Talks to avoid a messy legal fight over California’s emissions rules appear stalled

Talks between the Trump administration and California over rules requiring automakers to steadily decrease car emissions are no closer to reaching a deal than when they began months ago, setting the stage for a protracted legal battle.

Behind the scenes, negotiations have been largely cosmetic and unproductive, according to officials in Washington and California with direct knowledge of the talks.

Unlike the Obama-era negotiations that led to the creation of national fuel efficiency and emissions standards, the current talks have lacked detailed technical analysis and regular input from the agencies’ career staff, according to the officials, who declined to be named, citing the sensitivity of the discussions.

Instead, administration officials have repeated the same set of talking points or steered the conversation to small talk, they said.

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