WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein on Friday referred to as for a probe into whether or not politics as an alternative of air pollution was behind the Trump administration’s risk this week to withhold greater than $four billion in federal transportation funding from California over claims of poor air high quality.
“I’m involved that California is being unfairly focused,” Feinstein, a Democrat who represents the state, mentioned in her letter to Charles Sheehan, deputy inspector basic of the EPA.
In response to the letter, an EPA spokesperson mentioned: “EPA’s actions usually are not political. We’ll proceed to work towards fulfilling the mission of the Company.”
On Tuesday, Environmental Safety Company Administrator Andrew Wheeler despatched a letter to California’s high air regulator threatening to withhold the federal freeway funding, saying the state “has failed to hold out its most simple duties underneath the Clear Air Act,” and never produced well timed plans to satisfy targets for air high quality targets.
Feinstein’s letter mentioned “this problem of backlogged state implementation plans is nothing greater than a pretext to assault California, relatively than a good-faith effort to assist enhance California’s air high quality.”
Her letter was the most recent flashpoint between California and the Trump administration over the state’s protection of its personal stricter clear air and water guidelines, similar to tighter automobile emission requirements which might be adopted by greater than a dozen states.
Feinstein disputed that backlogged state implementation plans had been because of California inaction. She cited one instance the place a state plan was awaiting EPA approval, and one other the place the state nonetheless had one 12 months to conform.
She requested the inspector basic to analyze whether or not over three dozen states with comparable points are being focused.
“There are not any reviews suggesting that any of these different states acquired a risk just like the one despatched to California to their transportation funding,” the letter mentioned.
Feinstein mentioned by withholding freeway funds, the EPA would deprive California one in every of its greatest instruments to enhance air high quality.
California had imposed strict state limits on automobile emissions in defiance of Trump’s makes an attempt to roll again federal clear automobile rules. Tailpipe emissions are regulated individually from ambient air pollution, however California argues the automobile guidelines are important to assembly these targets.
Trump’s Justice Division this month opened an antitrust probe of 4 main automakers that struck a deal this month to undertake California’s stricter emissions requirements. President Donald Trump mentioned he would revoke California’s authorized authority to set extra stringent requirements.
The administration this 12 months additionally withheld $929 million from California’s high-speed rail undertaking awarded in 2010, prompting the state to sue.
On Thursday, EPA’s Wheeler accused California of violating clear water legal guidelines by permitting human waste from homeless residents to enter waterways.
Reporting by Valerie Volcovici; Enhancing by Marguerita Choy and David Gregorio