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23 Governors Join California in Opposing Trump’s Fuel Efficiency Freeze

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Governors from 24 states, including two republicans and four states won by Trump in 2016, are standing together to ask President Trump to put the brakes on his plan to weaken the federal clean car rules, the New York Times reported.

The governors are backing California officials who are asking the White House to implement consistent automobile emissions rules nationwide and to require efficiency improvements every year. They are also asking the president not to challenge California’s legal right to implement its own clean air rules, according to a draft statement by the governors, as the New York Times reported.

“Strong vehicle standards protect our communities from unnecessary air pollution and fuel costs, and they address the largest source of carbon pollution in the United States,” the governors wrote, as the New York Times reported. “We must unite to ensure a strong, science-based national standard, in California and across the country, that increases year over year.”

Last summer, the Trump administration proposed capping mileage requirements at a 37-mile-per-gallon fleet average after 2020, halting an annual rise in fuel efficiency. It also sought to usurp California’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles, which the state has done in coordination with federal regulators for several years, as Bloomberg reported.

In the joint statement, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-Ca.) wrote called for a “common-sense approach” to nationwide requirements that will cut tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions as the global climate crisis takes hold and to avoid uncertainty created by a legal battle over the administration’s 2018 proposal to ease the rules, which would create a strict standard in several states and a much looser one in other states, according to Bloomberg.

Even automakers have asked the Trump administration to reconsider its plan. Last month, 17 automakers said Trump’s plan threatened to hurt their profits and to make an unstable market since California — as well as the 13 other states that follow its lead make up one-third of the car market — is expected to stick with the stricter standards.

“We have the largest group of states ever coming together to back our position,” said Mary Nichols, chairman of the California Air Resources Board, the state’s air quality regulator, as the New York Times reported. “The fact that we now have over half the U.S. auto market supporting us indicates that we are going to stick with the standards. The auto industry will not build two sets of cars.”

The Trump rollback substantially weakens Obama-era standards that would have doubled the fuel economy requirement of new cars, pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles by 2025. The weaker rules would mean cars and trucks would cough up as much as an extra 321 million to 931 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by 2035, according to the research firm Rhodium Group, the New York Times reported.

The governors’ pledge commits to thwarting the pollution Trump’s plan will create by sticking to the Obama-era mileage goals.

“We will not compromise on our responsibility to protect the health of our communities, our climate, and the savings consumers stand to gain at the pump,” said the pledge, as the Associated Press reported. “We will continue to pursue additional concrete actions to fulfill this duty and defend against any threats.”

The 24 signatories of the letter claim to represent over 52 percent of the US population. It includes the governor’s of four states — Montana, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — that Trump won in 2016.

“These are not states that have been aggressive air pollution regulators or pro-regulation at all,” said Nichols, as Bloomberg reported.

Source: https://www.ecowatch.com/governors-fight-against-clean-car-rollback-2639139467.html?rebelltitem=2#rebelltitem2

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Public Hearing Today On Port Authority’s Planned Hikes At Bridges, Tunnels And Area Airports

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A public hearing will be held this morning in Manhattan to discuss the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s proposed fare hikes.

Last month, the agency laid out plans to raise tolls at bridge and tunnels and increase fares on PATH service and the trains to John F. Kennedy and Newark Liberty international airports. It also wants to apply a $4 surcharge to app-based car services when they pick up riders at New York City-area airport.

Under the proposal, tolls at the George Washington Bridge, Lincoln and Holland tunnels and outerbridge crossings would increase by $1. EZPass discounts would be reduced by 25 cents.

For PATH riders, a 10-day SmartLink card would rise from $25 to $26. A 30-day unlimited card would go from $106 to $110.25.
The AirTrain fee to JFK Airport would increase from $5 to $7.75, and a $4 fee would be added for all taxi and ride-sharing pick-ups and drop-offs at area airports, similar to fees charged at airports in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

The New York Taxi Workers Alliance said it will ask its 22,000 drivers to strike if the plan is approved.

The money would be used to pay for long-planned improvements at JFK, Newark and LaGuardia airports, as well as new projects, like increasing capacity and reducing delays on PATH trains.

A final vote is set for September. Today is the first of six hearings.

Hearing #1
July 16, 8 a.m.
4 WTC
23rd Floor, 150 Greenwich St., New York, NY 10007

Hearing #2
July 17, 8 a.m.
2 Montgomery
3rd Floor, 2 Montgomery St., Jersey City, NJ 07302

Hearing #3
July 18, 7 p.m
EWR Terminal One Redevelopment Outreach Office
79 West Jersey St, Elizabeth, NJ 07202

Hearing #4
July 22, 7 p.m.
College of Staten Island
Williamson Theatre, 2800 Victory Blvd, Staten Island, NY 10314

Hearing #5
July 29, 7 p.m.
Hilton Hasbrouck Heights
650 Terrace Ave, Hasbrouck Heights, NJ 07604

Hearing #6
July 30, 7 p.m.
JFK Building 14
3rd Floor, Building 14, Jamaica, NY 11430

Source: https://newyork.cbslocal.com/2019/07/16/port-authority-fare-hike-public-hearing/

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Trump administration freezes fines for fuel-economy violations

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The EPA hasn’t yet released its final ruling on a proposal to freeze fuel economy standards. However, a different federal agency—NHTSA—has finalized a rule to freeze fines on automakers who exceed the standards.

The fines have been set at $5.50 per 0.1 mpg, per car the automakers produce that doesn’t meet the standards, since 1997. These fines have amounted to tens of millions of dollars a year for automakers. For automakers with budgets approaching $100 billion a year, however, they amount to small change.

Some companies have opted to simply pay the fines instead of improving the fuel economy of their cars.

In 2015, in response to a Congressional mandate to raise fines for non-compliance across the government, NHTSA proposed to raise the fine to $14 per car per 0.1 mpg. Auto industry lobbyists complained that the proposal would cost automakers $1 billion annually, but when environmental groups along with New York, California, and several other states sued NHTSA, the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the increase could go forward.

On Friday, the agency released a statement saying the new rule freezing fines at $5.50 faithfully follows Congress’s intent in setting the penalty rate at the highest reasonable amount according to the statute.

Even if the fines were raised, it may have been a moot point with the EPA (in conjunction with NHTSA) planning to freeze fuel economy requirements at 2020 levels through 2026. EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler has said he expects to finalize that proposal by late this summer, though automakers and 23 states have now stated their opposition to it.

Source: https://www.greencarreports.com/news/1124039_trump-administration-freezes-fines-for-fuel-economy-violations

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Mayor Attacks Trump as Immigration Raids Spark Fear, Protests in NYC

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As a nationwide crackdown on immigrants sparks concerns and protests in New York City neighborhoods, the mayor on Sunday called the raids a “political act” by President Trump intended to help him win re-election.

Mayor de Blasio said the raids weren’t about security or enforcing the law. “This is a political act by this president, he’s politicized a United States government agency to help him win re-election,” de Blasio said as residents confirmed sightings of ICE agents knocking on doors as early as Saturday.

No one has been arrested, the mayor said, and there were no reported raids in the city on Sunday by midday.

“There were two attempts here in Sunset Park and no one was arrested because no one open their doors. And I think that is emblematic of people understanding they have rights,” the neighborhood’s Community Board Chair Cesar Zuniga told News 4.
Protests were held across the tri-state over the weekend as immigrant advocates advised those who feared being deported of their rights.

In Brooklyn, community members surrounded two plain-clothed NYPD officers who were grabbing dinner at a taco spot and asked them to leave because they mistook the police for ICE agents.

“You’re terrifying people in the neighborhood right now,” one protester said to the officers in a video of the exchange.
After the mixup, the NYPD says its officers will be wearing the department’s windbreaker jackets to distinguish themselves to avoid future confusion. The 72nd Precinct’s Deputy Inspector Emmanuel Gonzalez also assured that officers will not engange in helping ICE with the round ups.

“The NYPD does not ask anyone for documentation in their citizenship in this country,” Gonzalez said.

A senior US official told NBC News on Sunday that ICE raids had begun as part of an operation expected to target 2,000 immigrants in 10 major U.S. cities including New York over the next few days.

De Blasio, who is one of at least two dozen Democrats running for president, came under criticism himself on Saturday when he was campaigning in Iowa during a massive midtown Manhattan blackout. He canceled campaign events and returned to the city on Sunday.

At a news conference on the blackout, he also fielded questions about the ICE raids, which he called “horrible.”

Trump is “stoking fear and he’s trying to pit immigrant against citizen in a way that’s very, very cynical,” de Blasio said. “But then when the moment of truth comes, suddenly it’s all fear, no action.”

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan would not answer questions about the operation at an unrelated briefing in Washington on Sunday on the emergency management response to Hurricane Barry.

In 2012 under the Obama administration, there were over 1,000 ICE arrests per day on average. However, families were not targeted then as they are now.

Source: https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/NYC-Mayor-Attacks-Trump-as-Immigration-Raids-Begin-ICE-Bill-de-Blasio–512710571.html

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