Automakers ask EPA head to withdraw Obama-era emissions standards

Automakers ask EPA head to withdraw Obama-era emissions standards
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The auto manufacturers’ lobby is pushing the new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head to withdraw an Obama administration decision locking in strict vehicle emissions standards.

The Auto Alliance argued in a letter to EPA Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittZinke under federal investigation for speech to NHL team: report Overnight Regulation: Senate panel approves driverless car bill | House bill to change joint-employer rule advances | Treasury to withdraw proposed estate tax rule | Feds delaying Obama methane leak rule Overnight Energy: Dems take on Trump's chemical safety pick MORE released Wednesday that the Obama administration acted improperly when it decided last month that the greenhouse gas emissions standards plan set in 2012 can go forward through 2025.

The Auto Alliance wrote that the January decision “may be the single most important decision that EPA has made in recent history,” and asked that it be reversed “to remedy the severe procedural and substantive defects that have infected the process to date.”

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The letter came days after Pruitt was confirmed by the Senate.

In his January confirmation hearing, he promised that he would “review” the Obama administration’s decision for potential changes. And President Trump promised last month in a meeting with automaker executives that he would reduce regulations that affect the industry.

Automakers have long complained that the 2012 standards on emissions and related standards on fuel economy are too strong and would be too costly to keep implementing for both for companies and consumers. They are asking the Trump administration to weaken them.

The plan envisions an average fuel economy of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.

The Auto Alliance said it only agreed to the aggressive 2012 plan under the condition that the federal government undertake a thorough review in 2018 into whether those standards are still appropriate.

The association told Pruitt that the EPA rushed the review to get it out before Obama left office, and asked him to reopen it.

“We urge EPA to reconsider imposing such a far-reaching mandate on an entire industry without adequately considering the consequences, and without giving stakeholders and meaningful opportunity to comment,” the auto group said.

Environmental and consumer groups have applauded the existing regulations, saying they save consumers money while cutting down on harmful emissions.

Since the 2012 regulations were previously made final, any attempt to change them would require a comprehensive regulatory process.