White House to huddle again with automakers on rollback

Source: Maxine Joselow, E&E News reporter • Posted: Monday, March 25, 2019

The White House has invited automakers to a Monday meeting where it will again press them to support the rollback of Obama-era clean car rules, according to a source with knowledge of the matter.

The meeting, which has not been previously reported, would mark the fourth time that automakers have convened at the White House since President Trump’s inauguration.

Francis Brooke, a senior energy adviser to Trump, has facilitated previous meetings and will likely lead this one, the source said.

The White House previously held a tense call with automakers in February, when it asked them to publicly back the rollback. But since then, not one company has issued such a statement of support (Greenwire, March 8).

The Trump administration is seeking to finalize the rollback by late spring or early summer. The final rule is expected to flatline Obama-era fuel economy requirements and pre-empt California from setting tougher tailpipe pollution rules than the federal government.

The Monday meeting seems aimed at ramping up the pressure on companies to embrace the final rule, particularly its pre-emption of California, the source said.

“I have to believe that they’re probably going to try to get an indication of where we are,” the person said. “Are we going to support the final rule? Are we going to support pre-emption? That is what I am preparing for.”

The administration was said to be considering the possibility of pre-empting California before issuing the final rule. But the source said Deputy Secretary of Transportation Jeffrey Rosen appears to have backed away from that idea, which would draw litigation.

The source did not know the full list of automakers invited to the Monday gathering but said Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV had already been called into the White House in recent weeks. FCA declined to comment.

White House spokeswoman Hogan Gidley didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment this afternoon.