WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Trump administration is moving ahead with plans to submit a series of options for softening fuel efficiency standards to the White House for approval in the coming week, two officials briefed on the matter Tuesday said.
The U.S. Transportation Department has drafted a proposal likely to be made public this month that would freeze vehicle requirements at 2020 levels through 2026. It is set to formally go to the White House for review next week, officials said. The freeze is the preferred option, but is one of many options in the proposal set to be made public in the first week of June, two officials said.
On Friday, President Donald Trump met with auto industry leaders over the vehicle emissions rules. Afterward, two major auto industry trade groups said in a joint statement that Trump expressed an “openness to a discussion with California on an expedited basis.”
California, the most populous U.S. state, has long been allowed by an Environmental Protection Agency waiver to impose stricter standards than Washington does on vehicle emissions of some pollutants, but the state agreed to adopt the emissions rules of the Obama administration in 2011.
California and 16 other states covering about 40 percent of the U.S. population sued earlier this month to block the Trump administration’s efforts to weaken the fuel efficiency requirements. On Tuesday, a group of environmental groups including the Environmental Defense Found, Center for Biological Diversity, the Sierra Club and Union for Concerned Scientists also filed suit.
The Transportation Department proposal asserts that a 1975 federal law preempts states from imposing emissions rules.
Automakers want the White House and California