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EPA poised to announce rejection of Obama vehicle fuel efficiency rules

(Reuters) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is expected to use a Virginia car dealership on Tuesday as the setting to tout its rejection of the Obama administration’s landmark vehicle fuel efficiency rules, a move that could put automakers in the middle of a battle between the Trump administration and California.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt speaks during a meeting held by U.S. President Donald Trump on infrastructure at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 12, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt plans to sign a declaration by Sunday that the Obama administration’s vehicle efficiency rules for 2022 through 2025 are “not appropriate” and must be revised, Reuters reported last week.

Pruitt is expected to speak at an event at a Chevrolet dealership in suburban Washington and will joined by groups representing dealers and automakers, according to people familiar with the plans.

The state of California, which has the power to effectively create its own fuel economy standards, several allied states and environmental groups are gearing up for a legal and political fight over the rules, aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions from new cars and trucks.

California Air Resources Board chair Mary Nichols said in January the board does not believe the standards should be lowered. Pruitt was in California earlier this week, but did not meet with Nichols.

Two administration officials and several automakers told Reuters the timing of proposing specific revisions to existing fuel economy standards and emissions limits remains in flux. EPA officials suggested a detailed proposal could come in late May or June, while the Transportation Department is pushing for a speedier proposal, automakers and officials said.