Earlier this month in a joint Federal Register notice, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT), opened a public comment period on the reconsideration of the January 2017 Final Determination for greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions standards for cars and light trucks for model years (MY) 2022-2025. The EPA is also taking comment on whether the MY 2021 standards are appropriate.
The agency is inviting the public to submit data and information that can assist in a final determination of the standards.
“We are moving forward with an open and robust review of emissions standards, consistent with the time frame provided in our regulations,” says EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “We encourage the public to submit the best available and most up-to-date information, so that we can get back on track with what the regulation actually requires of the agency. Finally, we are working with DOT to ensure that our standards are ultimately aligned.”
In March 2017, the EPA and U.S. Department of Transportation announced the Trump administration’s decision to revisit the Midterm Evaluation Process, which was established as a part of the 2012 final greenhouse-gas emissions standards for model years 2017-2025. This requires an EPA to determination no later than April 1, 2018. If the agency believes the final determination issued by the past administration is not realistic, it would submit a new proposal for public comment.
The EPA, under the Trump administration, is reopening the regulatory docket for the best available information from the public, such as consumer behavior, feedback on modeling approaches, and assessing advanced fuels technologies. The comment period will be open for 45 days after the notice is published in the Federal Register.
The EPA will also hold a public hearing for this notice, with the date and location of the public hearing to be announced in a supplemental Federal Register document.
Reactions to the announcement:
Mitch Bainwol, President and CEO, Auto Alliance:
“With this announcement, the Administration is fulfilling its commitment to reinstate the midterm evaluation of future vehicle fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards. This review is important to consumers nationwide who want government to rely on the facts to drive improvements in fuel economy. We’re delighted to see the two federal agencies align and coordinate their programs, and we thank Secretary Chao and Administrator Pruitt for working closely together to harmonize a review driven by the most current data, consumer preferences and marketplace realities. We look forward to joining in with other stakeholders, including California, to ensure this program remains a success.
Shannon Baker-Branstetter, policy counsel for Consumers Union:
"By reopening the midterm evaluation, EPA is bringing back questions that have already been asked and answered. In fact, EPA concluded a thorough assessment earlier this year that found the targets through 2025 could be met at an even lower cost than EPA had previously estimated. And by expanding the review to include Model Year 2021, EPA is opening the door even further to eroding standards beyond what was previously contemplated. If EPA goes through with its review, they should leave 2021 off the table and they must conduct a fair, transparent assessment that includes the voices of consumers. If progress toward more efficient vehicles is put in reverse, consumers are the ones who will bear the financial burden."