In a Sept. 24 letter to the California Air Resources Board, the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency initiated a process to resolve deficiencies in several of the state’s plans to improve air quality.
If California does not act, then the “sanctions clock” under the Clean Air Act will begin, which could ultimately result in a loss of federal highway funding and delay of new source review permits. In a response to EPA, AGC reiterated its long-held opposition to use of federal highway funding to exact compliance and urged the agency to work with California --- providing the state with enough time to update and finalize their state plans.
California is also under a more immediate threat of losing federal highway funds for not meeting commitments to reduce nitrogen oxides. In its transportation planning, the state had relied on Obama-era vehicle emissions reductions that were rolled back by the Trump administration earlier this month. At that time, EPA also revoked California’s waiver to set its own more stringent standards. California now must rework its emissions model and adopt other strategies in its transportation planning to remain in conformity. AGC has been advocating for a three-year grace period to give California more time to complete these tasks.