California is confronting the limits of its power to save federal environmental protections as Congress and the Trump administration take aim at a landmark law the state has relied on for decades to clean the air of noxious smog.
A push by Republicans to roll back parts of the Clean Air Act would affect California more than any other state, rattling its lawmakers and regulators. And their legal authority to pick up the fight against California’s smog on their own is constrained.
The House last month passed a bill fiercely opposed by doctors and public health groups, including the American Lung Assn. and the American Academy of Pediatrics, that would delay for years new anti-pollution standards aimed at ultimately preventing 160,000 childhood asthma attacks and as many as 220 premature deaths in California each year.
The Trump administration had already tried using regulatory authority to put the standards on hold for a year, but walked back that action Wednesday after California and 14 other states filed suit against the delay.
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