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 CarperInstead of raising the gas tax, stop wasting money on frivolous projects To stave off a recession, let's pass a transportation infrastructure bill Overnight Energy: Trump tweets he's revoking California's tailpipe waiver | Move comes as Trump visits state | California prepares for court fight | Climate activist Greta Thunberg urges lawmakers to listen to scientists 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 PruittSierra Club sues EPA over claim that climate change 'is 50 to 75 years out' EPA on 'forever chemicals': Let them drink polluted water EPA moving ahead with science transparency rule by 'early next year' MORE and Transportation Secretary Elaine ChaoElaine Lan ChaoChao met with more officials from Kentucky than any other state: report Ex-senior Trump administration official joins lobbying shop Industry spends big to sell safety of driverless cars 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.