Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

'Normal' is killing us.

Donald Trump is out of the White House. COVID-19 is fading, at least in wealthier nations. The world, they say, is returning to “normal.” That’s the narrative that the corporate media is selling. But there’s a problem: “normal” is destroying our planet, threatening our democracies, concentrating massive wealth in a tiny elite, and leaving billions of people without access to life-saving vaccines amid a deadly pandemic. Here at Common Dreams, we refuse to accept any of this as “normal.” Common Dreams just launched our Mid-Year Campaign to make sure we have the funding we need to keep the progressive, independent journalism of Common Dreams alive. Whatever you can afford—no amount is too large or too small—please donate today to support our nonprofit, people-powered journalism and help us meet our goal.

Please select a donation method:

"The clean car standards can limit global warming pollution by six billion tons, save consumers $1.7 trillion dollars in fuel costs, and reduce oil consumption by up to four million barrels every day," Sierra Club's Gina Coplon-Newfield observed. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr/cc)

'Among Stupidest Policies Yet Proposed,' Trump EPA to Lower Car Emissions Standards

"Weakening clean car standards is bad for the planet, public health, and the auto industry itself."

After more than a year of aggressively lobbying the Trump administration to gut Obama-era fuel efficiency standards aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emmissions, automakers are poised to finally have their wish granted on Sunday, when EPA chief Scott Pruitt is scheduled to officially declare the rules "not appropriate."

"The current iteration of fuel standards are based on sound science, which the EPA should be using to make its decision—not pressure from the auto industry."
—Natalie Nava, Greenpeace USA
As Reuters reports, Pruitt is then planning to deliver a speech on Tuesday celebrating the regulatory rollback from a Chevrolet dealership in Virginia—a fitting location, given that representatives of Chevrolet's parent company General Motors met with Pruitt frequently last year to demand less stringent fuel standards.

Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, argued that Pruitt's plan to lower emissions standards "ranks high among the stupidest policies yet proposed" by the Trump administration.

"Weakening clean car standards is bad for the planet, public health, and the auto industry itself. Ford Motor Company and other automakers...have been actively fighting the clean car standards and have been instrumental in pushing for this development," Natalie Nava, project leader at Greenpeace USA, added in a statement on Thursday. "The current iteration of fuel standards are based on sound science, which the EPA should be using to make its decision—not pressure from the auto industry."

In a tweet on Friday, Public Citizen similarly accused the EPA of "pandering to auto executives and their Washington lobbyists."

While it is not yet known what specific changes Pruitt plans to make to current fuel efficiency standards, states and environmental groups are already gearing up to challenge what is expected to be a significant rollback in court. Under the current rules, put in place in 2012, automakers would be required to "nearly double the average fuel economy of new cars and trucks to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025," the New York Times explains.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra led the opposition to Pruitt's rule changes on Friday, declaring: "California is prepared to take any steps necessary to protect our planet and people."

Though companies like Ford and General Motors have publicly expressed their "commitment to sustainability," Sierra Club's Gina Coplon-Newfield argued in a series of tweets on Thursday that their relentless push for weaker efficiency standards exposes the shallowness of their pro-environment rhetoric.

"The clean car standards can limit global warming pollution by six billion tons, save consumers $1.7 trillion dollars in fuel costs, and reduce oil consumption by up to four million barrels every day," Coplon-Newfield observed. "Ford has been working with Scott Pruitt and Donald Trump to roll these standards back to pollute our communities and increase what people pay at the pump."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Support progressive journalism.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

'We Can't Turn Our Backs': 60+ Lawmakers Demand Biden Extend Pause on Student Loan Payments

"President Biden should cancel student debt, but in the meantime he should extend the payment pause so that borrowers aren't hurt."

Jake Johnson, staff writer ·


US and Israel Vote 'No' as 184 Nations Condemn American Blockade of Cuba

"The U.N. vote... on Cuba was a chance for President Biden to show global leadership," said CodePink co-founder Medea Benjamin. "He failed miserably."

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·


With Planet's Future at Stake, Biden Told to Be Bold With Pick for Top Energy Post

"It's time to treat climate change like the emergency it is, and stop approving new fossil fuel extraction and infrastructure, reads a letter signed by over 300 climate-focused groups.

Jessica Corbett, staff writer ·


SCOTUS Solidifies Students' Free Speech Protections, Upholding Right to Say 'F**k Cheer'

"The message from this ruling is clear—free speech is for everyone, and that includes public school students."

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·


Right-Wing SCOTUS Majority Rules Union Organizing on Farms Violates Landowners' Rights

The Supreme Court "fails to balance a farmer's property rights with a farm worker's human rights," said United Farm Workers of America.

Kenny Stancil, staff writer ·