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EPA to Rework ‘Coercive’ Obama Fuel Standards, Scott Pruitt Says

by The Daily Signal | 4.6.18

Fred Lucas @FredLucasWH / April 03, 2018


Obama administration regulations on fuel efficiency for automobiles were both unrealistic and coercive, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt said Tuesday.

“Oftentimes this agency has been used to try to be coercive and to try to pick winners and losers and advance certain outcomes in the marketplace,” @EPAScottPruitt says.

“Oftentimes this agency has been used to try to be coercive, and to try to pick winners and losers and advance certain outcomes in the marketplace,” Pruitt told The Daily Signal in an interview.

“What’s interesting about that is that it typically doesn’t work,” Pruitt said, “because consumers are not going to be coerced and are still going to continue to make decisions based on what they want. If it’s not available, they will just stay in older vehicles.”

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The EPA held an event Tuesday at its headquarters in Washington announcing completion of the midterm evaluation process for the greenhouse gas emissions standards for cars and light trucks for model years 2022 to 2025.

Pruitt said he determined that, based on recent data, the standards put in place with a climate change agenda in mind as the Obama administration exited should be revised.

The EPA will work with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to develop new emissions and fuel economy standards.

The Obama rules were counterproductive to the goal of reducing emissions, Pruitt said:

If cars are made in such a way that they are inaccessible because of price, they’re less safe, or you’re making vehicles that people just don’t want to buy, and you are just mandating a percentage of your fleet on certain types of vehicles, just to satisfy this objective, when no one is actually purchasing these vehicles. Then you are defeating the very purpose of the standards and the statutory requirements.

A coalition of conservatives sent a letter to Pruitt and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao praising the decision.

“While we believe repealing the entire program is appropriate and warranted, we are pleased that the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency, under your leadership, are taking meaningful steps to reduce the burden and irrationality of this outdated and unnecessarily complicated mandate,” the letter said.

Those signing the letter included Tom Pyle, president of the American Energy Alliance; Michael Needham, CEO of Heritage Action for America; Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform; and Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

>>> Commentary: EPA Revision of Obama Fuel Standards Will Make New Cars More Affordable

Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA sets national standards for vehicle tailpipe emissions of certain pollutants.

Through a waiver to the law granted by the EPA, states may impose stricter standards for vehicle emissions of certain pollutants than required by the federal government. So far, California has exceeded the federal standard.

Pruitt, former attorney general of Oklahoma, said he is optimistic that he can work with California to resolve his concern that the standards of one state could disrupt the manufacturing market.

“We’re going to reach out and be collaborative with California. We’ve done that consistently, but, at the end of the day, we’ve got a job to do and we’re going to do it,” Pruitt said.

“Federalism doesn’t mean that one state dictates across the country what the standard is going to be,” the EPA chief said, adding:

That’s not a national standard. That’s a state trying to use authority that’s not there under the statute. So we are going to make sure we do our work and do it well, seek a national standard, seek to harmonize these things, [and] work with states across the country, including California. But let the data, let the facts, lead us to the conclusion that matters and translates under our authority in the statute.


The Daily Signal

Written by The Daily Signal

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