The latest local news

Sewer work to close several streets in Eldridge

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ELDRIDGE- The city has announced plans to close roads for sewer work.

The City of Eldridge would like to inform you that we are planning the following road closures for the weeks as follows.  These closures are being done to continue the sewer main expansion from the Buttermilk Treatment Plant to the South Slope Treatment Plant:

See the closures from satellite HERE:
  • 1st St (North and South bound traffic)
    • Closing week of 9/23 – 9/27
  • Intersection of Buttermilk and Lincoln Rd
    • Closing week of 9/30 – 10/6
  • Black Hawk Trail (East and West bound traffic)
    • Closing week of 10/7 – 10/13
  • Trails Rd. (half road closure at a time)
    • Working during week of 10/14

‘It can happen to anybody’: Yale grad, former Wall Street banker now homeless in Los Angeles

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LOS ANGELES – Shawn Pleasants has the kind of resume that would attract the attention of any job recruiter: high school valedictorian, economics major from Yale University, Wall Street banking jobs, small business entrepreneur. But a few wrong turns in life 10 years ago left him homeless, and today he’s living underneath a tarp in the Koreatown section of Los Angeles.

He’s been told before that a smart and capable person like him should not be in this situation.

“But I’m like, should anybody be here? Who should, then?” Pleasants said.

Last week, Trump administration officials came to Los Angeles to examine the homelessness crisis. The President, who clashes with California politicians on a number of issues, has made frequent reference to the state’s failure to solve the problem.

Trump is visiting the West Coast this week, amid reports that his administration is about to launch a crackdown on homelessness — potentially involving dismantling encampments and moving the homeless en masse into a government facility, according to the Washington Post. (It’s not clear how this would work or whether the President has the authority to order this kind of action.)

Against that backdrop, Pleasants’ story is a reminder of how complex the problem of homelessness can be. “It means it can happen to anybody. It’s a problem we all could face,” Pleasants said, standing on a sidewalk in front of his weathered belongings. A couple of unopened cereal boxes that he just collected from a food pantry sit atop his things.

“I am responsible for my own choices. I own all my decisions,” he said plainly before telling his story.

Pleasants, 52, is one of 60,000 people living on the streets of Los Angeles County. The situation has been worsening in recent years — between 2018 and 2019, the number of homeless people went up 12% in the county and 16% in the city, according to the Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count. Along LA’s skid row downtown, tents line entire blocks, and encampments in other neighborhoods have been growing.

Mike Dickerson, an organizer for the homeless advocacy group Ktown for All, says the stories of many people living on the streets might surprise you.

“I think a lot of people have this perception that danger lurks in the encampments,” he said. “And for myself and for other volunteers, what we found is people who are just people like everyone else, who have fallen into hard times, whether that’s because of their own personal issues of because their landlord evicted them or because the rent rose in a way they could no longer pay.”

One man’s journey into homelessness

Pleasants grew up in San Antonio, Texas, the product of a stable, loving family who always excelled in school, according to his younger brother, Michael.

Their mother was a teacher, while their father made a career in the Air Force.

“He was always as a young child taking things apart and putting them back together,” said Michael Pleasants, who followed his brother’s footsteps to Yale. “He was a whiz kid.”

“He (Shawn) played trombone and won several civic awards around the city.”

Pleasants also overcame a physical disability. He was born with a club foot and wore leg braces throughout his childhood, his brother said. His doctor joked he would never run a marathon. In fact, his brother said, he’s run several, and was in peak physical condition through his 20s.

Pleasants was a high school valedictorian, who had offers from multiple colleges, according to his brother.

Shawn chose Yale and said he received grants and several academic scholarships, which covered most of his tuition. CNN has verified that he graduated from the university.

He majored in economics, and after a few years toiling on Wall Street, including jobs at Morgan Stanley, he landed in California. Trying to fulfill a Hollywood dream, he started a photography and filmmaking company.

It was the mid-’90s, and as the DVD industry soon exploded, his company got involved in the then-lucrative world of the adult film industry. They made so much money that Pleasants wound up buying a large home in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles.

“It was a beautiful house, something you’d see on MTV,” said his brother.

But amid squabbles with his co-founders, the income dried up.

“By the time it was all sorted out, there was no business,” Shawn Pleasants said.

About 10 years ago, around the same time, he also lost his mother to cancer, and her death sent him into an emotional and physical tailspin.

He went from living one place to another, eventually living out of his car before he lost that as well, his brother said.

Pleasants is gay, and considers himself to be married to another homeless man he’s been with for 10 years, since before they were on the streets.

They live on the streets together, acting as a sort of team. They’ve held court on the same Koreatown sidewalks for six years.

“We’re actually in the middle of a move,” he said, explaining that some of their things are few blocks away.

He grimaced at the notion of ever going to a shelter.

“They’re always set up with such rigid protocols. I would leave the place immediately,” he said.

Pleasants believes a shelter would restrict his freedom and is concerned he wouldn’t be able to keep all of his things due to a lack of space.

“I would prefer to be somewhere where I can still go to the library and do the things I need to do when I need to do them.”

Like many of the nation’s homeless, drugs, specifically meth, are a part of Pleasants’ life.

He said he began using the drug before he became homeless, but insists it’s not what led him to the streets.

His brother says his path toward addiction began while he was recovering from a back injury before he was homeless. “It started with pain killers, and then when they were too expensive or not accessible he medicated with other things.”

Shawn Pleasants said he takes meth a few times a week as both an escape and to help him stay awake at night.

“Every time you sleep, that’s when you lose and when people come and take your things,” he said.

“I’m a heavy sleeper. I lose a lot.”

Surviving on the streets

Pleasants has both a laptop and a cell phone. The phone and its service are free under an Obama-era program. He spends a lot of time at the library, accessing the internet and staying on top of current events.

He has sustained himself by understanding the schedule of where and when to get free meals — using his natural intelligence to develop an efficient schedule.

“There’s certain churches (that provide meals), certain food pantries — you learn those schedules,” he explained.

When asked whether Pleasants suffers from mental illness, his brother said, “I think he has episodic depression. He can go through periods of extreme depression where he will self-medicate, but then he can go through periods of being equally upbeat, resilient, and energetic.”

The family has tried repeatedly to get him help, his brother said. There is a standing offer for him to move in with his 86-year-old father in San Antonio. Long-term, they would like to see him find an affordable option close to them — perhaps through a government assistance program.

But Pleasants is defiant.

“I am not trying to bring another family member down,” he said.

“I fell into it. I have to climb my way out of it.”

The fact that he graduated from an Ivy League school, owned a house and made a nice living, he said, should not come as a shock.

Gesturing to a nearby tent encampment, he said, “You’ll find musicians, there’s a photographer, you’ve got all different types of people.”

Dickerson says that to get people off the streets, more affordable housing needs to be created.

“I think people point to things like mental illness or like drug abuse, which do exist in this population, but they aren’t the primary problem,” he said.

“The idea that we’re going to force people into a facility that’s probably located in a very remote area is not a solution. That’s not going to connect people to jobs, to housing, to services (like) mental health and addiction treatment.”

“And more importantly, putting thousands of people into a giant building isn’t going to get them housed if there’s nowhere for them to permanently live that they can afford,” he added.

Pleasants said more practical measures such as bathing facilities are desperately needed.

“We need places to shower, if you don’t want us to have hygiene issues,” he said. “And in order to get a job, we need to have clean clothes. Where do I iron? How do I keep them pressed?”

When asked how he’ll eventually find his way out of this life, Pleasants expressed the kind of confidence that originally made him a standout.

“I’m gonna start a small business again,” he said, flashing a smile.

Intense doorbell camera footage captures sound of pit bulls attacking man and his dog

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SALT LAKE CITY — Security camera footage shows the owners of two pit bulls walking by minutes after you hear the dogs attack a man and his dog.

Gary, who asked KSTU to not disclose his last name, was walking his dog Daisy last week around midnight when he saw two pit bulls running toward him.

The dogs attacked, and in intense security camera video, you can hear Gary screaming for help.

“It’s terrifying, I felt helpless,” Gary told KSTU. “They were both so strong and so fast, and I just was trying to buy time until someone could get there.”

Holding on to hope that someone would help him, Gary said eventually the owners of the pit bulls jumped in and pulled the dogs off of him and Daisy.

Gary then ran to his house and called the police.

“Daisy got bit pretty bad,” Gary said. “She wasn’t able to walk. I had to carry her back home.”

Unable to sleep that night, Gary took Daisy to the vet where they both got rabies shots and were prescribed antibiotics.

Now, almost a week later, the teeth marks are still visible in Gary’s thigh and side, and he’s searching for the owners of the two pit bulls.

“Those dogs were not trained or socialized properly,” he said. “They were an absolute danger to other people and other animals.”

If they had been on a leash, Gary said the attack would have never happened.

Idea of a Princess Bride remake has people crying ‘Inconceivable!’

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“The Princess Bride” is fine just the way it is, thank you very much.

After Sony Pictures Entertainment chief executive Tony Vinciquerra mentioned the idea of a reboot to Variety in a profile on the film’s executive producer, Norman Lear, people on Twitter were quick to respond.

“We have so many people coming to us saying, ‘We want to remake this show or that show,'” Vinciquerra said. “Very famous people whose names I won’t use, but they want to redo ‘The Princess Bride.'”

Cary Elwes, who plays the film’s hero, Westley, said it would be a shame to remake the 1987 comedy.

“There’s a shortage of perfect movies in this world,” Elwes wrote in a Tweet. “It would be a pity to damage this one.”

Jamie Lee Curtis, who is married to “The Princess Bride” actor Christopher Guest, had her own opinion.

“Oh really? Well, I married the six fingered man, obviously why we have stayed together for 35 years and there is only ONE The Princess Bride and it’s William Goldman and @robreiner’s,” she wrote. “‘Life is pain highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something!'”

Seth Rogen assured a commenter who suggested he was behind a remake that he was not, and would never consider it.

“I would never dare,” he tweeted.

Fans defended the original too, with many people crying outrage over the idea of a remake even being suggested.

Australian hiker rescued after crawling with broken leg for two days

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An experienced Australian hiker crawled for two agonizing days, carrying his broken leg, to find help after falling down a waterfall during a solo mountain hike.

Neil Parker, 54, was hiking on Mount Nebo, northwest of Brisbane, on Sunday when he tumbled six meters from the top of a waterfall, fracturing his leg and wrist.

Parker splinted his shattered leg with hiking sticks before crawling for two days to find a clearing, where he hoped he would be spotted by emergency services.

“I had to carry my leg, and it was very heavy,” he told reporters from a hospital bed on Wednesday. “I had a bandage on my elbow so I could use my elbow and scrambling, lifting, inch by inch.”

The seasoned hiker said that he had to move slowly because of the immense pain. “I was constantly struggling… I got about a meter and a half each time each time before I had to stop and take a break,” he said.

For two days, he barely slept but drank water from a creek and had some food supplies. The weather at Mount Nebo was largely clear during his ordeal, with daytime temperatures around 31 degrees Celsius, (87.8 Fahrenheit) falling to as low as 6 degrees (42.8F) overnight.

Parker said thoughts of his family kept him going — no one knew where he was and he worried that in the dense bush he would never be found.

“I was getting very emotional thinking it’s not a nice way to die laying here waiting, waiting. I just thought I’d hope to go to sleep and I wouldn’t wake up again.”

A rescue helicopter eventually saw him on Tuesday afternoon. Tied to a stretcher, he was winched on board and flown to a hospital for treatment, the Queensland Government Air Service posted on Facebook.

“(The) first thing I thought of (when rescued) is I’m not going to die out here, I’m going to live and it’s all through what I’ve been trained to do, what I’ve learned and the experience people have given me that made a difference.”

An experienced guide

Parker is an experienced guide with the Brisbane Bushwalkers Club, which promotes hiking in the Australian state of Queensland.

Stephen Simpson, who heads the club, told CNN that Parker had been a “trained leader” with the club for seven years. He said that Parker was “very capable and competent,” but did not follow club guidelines when he ventured to the mountain by himself on Sunday.

“Normally, we recommend walking with a minimum of four people,” Simpson said, as that would allow the team to have enough people to stay with the injured person while also seeking outside help.

Parker said he had only intended to go out for three hours to assess the walk — he had no idea it would turn into two days.

Simpson said as soon as the club heard that one of its members was missing it arranged a search party in the mountain. “The fact that he has been found alive after 48 hours — which is a long time — is worth celebrating,” he added.

Simpson advised future hikers that they should always inform someone where they plan to go, and carry navigation equipment to reduce the risk of getting lost.

Lying on a hospital bed, Parker agreed that hikers should avoid the mistake of going hiking alone.

“Preparation is the key, knowing and understanding what the terrain is,” Parker said. “But there are sporting activities you should never do by yourself.”

“Simply don’t go alone.”

Using hand sanitizer may be giving you a false sense of security

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(CNN) — Achoo!

As you reach for a tissue and blow your nose you notice your coworkers recoiling in horror, so you make a reassuring pump of the hand sanitizer.

“See, I’m protecting you!” you want to say to them as you rub the translucent goop across your hands.

But are you really protecting them? A new study shows that quickly smearing an ethanol-based hand sanitizer onto your hands probably won’t kill those cold and flu bugs. According to the study, it’s because your fingers are still wet with mucus.

Japanese researchers dabbed wet mucus harvested from people infected with influenza A onto the fingertips of 10 plucky volunteers and then applied hand sanitizer.

The ethanol didn’t kill the flu virus, even when the sanitizer was left on their fingers for a full two minutes. It took four minutes to fully deactivate the virus so that it wasn’t infectious.

A contradictory result

The results of this new study are in contrast to many previous studies that show ethanol-based disinfectants are quite effective against the spread of germs.

“In our studies hand sanitizers worked pretty darn good compared to soap and water,” said microbiologist Dr. Charles Gerba, a professor at the University of Arizona who is more commonly known as “Dr. Germ” for his work on infectious microbes.

“The reason why is most people don’t wash their hands enough to kill the germs,” Gerba said. “We’ve done surveys and watched people and timed them. It comes out to only 11 seconds. So nobody really does it long enough.”

Another reason for the contradictory results, according to study co-lead Dr. Ryohei Hirose, is because most prior studies tested the use of the sanitizers on flu virus that had dried on the hands, instead of the wet mucus that microbes need to grow and spread.

In this new study, published Wednesday in the journal mSphere, it was the thick consistency of the mucus that protected the virus for so long, according to Hirose, who is a molecular gastroenterologist at Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine in Japan.

In fact, when Hirose and his colleagues had volunteers rub sanitizers on fingertips with fully dried mucus (which took a half hour to dry in their tests), the flu virus was killed within 30 seconds of application.

However, Hirose plans to look at the impact of more intensive rubbing on flu viruses in further research. It may be that just the act of rubbing could help kill the pesky germs.

“The effect of antiseptic hand rubbing on infectious mucus may be higher than the results of our study,” Hirose said. “We are verifying the scientific significance of the act of hand rubbing in order to propose the best regimen.”

What works, wet or dry

The study also found washing hands in running water for 30 seconds killed both wet and dry flu-infected mucus.

So the next time you sneeze or cough in front of phobic co-workers, do what the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests and wash your hands right away — the right way:

  • Wet your hands with clean running water and apply soap to a lather
  • Scrub all surfaces: palms, backs, fingers, between fingers, under nails
  • Scrub for 20 seconds (that’s the time it takes to sing ‘Happy Birthday” twice)
  • Rinse under clean, running water, dry hands with clean towel or air dry

Oh, and tell your co-workers to go do the same.

Head in the Clouds Podcast: Climate Change, “Alert Days”, and Communicating Weather Threats

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On this episode of Head in the Clouds Eric Sorensen joins us to talk about his recent trip to the National Weather Association Conference, why “Alert Days” are silly, and why more Meteorologists in the broadcast field need to be honest with their followers about climate change.

Have an idea for a future show topic? Simply send me an email!

Meteorologist Andrew Stutzke

Download the News 8 Weather App — for iOS, click here and for Android, click here

Download the free News 8 App — for iOS, click here and for Android, click here

New ‘blackest black’ material can cloak even this bright, sparkling diamond

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MIT engineers have created a material that is 10 times blacker than anything else ever been reported, the school announced. (Diemut Strebe/MIT)

MIT engineers have created a material that is 10 times blacker than anything else ever been reported, the school announced.

The material is made from vertically aligned carbon nanotubes, or CNTs, which are microscopic filaments of carbon. (Think a fuzzy forest of tiny trees.) The team grew them on a surface of chlorine-etched aluminum foil.

The foil captures at least 99.995 percent of any incoming light. This means the material reflected 10 times less light than all other superblack materials, including Vantablack that previously claimed the title as the world’s “blackest black.”

Researchers published their findings in the journal “ACS-Applied Materials and Interfaces” last week.

This new material can obscure anything, no matter what angle it’s viewed from. So if a diamond were covered in it, its rigid features would be invisible.

People can see the cloak-like material for themselves as part of “The Redemption of Vanity,” a new exhibit at the New York Stock Exchange.

The artwork features a 16.78-carat natural yellow diamond from LJ West Diamonds that is estimated to be worth $2 million. The team coated the diamond with the ultrablack material, making the typically brilliantly-faceted gem appear as a flat, black void.

The art project was conceived by Diemut Strebe, an artist-in-residence at MIT in collaboration with Brian Wardle, an MIT professor of aeronautics and astronautics, and his team.

“The unification of extreme opposites in one object and the particular aesthetic features of the CNTs caught my imagination for this art project,” Strebe said in a statement.

Wardle said the material can have use aside from its artistic value.

“There are optical and space science applications for very black materials, and of course, artists have been interested in black, going back well before the Renaissance,” Wardle said in a statement.

A coincidental surprise

Wardle and his co-author of the paper Kehang Cui, a professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, weren’t trying to create an ultrablack material. They were experimenting ways to grow carbon nanotubes on electrically conducting materials, such as aluminum, to boost their thermal and electrical properties.

“Our group does not usually focus on optical properties of materials, but this work was going on at the same time as our art-science collaborations with Diemut, so art influenced science in this case,” Wardle said.

Wardle and Cui have applied for a patent on the technology. For now, they are making the new CNT process freely available to any artist to use for a noncommercial art project.

While their CNT material holds the record, Ward said the blackest black is a constantly moving target.

“Someone will find a blacker material,” he said, “and eventually we’ll understand all the underlying mechanisms, and will be able to properly engineer the ultimate black.”

The US Navy finally admitted these UFO videos are the real deal

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(CNN) — The US Navy has finally acknowledged footage purported to show UFOs hurtling through the air. And while officials said they don’t know what the objects are, they’re not indulging any hints either.

The objects seen in three clips of declassified military footage are “unidentified aerial phenomena,” Navy spokesperson Joe Gradisher confirmed to CNN.

The clips, released between December 2017 and March 2018 by To The Stars Academy of Arts & Sciences, appear to show fast-moving, oblong objects captured by advanced infrared sensors.

In footage from 2004, sensors lock on a target as it flies before it accelerates out of the left side of the frame, too quickly for the sensors to relocate it.

Two of the videos, both from 2015, contain audio from US fighter pilots attempting to make sense of what they’re seeing.

“It’s a f****g drone, bro,” a pilot says to his colleague in the first clip.

“My gosh! They’re all going against the wind.”

“Look at that thing, dude!”

Gradisher said the Navy’s transparency about unidentified aerial phenomena, or UAP, is largely done to encourage trainees to report “incursions” they spot in the airfield, which threaten pilots’ safety.

“This is all about frequent incursions into our training ranges by UAPs,” he said. “Those incursions present a safety hazard to the safe flight of our aviators and the security of our operations.”

The public clips capture just a fraction of the frequent incursions Navy training ranges see, he said.

“For many years, our aviators didn’t report these incursions because of the stigma attached to previous terminology and theories about what may or may not be in those videos,” he said.

The only way to find out what those UAP are, he said, is to encourage trainees to report them when they see them.

UPS uniforms are getting a redesign

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(CNN) — UPS’ familiar brown uniforms are getting their first major redesign since 1925.

The company’s 125,000 global delivery workers will soon have new clothing options in performance fabrics, adorned with an enlarged UPS logo. The fashion update will involve only new styles–there will be no change to the uniform’s ubiquitous brown color.

Referring to its drivers as “industrial athletes,” UPS said in a statement that the newly refreshed uniforms would improve their “comfort, safety and performance.”

Drivers can now wear a pullover polo-style shirt or a short-sleeve shirt that is made from moisture-wicking fabric for sweat.

Employees’ pants will have a lower waist for a less boxy and modern fit. The brown UPS baseball cap will be made from a “heat-regulating mesh material” instead of plastic.

Last year, UPS came under scrutiny for not having air conditioning in its trucks. Nearly one million people signed a petition demanding UPS make changes.

The company said such a move would would be ineffective. “Our delivery vehicles make frequent stops and the entry doors and rear doors are frequently opened and closed throughout the day,” UPS previously told CNN.

The new uniforms will also try to address safety concerns. The redesigned shirts have a slightly larger logo on the front and back that is stitched with “reflective technology to make employees significantly more visible in poor light conditions,” UPS said.

The company is calling the uniform changes the “most significant” since drivers were allowed to wear shorts in 1991. Before that, short sleeves and baseball caps were introduced in 1968. UPS drivers have been wearing a version of the current uniform for 96 years.

The redesigned uniforms are being phased in and are provided free of charge to employees.

Employees can also still wear the old uniforms if they want, the company said. Discarded old uniforms will be recycled.

Trump bars California from setting stricter fuel standards

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that his administration is revoking California's authority to set auto mileage standards stricter than those issued by federal regulators, a move critics said would result in less fuel efficient cars that create more planet-warming pollution.

In a tweet, Trump said his action would result in less expensive, safer cars. He also predicted Americans would purchase more new cars, which would result in cleaner air as older models are taken off the roads.

The Trump Administration is revoking California’s Federal Waiver on emissions in order to produce far less expensive cars for the consumer, while at the same time making the cars substantially SAFER. This will lead to more production because of this pricing and safety......

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 18, 2019

"Many more cars will be produced under the new and uniform standard, meaning significantly more JOBS, JOBS, JOBS! Automakers should seize this opportunity because without this alternative to California, you will be out of business," Trump tweeted.

U.S. automakers contend that without year-over-year increases in fuel efficiency that align with global market realities their vehicles could be less competitive, potentially resulting in job losses. However, most of the industry favors increases in standards that are less than the Obama-era requirements, contending that consumers are buying less-efficient SUVs and trucks instead of more efficient cars.

Top California officials and environmental groups pledged legal action on Wednesday to stop the rollback.

"You can't get serious about climate change unless you are serious about vehicle emissions, said California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat. "This is such a pivotal moment in the history of the climate change debate."

It's not clear yet what the Trump administration will propose as its final fuel-efficiency rules, but in the past it has favored freezing Obama-era mileage standards at 2021 levels. Under the Obama administration requirements, the fleet of new vehicles would have to average 30 mpg in real-world driving by 2021, rising to 36 mpg in 2025. Currently the standard is 26 mpg.

Under Trump, the Environmental Protection Agency contends that freezing the fuel economy standards will reduce the average sticker price of new vehicles by about $2,700 by 2025, though that predicted savings is disputed by environmental groups and is more than double the EPA estimates from the prior administration.

Trump's tweet does not address the money consumers would save at the gas pump if cars got better mileage. A study released by Consumer Reports in August found that the owner of a 2026 vehicle will pay over $3,300 more for gasoline during the life of a vehicle if the standards are frozen at 2021 levels.

Trump's claim that his proposal would result in a cleaner environment is contrary to his own administration's estimate that by freezing economy standards U.S. fuel consumption would increase by about 500,000 barrels per day, a 2% to 3% increase. Environmental groups predict even more fuel consumed, resulting in higher pollution.

The administration argues that lower-cost vehicles would allow more people to buy new ones that are safer, cutting roadway deaths by 12,700 lives through the 2029 model year. But Consumer Reports says any safety impact from changes in gas mileage standards is small and won't vary much from zero.

Trump traveled to California for a one-day visit that included GOP fundraising events near San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego.

California's authority to set its own, tougher emissions standards goes back to a waiver issued by Congress during passage of the Clean Air Act in 1970. The state has long pushed automakers to adopt more fuel-efficient passenger vehicles that emit less pollution.

California has 35 million registered vehicles, the most of any state. A dozen other states and the District of Columbia also follow California's fuel economy standards.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said the Trump administration's action will hurt both U.S. automakers and American families. He said California would fight the administration in federal court.

"You have no basis and no authority to pull this waiver," Becerra, a Democrat, said in a statement, referring to Trump. "We're ready to fight for a future that you seem unable to comprehend."

Trump's Justice Department recently opened an antitrust investigation into a deal between California and four major automakers for tougher pollution and related mileage requirements than those sought by the Trump administration.

The deal struck in July between California and four of the world's largest automakers — Ford, Honda, BMW and Volkswagen — bypassed the Trump administration's plan to freeze emissions and fuel economy standards adopted under Obama at 2021 levels.

The four automakers agreed with California to reduce emissions by 3.7% per year starting with the 2022 model year, through 2026. That compares with 4.7% yearly reductions through 2025 under the Obama standards. Emissions standards are closely linked with fuel economy requirements because vehicles pollute less if they burn fewer gallons of fuel.

The U.S. transportation sector is the nation's biggest single source of planet-warming greenhouse gasses.

In a speech to the National Automobile Dealers Association on Tuesday, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler told that California will be able to keep in place and enforce programs to address smog and other forms of air pollution caused by motor vehicles. But fuel economy has been one of the key regulatory tools the state has used to reduce harmful emissions.

Environmentalists condemned the Trump administration's move, which comes as gasoline prices have crept higher following a weekend drone attack that hobbled Saudi Arabian oil output.

"Everyone wins when we adopt strong clean car standards as our public policy," said Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense Fund. "Strong clean car standards give us healthier air to breathe, help protect us from the urgent threat of climate change and save Americans hundreds of dollars a year in gas expenses."

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