Opinion: Presidential attack on Tailpipe Laws could mean a more polluted future

Emma Botehlo

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Tailpipe pollution, a type of pollution caused by motor vehicles, is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. That’s why in 2004, California adopted a rule to regulate cars and their tailpipe pollution. They were a trailblazer for 14 other states to adopt similar rulings in the past decade. But on Wednesday, Sept. 18, President Donald Trump announced that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be revoking the right for states to regulate their own tailpipe pollution. 

Nebraska does not have any delegated tailpipe pollution regulations, but because a lot of big state economies like California do, it’s easier for automobile manufacturers to make all the cars that they’re choosing to sell in the U.S. up to the highest tailpipe standard. Other states’ laws and higher market standards have been indirectly benefiting those states who have yet to place a law regarding auto emissions. So even though this battle isn’t directly between Nebraska and the Trump administration, it will still have a large effect on the state if it is officially revoked. 

Not only is the move to revoke higher tailpipe pollution regulations going to cause more pollution in the U.S. but it will be a huge legal battle between the federal and state governments.

“This is unprecedented and a tremendously big deal,” Richard L. Revesz, a professor of environmental law at New York University, said in an interview with the New York Times.

Trump is trying to do something that no other administration has ever tried to do, overstepping boundaries his predecessors hadn’t dared to cross. As we watch this case play out we will see a tremendous legal battle between state and federal governments.

Trump and his administration has been a huge advocate for states setting higher regulations for other issues such as abortion and access to birth control, so why this sudden power grab at California? It’s part of the administration’s promise to rollback environmental laws put in place mainly by former President Barack Obama to help slow climate change. Trump has boasted a whopping 85 (and counting) laws being rolled back and it seems this attack on tailpipe pollution laws is just another one of those conquests. But maybe the tenacious response from the states will force Trump to think about more than just money and big business. 

Many people are becoming increasingly worried about the environment and climate change. States choosing to stand up to Trump now, could mean a better future, cleaner air and more resources for everyone in the future.