Last week, in an attempt to accelerate the adoption of electric passenger vehicles, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced the states plan to ban the sale of new gasoline-powered vehicles starting in 2035. California is the largest US state to announce such an initiative while several countries world wide have already implemented similar deadlines for the sale of gas-powered vehicles.
Andrew Wheeler, the head of the EPA appointed by President Trump after being a lobbyist for the fossil fuel industry, responded to the ban with a letter of criticism to Governor Newsom.
In the letter obtained by Reuters, Wheeler stated that California’s new ban on gas cars is a bad idea and potentially illegal. “EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said the plan “raises serious questions regarding its legality and practicality” and said it could cause problems for the state’s electrical grid. He also declared the move could be subject to federal approval, saying it “may require California to request a waiver to U.S. EPA.”
In addition, Wheeler used California’s rolling blackouts as key reason why he believes the initiative is a bad idea. He stated “California’s record of rolling blackouts—unprecedented in size and scope—coupled with recent requests to neighboring states for power begs the question of how you expect to run an electric car fleet that will come with significant increases in electricity demand, when you can’t even keep the lights on today.”
It may seem odd that something call the Environmental Protection Agency would be against something like furthering the adoption of electric mobility. However, it seems to be a common theme since President Trump took office. Under President Trump, the EPA has been fighting to revoke California’s authority to set higher emissions standards, among other detrimental initiatives for sustainable energy.