EPA Satisfied with Emissions Standards Goal; What About Trump?

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Wednesday released its proposed determination to leave unchanged the greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions standard set to take effect for light vehicles between 2022 and 2025. The proposed GHG emissions standards were developed in tandem with an Obama administration increase to proposed fuel economy standards requiring a new light-vehicle fleet average of 54.5 mpg by 2025. This so-called CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standard is likely a greater sticking point with carmakers than the emissions standards.

Earlier this month an industry group called the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers sent a letter to President-elect Trump’s transition team seeking delays in implementation of the rules they agreed to in 2012. Given the industry’s lukewarm support for Trump during the campaign, it’s not a sure thing that the carmakers will get what they want. Likely, yes; a slam dunk, no.

In Wednesday’s announcement EPA administrator Gina McCarthy said:

Given the auto industry’s importance to American jobs and communities and the industry’s need for certainty well into the future, EPA has reanalyzed these clean car standards and sought further input. It’s clear from the extensive technical record that this program will remain affordable and effective. This proposed decision reconfirms our confidence in the auto industry’s capacity to drive innovation and strengthen the American economy while saving drivers money at the pump and safeguarding our health, climate and environment.

Although President-elect Trump has not yet appointed an EPA administrator, the person he chose to lead the transition team for his environmental appointments, Myron Ebell, is described as a “climate contrarian” by opponents. On Monday Trump spoke to Kathleen Hartnett White, director of the energy and environment division of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank based in Austin.

The EPA will accept comments on the proposed determination through December 30, 2016.