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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 Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer A new study from Stanford University and the University of California, San Diego reveals that plumes of smoke from wildfires in recent years threatens to undo 40 years of air quality improvements in the American West and is just as deadly as heat-related health threats. In 2020, a record-breaking […]
GM unveiled big plans at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show for electric vehicles — driverless “shuttle” vans and even – imagine this – flying cars. CEO Mary Barra, the keynote speaker, unveiled a new company logo and highlighted innovative new vehicles. The company has created a new unit called BrightDrop that will sell its EV600 […]
This year two “EVs” repeatedly made headlines — environmental voters and electric vehicles. When we look back in 2035, by which time we should have converted completely to renewable energy, 2020 could be seen as the year when the auto industry fully committed to the transition to electric vehicles and trucks.
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