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Washington Report

California and Newsom Score Wins vs Trump on Cars, Tax Returns

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Donald Trump and Gavin Newsom

SACRAMENTO (CalMatters) — It’s been a good week for the “resistance” here in California. The state and our governor, Gavin Newsom, scored a tactical win over the last week in the war with President Donald Trump over just about everything.

Newsom announced that four major automakers had agreed to adhere to tight – albeit slightly loosened – mileage standards aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions to fight climate change.

The agreement fractures auto industry solidarity as California and Trump battle over whether nationwide emission standards that had been adopted during the Obama administration should be kept in place or rolled back.

The industry had originally, if somewhat reluctantly, agreed to the standards in the interest of having one nationwide policy, rather than dealing with the issue on a state-by-state basis.

However, once Trump was elected, automakers appealed to him to loosen the mileage requirement, an average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, saying it was unrealistic. Trump proposed to freeze the current requirement of 37 mpg by 2021.

The Trumpies, however, didn’t show any signs of retreating. Michael Abboud, a spokesperson for the Environmental Protection Agency, declared that the deal “has no impact on EPA’s regulation of greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. This voluntary framework is a PR stunt that does nothing to further the one national standard that will provide certainty and relief for American consumers.”

California quickly took leadership of resisting the freeze, and Trump reacted by threatening to eliminate the state’s long-standing “waiver” that allows it to set its own emission rules. Automakers, having sparked the conflict, appealed to both sides to forge a compromise on a new and reachable nationwide standard but talks broke down amid mutual fingerpointing.

The new agreement between California and automakers Ford, Honda, BMW and Volkswagen gives them an extra year to meet tighter mileage standards and shaves a few miles per gallon from what would become a 2026 standard. It presumably involves 13 other states that follow California’s lead, and could – emphasis could – change the issue’s political dynamic.

“These terms will provide our companies much needed regulatory certainty by allowing us to meet both federal and state requirements with a single national fleet, avoiding a patchwork of regulations while continuing to ensure meaningful greenhouse gas emissions reductions,” the four automakers said in a joint statement.

Newsom said in his announcement: “I now call on the rest of the auto industry to join us, and for the Trump administration to adopt this pragmatic compromise instead of pursuing its regressive rule change. It’s the right thing for our economy, our people and our planet.”

The Trumpies, however, didn’t show any signs of retreating. Michael Abboud, a spokesperson for the Environmental Protection Agency, declared that the deal “has no impact on EPA’s regulation of greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. This voluntary framework is a PR stunt that does nothing to further the one national standard that will provide certainty and relief for American consumers.”

It’s a game of political chicken.

Were other automakers to join the California four, it probably would end the conflict with a win for Newsom, California and the 13 other states. But if they don’t and Trump forges ahead with the freeze, California and its allies will sue and stall a final resolution until sometime after the 2020 presidential election.

Were Trump to lose to a Democrat, the Obama-era standards would remain in place, or perhaps be altered to match the new California rubric. Were he to be re-elected, the battle would continue in the courts and other arenas and Trump would stand a better chance of prevailing.

No matter what happens, Newsom’s national image as a leader of the anti-Trump “resistance” is bolstered and it also appears to help him at home. A new Public Policy Institute of California poll found that “Overwhelming majorities (75% adults, 76% likely voters) favor requiring automakers to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions from new cars.”

This article is produced as part of WeHo Daily’s partnership with CalMatters, a nonpartisan, nonprofit journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters.

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Washington Report

Back From Eye of Impeachment Storm, Schiff Rekindles Local Focus

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Back from eye of impeachment storm, Schiff rekindles local focus

BURBANK (Los Angeles Daily News) — After months in the eye of the Washington impeachment hurricane, House intelligence committee chairman Rep. Adam Schiff is a national hero for Democrats and sworn enemy for Republicans. It’s a status that no doubt complicated his recent attempt at a workout at the Burbank YMCA.

Among dozens of handshakes and selfies, a man at the gym unsheathed a Donald Trump flag from his backpack and a woman shared a heartfelt story of her closest friendship torn apart by impeachment. The celebrity politician, a former triathlete with a separated shoulder, was hoping to pump some iron in the weight room.

Since impeachment proceedings concluded with Trump’s acquittal in the Senate earlier this month, Schiff has paid close attention to Trump’s swift purge of non-loyalists from his administration and warnings from intelligence officials that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election to try to get him re-elected or benefit Bernie Sanders.

Back home in his district ahead of what experts consider a non-competitive race for reelection in California’s 28th district, Schiff has raised more than $9 million — the most of […]

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California

California Sues Dept of Energy for Over Energy Efficient Lightbulbs

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SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and New York Attorney General Letitia James today, leading a coalition of 16 attorneys general and the City of New York, filed a lawsuit against the Department of Energy (DOE) challenging its final rule rolling back energy efficiency standards for certain lightbulbs.

The lawsuit alleges that the rollback of the energy efficiency requirements for certain lightbulbs would unlawfully delay the adoption of energy efficiency goals, undermine state and local energy policy, and increase consumer and environmental costs.

“The Trump Administration needs to move on from old-fashioned technologies and yesterday’s way of doing business. It’s time to face the reality that American consumers deserve and demand more efficient and sustainable options,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Today we filed this lawsuit to block the Department of Energy from pushing a foolish agenda that prioritizes out-dated, polluting technology over the needs of the people and our environment. We can’t afford to turn our back on progress.”

On May 3, 2019, the attorneys general submitted official comments on the DOE rollback proposal. They asserted that DOE should maintain the stricter, environmentally sound definitions enacted by the Obama Administration in 2017, which expanded the definition of general service lamps (GSLs) to include seven previously unregulated types of light bulbs.

By including those types of bulbs as GSLs, the 2017 definitions subject them to the congressionally-imposed GSL minimum standard of 45 lumens per watt applicable on January 1, 2020. The rollback would remove those lightbulbs from the GSL efficiency, costing consumers $12 billion each year in lost electricity savings by 2025, or $100 per household per year.

By reversing the 2017 rules, the DOE is enacting a less stringent standard in violation of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act. This action is arbitrary, capricious, and unlawful under the Administrative Procedure Act.

Joining Attorneys General Becerra and James in filing the lawsuit are the attorneys general of Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

Additionally, the coalition submitted comments opposing DOE’s related proposal to not amend (and strengthen) energy efficiency standards for common pear-shaped incandescent light bulbs. According to DOE’s own analysis, if DOE were to adopt strengthened energy efficiency standards for these bulbs, the net present value of the benefits to the nation would equal up to $4.171 billion.

A copy of the petition and the comment letter can be found attached to the press release here.

Attorney General Becerra has fought to preserve energy efficiency standards which save consumers and help protect the environment. In 2017, Attorney General Becerra sued to challenge DOE’s failure to publish finalized energy efficiency standards for portable air conditioners, generators, air compressors, boilers, and walk-in coolers and freezers.

A district court ruled in 2018 that DOE’s action was unlawful, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling in 2019. Also in 2017, as part of a multistate coalition, Attorney General Becerra filed a lawsuit in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals challenging DOE’s unlawful delay of enforcement of energy efficiency standards for ceiling fans. As a result of the lawsuit, DOE changed course and let the standards go into effect.

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Scandals

Rep. Katie Hill Resigns from Congress, Blames ‘Abusive’ Husband

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Rep. Katie Hill Resigns from Congress, Blames 'Abusive' Husband

WASHINGTON DC (TMZ) — Freshman Congresswoman Katie Hill just threw in the towel … announcing her resignation amid a scandal that she’s now blaming on her husband and dirty politics.

Rep. Hill — a Democrat — issued a letter Sunday, saying she was stepping down from her elected post in the House of Representatives after winning the seat in last year’s election. She repped California’s 25th congressional district, covering parts of Northern Los Angeles.

In the document, she makes some damning allegations against her estranged husband, Kenny Heslep … whom she’s in the middle of divorcing right now, and it just got nastier.

Hill writes, “This is what needs to happen so that the good people who supported me will no longer be subjected to the pain inflicted by my abusive husband and the brutality of hateful political operatives who seem happily provide a platform to a monster who is driving a smear campaign built around cyber exploitation.”

She goes on to say, “Having private photos of personal moments weaponized against me has been an appalling invasion of my privacy. It’s also illegal, and we are currently pursuing all of our available legal options.” The implication is that Heslep facilitated the leak.

If you hadn’t heard … nude photos of Hill surfaced last week, as did news of extramarital relationships she allegedly had with 2 different people — a congressional staffer of hers, and a former campaign aide. She admitted to the aide fling, but denied a staffer affair.

Hill finishes her letter by saying that she’s stepping down to avoid further pain and embarrassment being thrust onto her and others, while also apologizing for her mistakes.

She writes, “Thank you for allowing me to turn my focus on this particular battle right now, and know that I stand with you as we continue to fight for the many important issues that brought me to Congress in the first place.”

Hill ends on a positive note, writing … “I love this country, I love all of you, and I thank you for allowing me the great honor of serving you.”

Tune in to TMZ on TV weekdays Monday through Friday (check syndicated/local listings)

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