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The internal watchdog (Inspector General or IG) of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced they had opened an investigation into the Safer Affordable Fuel Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles rule, Coral Davenport and Lisa Friedman reported in the New York Times last week. SAFE represented a significant weakening of Obama-era “Clean Car” regulations “that would have limited automobile emissions by significantly raising fuel economy standards,” the NYT noted. Many prominent outside experts argue the Trump rule does not “stand up to rigorous independent analysis” and want the EPA to make public the formulas and economic models they used. In addition, according to the NYT, auditors will “investigate whether the Trump administration ‘acted consistent with requirements, including those pertaining to transparency, record-keeping, and docketing, and followed the E.P.A’s process for developing final regulatory action.”
Why This Matters: As Vickie Patton, general counsel for the Environmental Defense Fund, told the NYT, “this is really serious…It’s rare for E.P.A.’s inspector general to conduct an investigation of the agency’s rule-making.” While the IG does not have the authority to change the rule, the findings of the investigation could shine a spotlight on potential procedural or substantive legal violations, spurring further Congressional investigations or providing justification to overturn the rule in court.
SAFE has had controversy surrounding it since its beginning. As Davenport and Friedman reported, Trump administration officials were “acutely aware” that a Biden administration could use the Congressional Review Act to overturn the regulation with a congressional vote. Because of that, as one former Trump administration official noted to the NYT, “political appointees working on the rule had rushed to complete it before April, fearing that, if it was published later this year, it could be quickly overturned in 2021” should Biden win.
by Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer Air pollution from animal farms leads to nearly 13,000 deaths annually, according to a new study that links food protection and air quality harms. The manure and animal feed from farms produce fine-particle pollution that leads to breathing issues as well as long-term health issues like heart disease and […]
The European Union is angling for climate neutrality by 2050, and in order to hit that target needs to ramp down its transportation emissions by about 90 percent. Trams — or what is known as light rail here in the U.S. — are having a moment as part of that planning.
Why This Matters: Lowering emissions doesn’t have to mean reinventing the wheel.
On Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed the first rule of the Biden administration to combat climate change. EPA Administrator Michael Regan has announced that the rule implementing the 15-year phase-out of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) passed by Congress last year.
Why This Matters: Although HFCs have an atmospheric lifetime of about 15 years, which is less than any other GHG, and the most common type is 3,790 times more damaging to the environment than carbon dioxide.
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