UAW to Congress: Don’t block EPA climate rules

Murkowski last week said her effort is on hold while she awaits the outcome of Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s (D-W.Va.) more limited plan to postpone EPA stationary source rules for two years.

Here’s the whole UAW letter:

Dear Representative/Senator:

A number of disapproval resolutions have been introduced in the House and Senate to overturn the EPA's endangerment finding on greenhouse gas emissions.  It is also possible that riders could be offered to upcoming appropriations bills in an effort to accomplish the same result.  The UAW opposes these misguided efforts and urges you to vote against any such disapproval resolutions or riders.

In our judgment, Congress should move forward to enact comprehensive climate change legislation that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  Although we recognize the difficulties involved in this effort, we believe that legislation can be crafted that will reduce global warming pollution while at the same time creating jobs and providing a boost to our economy.  In particular, we believe such legislation can help to provide significant investment in domestic production of advanced technology vehicles and their key components, as well as other energy saving technologies.  But such progress will be undermined if a disapproval resolution or rider were to overturn EPA's endangerment finding. 

The UAW understands the concerns that have been expressed about EPA attempting to use is authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from various industries.  However, we believe the best way to address these concerns is for Congress to move forward with comprehensive climate change legislation that properly balances concerns of various regions and sectors, and establishes a new coherent national program to combat climate change.

The UAW also is deeply concerned that overturning EPA's endangerment finding would unravel the historic agreement on one national standard for fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions for light duty vehicles that was negotiated by the Obama administration last year.  As a result of this agreement among all stakeholders, NHTSA and EPA are proceeding with a joint rulemaking effort that will result in significant reductions in fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 2016.  At the same time, these proposed rules will retain the structural components that Congress enacted in the 2007 energy legislation, thereby providing important flexibility to full line manufacturers and a backstop for the domestic car fleet.  Most importantly, California and other states have agreed to forgo state-level regulation of tailpipe emissions and abide by the new national standard that will be created by these NHTSA and EPA rules.  This will avoid the burdens that would have been placed on automakers if they had been forced to comply with a multitude of federal and state standards.

However, the critically important progress that was achieved with this historic agreement will be undermined if EPA's endangerment finding is overturned.   Without this finding, EPA will not be able to proceed with its current rulemaking on light duty vehicles.  If the joint rulemaking process collapses, NHTSA has indicated that it will not be able to meet the statutory timetable for implementing any fuel economy increases for the 2012 model year.  And in the absence of the EPA standard, California and other states would certainly move forward with their standards, thereby subjecting auto manufacturers to all of the burdens that the one national standard was designed to avoid. 

For all of these reasons, the UAW opposes any attempt to overturn EPA's endangerment finding, either through a disapproval resolution or through a rider.  Thank you for considering our views on this important issue.


Alan Reuther
Legislative Director