Dem senator urges reconsideration of Trump vehicle emissions plan

Dem senator urges reconsideration of Trump vehicle emissions plan
© Greg Nash

Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperHillicon Valley: Facebook to label 'newsworthy' posts that violate policies | Unilever to pull ads from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram | FEC commissioner steps down Senate Democrats push federal agencies to combat coronavirus scams and robocalls The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Rep. Mark Takano says Congress must extend worker benefits expiring in July; WHO reports record spike in global cases MORE (D-Del.), ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, is calling on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Transportation Department heads to reconsider changes to the nation-wide vehicle emissions standards, calling them "extreme."

In a letter sent to EPA Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOVERNIGHT ENERGY: EPA declines to tighten smog standards amid pressure from green groups | Democrats split on Trump plan to use development funds for nuclear projects| Russian mining giant reports another fuel spill in Arctic EPA declines to tighten smog standards amid pressure from green groups Trump flails as audience dwindles and ratings plummet MORE and Transportation Secretary Elaine ChaoElaine Lan Chao40 Trump-connected lobbyists secured over B in coronavirus relief for clients: report Democratic senator will introduce bill mandating social distancing on flights after flying on packed plane Sanders calls for social distancing, masks and disinfection on planes as flights operate at full capacity MORE, Carper calls the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) draft proposal, which he obtained independently, "legally questionable."

Carper says the proposal, the final draft of which isn't expected for weeks, shows a mutual determination by the EPA and the Transportation Department to weaken current fuel emissions standards.

"I write to convey my deep concerns about a draft of a proposed rule obtained by my office from a non-governmental source that seeks to dramatically weaken vehicle fuel economy and greenhouse gas tailpipe standards. The document also states that California’s authority to set and enforce its own greenhouse gas tailpipe standards (as well as that of the 12 additional states, including Delaware, that have adopted them) is preempted by law," Carper wrote.

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He said such a proposal would "harm U.S. national and economic security, undermine efforts to combat global warming pollution, create regulatory and manufacturing uncertainty for the automobile industry and unnecessary litigation, increase the amount of gasoline consumers would have to buy."

The letter follows reports late last week that the NHTSA draft outlines an alternative to the current plan determined under the Obama administration, one of which would freeze the current fuel-efficiency standards for cars and light trucks at model year 2021 levels through 2026.

The draft additionally offers seven alternative plans that would also weaken the standards, according to reports.

The EPA announced in early April that it would be reconsidering the national vehicle efficiency standards set under Obama, saying that current regulations are too burdensome and unattainable. The EPA has not yet released a new rule proposal.