Carper: President Trump is Retaliating Against California and “Governing with a Mob Boss Mentality”

EPW Ranking Member: “These acts are an abuse of power by the president, plain and simple.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee, issued the following statement reacting to the Environmental Protection Agency’s letter today to California, purportedly expressing concerns about state-level environmental enforcement. This move is the latest in a rash of retaliatory actions the Trump Administration has taken against California since the state entered into a voluntary fuel economy agreement with four major automakers.

“This is not about improving water quality or protecting public health, this is about the president retaliating against the State of California, which he views as his political enemy, for striking a deal with four major automakers on car emissions standards—and because he fears more automakers may soon join that deal. President Trump is governing with a mob boss mentality and, clearly, EPA Administrator Wheeler is following orders. Between EPA’s letters to California, EPA and DOT repealing California’s authority to set its own clean air standards – while simultaneously accusing the state of having dirty air – and DOJ launching its bogus anti-trust ‘investigation’ against automakers who work with California, these acts are an abuse of power by the president, plain and simple.”

Timeline of President Trump’s Retaliations Against California:

  • July 25: California and four automakers announce a voluntary agreement on vehicle fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards.
  • August 21: President Trump tweets his criticism of the “foolish automakers” who entered into the voluntary agreement with California, saying that “California will squeeze them to the point of business ruin.”
  • Late August: DOJ launches an antitrust investigation into the four automakers who entered into the voluntary agreement with California.
  • September 18: President Trump tweets his decision to revoke California’s clean car authority.  EPA and DOT acted to argue that California’s authority was preempted and to revoke it the next day. Also on September 18, the president announces that EPA would be issuing a notice of violation directed at environmental harms he blamed on California’s homeless population. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson then amplified the President’s views.
  • September 24: EPA threatens California with the potential loss of highway funding, saying that the state had the “worst air quality in the United States.”  
  • September 26: EPA sends California a letter describing the environmental impacts it said stem from California’s homeless  population, saying that “the EPA is concerned about the potential water quality impacts from pathogens and other contaminants from untreated human waste entering nearby waters.”