EPA/Transportation Announcement of California Waiver Revocation is Full of Falsehoods and Irony

How Many Misstatements Can You Find?

This morning, the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation formally announced — as expected — that the Trump Administration is revoking California’s waiver to set its own vehicle standards. Yesterday, Trump tweeted the news, coupling it with falsehoods claiming that the rollback would save lives and save consumers money.  As I blogged yesterday, both are lies.  Not to be outdone, today’s EPA/DOT press release, with statements from EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler and DOT Secretary Elaine Chao (currently under the cloud of a corruption investigation), repeats the lies and adds some new twists of its own.  Here’s an excerpt:

the proposed SAFE Vehicles Rule standards would establish attainable fuel economy and GHG vehicle emissions standards that will help ensure that more Americans have access to safer, more affordable, and cleaner vehicles that meet their families’ needs. The SAFE rule’s standards are projected to save the nation billions of dollars and strengthen the U.S. domestic manufacturing base by adding millions of new car sales. Most importantly, because newer cars are safer than ever before, the new standards are projected to save thousands of lives and prevent tens of thousands of Americans from being hospitalized by car crashes.

Not only will the cars under Trump’s proposed rule to rollback tough carbon pollution standards be cheaper and safer, they will also be cleaner!  And even though the federal government has yet to issue its own rules and has launched an antitrust investigation against the auto manufacturers, Administrator Wheeler assures us that the yanking of the waiver is  good for the automakers:   “One national standard provides much-needed regulatory certainty for the automotive industry,” he claims.

Secretary Chao adds her own false narrative about California forcing the rest of the country to follow its path: the waiver revocation is necessary because “no State has the right to impose its policies on the rest of the country.” Of course the rest of the country can choose whether to follow national standards or California standards. The Trump Administration is diminishing state choice and flexibility, not increasing it.

And then there’s the finger wagging at California, which really might be the most duplicitous and disingenuous statement in the whole press release:

The state must redouble its efforts to address the worst air quality in the United States and finally achieve compliance with EPA’s National Ambient Air Quality Standards, where for decades it has failed to address serious, severe, and extreme non-compliance status in several areas within the state.

Honestly, I don’t know how they write this stuff.  At the same time the Administration is trying to eliminate the most effective program California has to meet tough federal air pollution standards — its Zero Emission Vehicle mandate, which eliminates not some but ALL pollutants from the tailpipes of cars and trucks — EPA and DOT are scolding the state for not doing enough.  I can’t even….

If I’ve missed any more particularly egregious examples from the press release, please add them in the comments.


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Reader Comments

2 Replies to “EPA/Transportation Announcement of California Waiver Revocation is Full of Falsehoods and Irony”

  1. Let’s not focus on misstatements. Less focus on the goals of tRump and repugnicans: remove any barriers to maximum profits, people be damned. We have to fight like hell, and telling Newsom NOT to veto SB1 is a good place to fight.

  2. The EPA lacks authority to “withdraw” California’s waiver under Section 209(b) (42 USC 7543(b)) of the Clean Air Act, and its unlawful action will not create “One National Program” for auto emissions under Trump’s proposed rollback of fuel economy standards.

    Section 177 of the Clean Air Act (42 USC 7507) authorizes any state to adopt and enforce regulations that are identical to California’s, without seeking EPA approval. 12 states (Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Washington) and the District of Columbia have done so. Consequently, the EPA lacks approval authority for Section 177 state regulations, which remain in effect despite the EPA’s unlawful effort to “withdraw” California’s waiver.

    Moreover, according to Consumer Reports:

    ● The existing fuel-economy standards, which affect vehicles from model years (“MY”) 2017 to 2025,
    would net Americans $660 billion in savings relative to the standards in place for MY
    ● $460 billion of that $660 billion in consumer savings would be lost if the DOT and EPA’s
    preferred rollback is put in place for MY 2021 to 2026.
    ● Strengthening standards could save Americans an additional $40 billion on top of the
    existing benefits.
    ● The DOT and EPA’s preferred rollback would cost each MY 2026 vehicle buyer an
    average of $3,300 over the life of the vehicle.
    ● Their preferred rollback would be the equivalent of a $0.63-per-gallon gas tax on each
    MY 2026 vehicle owner.
    ● The rollback would cost buyers who finance their vehicle more in monthly costs, starting
    from the first month they own their vehicle.
    ● Over 70 percent of the costs of the rollback would fall on drivers of light trucks.3
    ● About 50 percent of the costs of the rollback would fall on used vehicle buyers.
    ● The rollback would increase oil consumption by 320 billion gallons, the equivalent of 20
    percent of the country’s proven oil reserves.
    ● The rollback will increase greenhouse-gas emissions by nearly 3 gigatonnes of carbon
    dioxide, equivalent to almost two years of emissions from the entire transportation
    ● The rollback would harm the auto industry, decreasing sales by more than 2 million
    vehicles between MY 2021 and 2035.
    ● Fuel savings of the existing rule are three times the technology investment costs needed
    to implement it.
    ● The rollback would not improve auto safety and could have a small negative impact

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About Ann

Ann Carlson is currently on leave from UCLA School of Law. She is the Shirley Shapiro Professor of Environmental Law and was the founding Faculty Director of the Emmett I…

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About Ann

Ann Carlson is currently on leave from UCLA School of Law. She is the Shirley Shapiro Professor of Environmental Law and was the founding Faculty Director of the Emmett I…

READ more