Trump’s EPA threatens California over air quality; governor says it’s ‘pure retaliation’

By Marco della Cava and Ledyard King | USA Today Link to article

SAN FRANCISCO – First it was homelessness. Then automotive standards. And now it’s air quality.

The battle between the Trump administration and California escalated Tuesday as the Environmental Protection Agency threatened to withhold billions in federal highway aid because California has, in the EPA’s words, “the worst air quality in the United States.”

Reaction from leading Golden State officials was swift and scathing, with particular emphasis on the ironic nature of the threat.

The letter from EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to California Air Resources Board chair Mary Nichols arrived just days after President Donald Trump directed his administration to revoke California’s waiver on auto emissions, a move that would undercut the state’s decades-long effort to improve air quality by setting stringent standards on tailpipe discharges from cars and light trucks.

“This letter is a threat of pure retaliation,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement. “The White House has no interest in helping California comply with the Clean Air Act to improve the health and well-being of Californians.”

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