EPA Greenhouse Gas Regulation At Risk

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s historic Car/SUV standards prevent six billion metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.

President Trump’s EPA has not weakened the standards but clearly intends to do so.

If citizens don’t defend Car/SUV greenhouse gas emissions standards, our government will not.

Here’s a backgrounder from our friends at the Climate Reality Project:

History

In 2010 and 2012, the Obama EPA set the first-ever national vehicle GHG emissions standards for new cars, SUVs, pickups and minivans sold in the U.S. through 2025 with the following features:

  • “Continuous improvement” for all sizes of vehicles in every year from 2012-2025
  • By 2025, would reduce new vehicle GHG by about 45% relative to 2011 (and raise average real world fuel economy from about 21 mpg in 2011 to about 36 mpg in 2025)
  • Would save about 6 billion metric tons of CO2 over the lifetimes of the vehicles sold in the 14 years from 2012-2025
  • The standards are a critical first step, and must be strengthened, not weakened, over time in order to protect the planet for future generations
  • The standards resulted from an unprecedented consensus-building process — EPA coordinated the GHG standards with the State of California as well as with new fuel economy standards set by the Department of Transportation, and the standards were supported by nearly every major automaker and supplier, the United Auto Workers, environmental and consumer groups — and no major lawsuits were filed
  • Considered by many experts to be the single most effective action taken by any country to directly address climate change
  • Click here for the detailed rule making documents

In January 2017, the Obama EPA reaffirmed the standards through 2025

  • EPA carried out the most comprehensive federal automotive technology assessment ever over the last decade, and with DOT, has published over 10,000 pages of analysis
  • The January 2017 “Final Determination” reaffirmed that there is even more technology available, and at a lower cost, than originally projected when the standards were set, and that societal benefits far exceed costs

The standards have an incredibly successful track record over the first six years (2012-2017)

  • Sparked important technology innovation, both with gasoline and electric vehicles
  • “Free lunch” as consumer fuel savings exceed higher technology costs. If you buy with a loan, you save money each and every month
  • Sales are booming, with sales in 2015-2017 being 3 of the 4 highest sales years ever in the U.S.
  • Automaker profits and jobs are higher

At www.epa.gov/greenvehicles, EPA estimates that the standards have already saved 250 million metric tons of GHG emissions and $52 billion of gasoline expenditures for consumers (the savings will accelerate as the standards continue to strengthen and the fleet turns over)

Trump’s EPA has not yet weakened the standards, but it is now very clear that they intend to do so

  • Automakers kick-started the attack on the standards when they contacted the Trump transition team shortly after the November 2016 election and asked for a new review of the standards
  • This opened a “Pandora’s box” for the anti-government ideologues within the Administration, and several automakers (Ford and Honda have issued public statements) now regret that they opened up a process that they can no longer control
  • On April 2, 2018, the Pruitt EPA released a “revised” Final Determination that concluded that “the current standards are not appropriate and should be revised”
  • In late May, the Department of Transportation submitted a package to the Office of Management and Budget that includes a formal proposal to both weaken the DOT Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards as well as the EPA GHG emissions standards.
    • The draft package has not been released to the public, but according to press reports, as drafted, it proposes to “freeze” both the fuel economy and GHG standards at 2020 levels for 6 years, through 2026
    • It appears that DOT prepared this package with little or no input from EPA career staff, and that Pruitt intends to simply “rubber stamp” DOT’s proposal
  • Any proposal must ultimately go through a public rule making process involving publication of a formal proposal in the Federal Register, public hearings and an opportunity for written public comments, and then publication of a final rule in the Federal Register

Now, and over the next few months, is the time for the public to demand that EPA protect people who live on our planet by maintaining the critically important and successful car/SUV GHG standards.

While Scott Pruitt is gone, Trump policy will continue. To get involved in the Climate Reality Project, and help end the climate crisis, click here.

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