Trump Administration: California Has Worst Air In The Country

EPA Threatens To Withhold Federal Highway Funds

Matt Bigler
September 24, 2019 - 12:00 am
raffic backs up along Interstate 880 on July 25, 2019 in Oakland, California.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The Environmental Protection Agency is accusing California of failing to comply with the federal Clean Air Act.  

In a letter to the state's Air Resources Board the EPA says California has the worst pollution levels in the country, and claims there's a backlog of more than 100 reports meant to explain how California is reducing air pollution.  If the reports aren't fixed the EPA says federal highway funds could be cut off from the state.

Gov. Gavin Newsom is calling the letter a threat of pure retaliation. 

Last week the state sued the Trump Administration for revoking its authority to set tougher vehicle admission standards.

"It's the perversion of this moment, pure politics, and politics that could have profound consequences," said Newsom. 

The EPA has not responded to requests for comment. 

In the letter first obtained by the Sacramento Bee, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler gives California air officials until October 10 to refile it's pollution reduction plans or face quote "statutory triggers" that could mean freezing billions of dollars in transportation projects or grants.

While California has filed over 100 so called "State Implementation Plans" with the EPA, what remains unclear is if the backlog exists because the pollution plans haven't been submitted correctly or if the EPA has been slow to approve them.