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EPA scolds California for failing when it comes to air and water pollution, days after state sues Trump admin over vehicle emissions standards


The EPA administrator demanded that California's governor respond within 30 days

Citizen of the Planet/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday accused California of failing to maintain acceptable air and water pollution standards. This comes as the state fights the federal government in an attempt to keep its strict auto emissions standards in place.

What about auto emissions?

Earlier this month, the EPA announced that it was blocking California from setting auto emissions standards that were more restrictive than those put in place by the federal government. California kept Obama-era emissions regulations in place, despite Trump revoking them, in order to incentivize manufacturers to produce and sell more zero-emission vehicles in the state.

When this announcement was made, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler also said that the Trump administration would act "very soon" in order "to bring clarity to the proper — and improper — scope and use of the Clean Air Act preemption waiver."

On Sept. 20, California and 23 other states sued the Trump administration in order to invalidate this decision by the EPA.

What happened now?

On Thursday, Wheeler sent a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) informing him that "the EPA is concerned that California's implementation of federal environmental laws is failing to meet its obligations required under delegated federal security programs."

This, Wheeler wrote, would lead to "unhealthy air and degraded water" for Californians.

Wheeler said that his agency began investigating the state's environmental practices after becoming aware of the "state's lack of action in response to the homeless and San Francisco's discharges of inadaquently treated sewage." After the EPA conducted a preliminary review, it "identified 23 significant instances of discharges into waters of the United States" from California that were "in exceedance of permit limits." In also pointed to other issues, like 67 water systems with "194 serious health-based exceedances of arsenic levels, impacting more than 101,000 residents.

Wheeler demanded that Newsom respond to the letter within 30 days, and to show "specific anticipated milestones for correcting these problems."

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