United Auto Workers: Upton bill could hobble fuel economy standards

The bill would “cause confusion and almost certainly litigation over the question whether the EPA-NHTSA [National Highway Traffic Safety Administration]model year 2012-2016 light duty vehicles standard remains enforceable after the removal of the legal underpinning for EPA’s regulation of GHGs,” UAW said in a letter sent to House lawmakers Monday.

Rep. Henry Waxman (Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has raised similar concerns about the bill’s affect on EPA’s 2012-2016 fuel standards.

But Republicans have insisted that the legislation would not hobble the standards.

EPA worked with a wide cross-section of interests, including UAW, to develop the standards. President Obama has touted the standards as a model for working with industry to develop compromise regulations.

The Upton bill to block EPA’s climate rules passed the House Energy and Commerce Committee last month, and a floor vote is expected this week. The bill is expected to easily pass the chamber.

The bill would prevent EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources like power plants and refineries. It would also prohibit EPA from developing new fuel economy standards for model year 2017-2025 light-duty car and trucks.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has offered companion legislation authored by Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) as an amendment to a small-business bill. A vote on the amendment was expected last week, but was delayed. The vote on the amendment could come this week, but the proposal faces major hurdles in the Senate.