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California Air Resources Board Chair Sounds Off On New EPA Head

Billy Wilson / Flickr

California's top pollution regulator says her agency is not changing its approach to climate change and air regulation due to the election of Donald Trump and his nominee for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. State Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols says California will continue to tighten limits on emissions, even if the EPA scales back its efforts.

President-elect Trump nominated Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to run the agency. A frequent court opponent of the EPA, Pruitt has rejected mainstream science on climate change and is expected to work to restrict the agency's environmental regulations, which he has called federal overreach. 

Nichols, a former EPA assistant administrator, says such efforts would be constrained by the Clean Air Act--a federal law the agency will still have to enforce. 

"This isn’t something a new EPA Administrator can come in and just reverse by edict," Nichols said in an interview with Capital Public Radio. "Now, a determined band of marauders who were willing to continue efforts to withdraw, repeal, and overturn every single regulation that was ever developed under the Clean Air Act, could probably do a fair amount of damage."

Nichols says even then, the state plans to continue its own regulation under the federal law.

Copyright 2016 Capital Public Radio