The Latest: Gov’t says Calif. emissions deal may be illegal

Politics

DETROIT (AP) — The Latest on the escalating fight between the Trump administration and California over automotive emissions and fuel economy standards (all times local):

11:45 a.m.

Two federal agencies have told California officials that a deal with four automakers to abide by tougher emissions standards appears to violate federal law.

In a letter dated Friday, the Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency said the Clean Air Act and other laws prohibit states from setting motor vehicle fuel economy standards.

In July, Ford, Honda, Volkswagen and BMW reached a deal with California to abide by standards that are tougher than those preferred by the Trump administration. Pollution standards are closely linked to fuel economy.

The move bypassed the Trump administration’s plan to freeze emissions and fuel economy standards adopted under the Obama administration at 2021 levels.

The automakers agreed with the California Air Resources board to reduce emissions by 3.7% per year starting with the 2022 model year, through 2026. They would have gone up by 4.7% per year through 2025 under the Obama standards, according to California.

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11:35 a.m.

The U.S. Justice Department is conducting an antitrust investigation of four automakers that have signed on with California in a deal to toughen tailpipe emissions standards.

Ford spokesman T.R. Reid confirmed Friday that the company received a letter from Justice informing it of an inquiry. He says the company is cooperating with the department.

In July, Ford, Honda, Volkswagen and BMW reached a deal with California to abide by standards that are tougher than those preferred by the Trump administration. The standards are closely linked with fuel economy requirements.

The move bypasses Trump’s push to relax pollution and mileage standards nationwide that were set by the Obama administration.

The Justice Department wouldn’t comment on the investigation.

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