 20 other states retaliated by bringing a broad lawsuit that is expected to be resolved only before the Supreme Court, accusing Mr. Trump of tapping into the rights of both states and making big efforts to combat climate change. .
In fact, one of the main legal arguments made by the California case last week is that these exhaust pipe standards are necessary for the state to control emissions of other pollutants, such as soot and smog, at levels, necessary to meet even federal standards.
"We need extra clean cars to meet the standards set by the federal government," Mary Nichols, California's best clean air regulator, told a news conference last week. "If this prevails, millions of people in California will breathe dirty air. There will be more pollution, more asthma, more hospitalizations, more premature deaths. “
Mr. Trump's quest to lift California's authority to set vehicle pollution standards comes after a July announcement that four carmakers opposed to Mr. Trump's plan to return the national rear pipe pollution standard have signed an agreement with California to comply with stricter emissions standards if a wider repeal passes.
Mr. Trump, who was surprised and angry at this announcement, according to two people familiar with the matter, then sought to push policies to punish California.
Earlier this month, the Justice Department opened an investigation into whether the California auto deal broke the antitrust laws, even though a person familiar with the investigation said it was not initiated at the request of Mr. Trump or to any administration staff.
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