2018 ALL STAR | ENVIRONMENTAL
California Air Resources Board
Mary Nichols is playing an instrumental role in how automakers will comply with emissions regulations, as the Trump administration tries to weaken emissions targets.
Nichols spent the past year negotiating with EPA and NHTSA officials on ways to tweak the corporate average fuel economy standards so automakers could achieve the high thresholds for 2022-25 model years more economically, while making it clear that California would not go along with a major rollback. CARB recently decided to decouple its standards from Washington's if the federal government makes unilateral changes, which would create a costly dual market for automakers to deal with.
Nichols, 73, and fellow state officials say they will fight in court to maintain the standards, as well as California's ability under current federal law to set more stringent air quality rules.
Nichols is also leading the agency in its quest to expand electric-vehicle adoption in California, including creating greater tax incentives for purchases and subsidies for charging infrastructure, and working with utilities and other groups to promote the benefits of EVs.