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In Ypsilanti, Trump tells automakers he'll review fuel standards

Mar 15, 2017

President Donald Trump says he is delivering on his campaign promise to bring auto jobs back to the U.S. 

The President spoke at historic Willow Run near Ypsilanti Wednesday.  That's where Ford Motor Company made B-24 bombers in World War II. 

Trump spoke before a mostly enthusiastic crowd of hourly and salaried employees of the Detroit Three. 

He took credit for auto jobs announced since November.  Increasingly, auto companies have made that easy for him to do, issuing press releases the day of an expected Trump speech, as GM did on Wednesday, announcing it would retain 680 jobs and add 220 new jobs.

Trump also claimed his election has prevented dark times about to descend on the auto industry. 

"Plenty of things were stopped in their tracks," he said, without specifying.  "They were stopped in their tracks.  A lot of bad things were going to happen."

Trump told the crowd he has ordered a new review of "job-killing" fuel economy regulations the Obama administration finalized in its final days in power.   The regulations are intended to reduce carbon emissions, which are largely responsible for a dangerous warming of the planet.   

The re-opening of the so-called "mid-term review" will allow automakers to continue arguing that a final 54.5 mile per gallon average (35 miles per gallon in real-world driving conditions) will be too costly.

California immediately filed a lawsuit today to fight that review, which it says could hurt both the state's environment and the global climate.

Trump's appearance was accompanied by a protest outside.  Inside, not everyone showed enthusiasm.  A number of salaried employees out of view of the cameras did not clap or cheer the speech.

And not all the hourly workers who came were Trump supporters. 

Wafa Dinaro works at the FCA Sterling Stamping plant.  She's worried because Trump and many of his appointees deny climate change.

"Scientists have again and again said that climate change is actually real and manmade," says Dinaro, "and it's our responsibility to do something about it."

Her co-worker, Sterling Assembly team leader James Ross, also didn't vote for Trump, but said he was there with an open mind, and he is pleased about the President's focus on protecting American jobs.

Preceding the speech, Trump met with UAW President Dennis Williams, GM CEO Mary Barra, and other auto company executives.