EPA Stories August 2

Following almost two years of negotiations with the auto industry and other stakeholders, the EPA has officially proposed to freeze fuel economy standards, which could slow down electric vehicle adoption. expand full story

EPA Stories July 5

Today, in response to the myriad of self-induced scandals which have plagued him ever since he took the job, Scott Pruitt resigned his position as chief saboteur Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

He will be replaced by Deputy Administrator Andrew Wheeler as acting administrator, a former coal lobbyist who worked with Murray Energy CEO Bob Murray; was an aide for Jim Inhofe, the top climate science denier in the Senate; and who helped craft the Bush administration’s ironically-named “Clear Skies” initiative, an effort to destroy the Clean Air Act.

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EPA Stories June 19

Today, in response to the EPA’s recent rollback of agreed-upon 2022-2025 fuel efficiency standards, Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado issued an executive order for his state to develop a Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) standard similar to California’s current standard.  The executive order explicitly calls out California as a model, and notes the twelve other US states which have adopted similar programs.

Gov. Hickenlooper previously issued an executive order in 2017 for the state to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 26% by 2025.  Today’s order is one step towards that goal.

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EPA Stories May 1

In the wake of the EPA’s move last month to eliminate federal fuel efficiency standards for 2022-2025 model year cars, California has filed a lawsuit against the EPA to stop the move from happening.  The lawsuit was filed today with California Governor Jerry Brown, Attorney General Xavier Becerra, and the California Air Resources Board as plaintiffs, with 17 other states joining in.

In total, the states filing the lawsuit represent 140 million Americans and about 43% of the country’s car market.

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EPA Stories April 23

A federal court ruled today that the Department of Transportation must implement a new, inflation-adjusted fine for failure to comply with federal fuel efficiency standards.

This ruling confirms that automakers will have to pay the full, updated fine for failing to meet efficiency standards.  The Department of Transportation’s attempted rule would have let them pay less than 40% of the legally required fine.

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EPA Stories March 14

Trump’s embattled EPA head Scott Pruitt has come down on the side of polluters on just about every issue that faces the US, so it is with little surprise that in a recent interview he signaled that he may try to fight back against California’s fuel economy requirements.

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EPA Stories March 12

In a live podcast recorded on stage at SXSW, California’s former Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger told Politico that he is in talks with several private law firms to sue the oil industry for what he calls “first degree murder.”

Schwarzenegger alleges that because the oil industry has known since 1959 about the climate and health damage their products cause, they should be held liable for that damage. “I don’t think there’s any difference,” says Schwarzenegger, “If you walk into a room and you know you’re going to kill someone, it’s first degree murder; I think it’s the same thing with the oil companies.”

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EPA Stories October 10, 2017

Industry pawn Scott Pruitt, posing as the administrator of the “Environmental Protection” Agency, announced yesterday that he will end implementation of the Clean Power Plan, a course of action which will cause an additional 3,600 deaths, 90,000 asthma attacks and 300,000 missed days of work or school per year, according to his agency’s own estimates. Pruitt also suggested that solar and wind subsidies should be cut, but failed to propose ending any part of the $5.3 trillion annual global subsidy received by the large, polluting fossil fuel industry which has underwritten his political career.

Pruitt’s “reasoning” for these changes is because he does not want the government to “pick winners and losers.” But, apparently, he is fine with government picking winners as long as it’s the same historically-winning fossil industry (with 4 of the top 10 companies by revenue worldwide) which has been bribing him to do their work for decades. And he’s fine with picking losers as long as it’s the industry which he continues to quixotically fight against in his quest to eliminate green energy and worsen public health. However, the only loser in this quest will be him.

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EPA Stories October 9, 2017

In a time where a surprising number of major automakers are announcing that they believe electric cars are the future of the auto industry, we are still seeing them complaining about, and in some cases lobbying against, the fuel emission standards.

Now trade groups representing virtually the entire auto industry are again putting pressure on U.S. regulators to weaken rules that would force them to produce more electric cars. expand full story

EPA Stories April 4, 2017

The White House’s proposed EPA budget cuts nearly all of the Agency’s funding for vehicle emissions testing, as reported by Reuters.  The proposed cuts to the EPA’s budget would remove 99 percent of the agency’s $48 million in funding for vehicle testing, expecting automakers to pay increased fees to make up the difference.  But according to Margo Oge, former head of the EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality, the proposed budget would require “pretty much shutting down the testing lab.”

We have a recent example of why this is a very bad idea.  In 2015, it was discovered that Volkswagen had been cheating on emissions tests in the US and Europe for years, installing cheat devices on their diesel cars to emit up to 40 times the allowable amount of some toxic pollutants. The scandal came to be known as “Dieselgate,” and a recent MIT study found that VW’s emissions cheating would likely result in 1,200 premature deaths in Europe alone.  This deceit was uncovered by a small lab in West Virginia and the data was turned over to the EPA and CARB for enforcement. Fiat Chrysler and Mitsubishi have also been implicated in similar emissions cheating schemes, and Daimler is currently under scrutiny.

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