EPA’s Climate War Continues With Axing Fuel Efficiency Standards (Video)

One thing we can say about the current administration, normally obscure cabinet administrators are becoming household names.

Most people couldn’t name former President Barack Obama’s two education secretaries, Arne Duncan and John King. We’re all familiar with the current one, Betsy DeVos, though.

Most people couldn’t identify the last treasury secretary, Jack Lew. However, we hear a lot these days about Steven Mnuchin.

You may not know Gina McCarthy was Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head, but have probably heard lately about Donald Trump’s, Scott Pruitt.

Some are reporting Pruitt is soon to go the way of Rex Tillerson, H.R. McMaster, and the cadre of myriad Trump administration officials who have resigned or were fired since January 20, 2017

Be that as it may, while he is at the EPA’s reins, Scott Pruitt is on a mission. That mission is to eliminate consumer protections so corporate polluters are free once again to wreak havoc on our air, wind, and water for cold, hard profit.

On Monday, EPA regulators announced they would no longer rigidly enforce emissions standards for cars and trucks, arguing the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan timeline is not appropriate and standards are “too high.”

The agency claims to have reviewed standards for model years 2022-25, but stopped short of providing details, which are apparently “forthcoming.”

Current regulations require new vehicles to get 36 miles per gallon by 2025.

The agency said its justification for relaxing this is because:

“[It] presents challenges for auto manufacturers due to feasibility and practicability, raises potential concerns related to automobile safety, and results in significant additional costs on consumers, especially low-income consumers.”

The EPA states it plans on working with the the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (TSA) to create new standards.

Auto makers naturally support the EPA’s rollback, arguing current requirements cost billions.

Gloria Bergquist, vice president of communications and public affairs for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, said in a statement:

“This was the right decision, and we support the Administration for pursuing a data-driven effort and a single national program as it works to finalize future standards. We appreciate that the Administration is working to find a way to both increase fuel economy standards and keep new vehicles affordable to more Americans.”

Environmentalists argue, though, the relaxed standards will actually make cars more expensive because they will require more fuel over their lifetimes.

Environmental Defense Fund president, Fred Krupp, said:

“No one in America is eager to buy a car that gets worse gas mileage and spews more pollution from its tailpipe. Designing and building cleaner, more cost-efficient cars is what helped automakers bounce back from the depths of the recession and will be key to America’s global competitiveness in the years ahead.”

California attorney general, Xavier Becerra, said his team was reviewing the EPA’s decision and working with the California air resources board.

He stated:

“We’re ready to file suit if needed to protect these critical standards and to fight the Administration’s war on our environment. California didn’t become the sixth-largest economy in the world by spectating.”

Sen. Edward J Markey (D-Mass.), member of the environment and public works committee and chair of the Senate climate action taskforce, said present regulations are “technically feasible and economically achievable.”

He said:

Slashing these standards would amount to turning the keys to our energy policy over to big oil and the auto industry.”

Sen. Markey added that under current standards, the U.S. will save nearly 2.5 million barrels of oil a day by 2030.

It ought to come as no surprise that EPA director Scott Pruitt was personally involved in purging information from the EPA website shortly after assuming his new job last year.

In October, the EPA issued a four-year “strategy” document that conveniently omits the word “climate.”

EcoWatch reported the EPA effaced more than a dozen mentions of climate change from its website because of “the Trump administration’s ongoing efforts to pretend that climate change doesn’t exist.”

Pruitt also threatened to “purge” scientists who refuse to kowtow to the fossil fuel industry, and favors oil and gas industry representatives’ views over environmental groups’.

Imaged credit: WhoWhatWhy

Ted Millar is writer and teacher. His work has been featured in myriad literary journals, including Better Than Starbucks, The Broke Bohemian, Straight Forward Poetry, Caesura, Circle Show, Cactus Heart, Third Wednesday, and The Voices Project. He is also a contributor to Op-Ed News, Liberal Nation Rising, and Medium.