By Andrew Linhardt, Sierra Club
Instead of protecting our climate and protecting our air clean, our health, and our communities, Donald Trump and his Dirty Deputies Andrew Wheeler and Heidi King are siding with their friends in corporate boardrooms across the country. Earlier this month, Wheeler and King announced they were slamming the brakes on the Clean Car Standards, threatening our health, jobs, and economy.
The clean car standards are the country’s largest-ever effort to reduce climate pollution, limiting carbon pollution by 6 billion tons, saving consumers $1.7 trillion dollars in fuel costs, and reducing oil consumption by up to 4 million barrels every day. That’s in addition to the positive effects the standards would have on public health. Cutting tailpipe emissions will improve air quality and help the 24 million Americans – including 6.3 million children – who suffer from asthma.
Unsurprisingly, Trump and his cronies decided that lining the pockets of big oil and auto companies was more important than our health and safety, and moved to rollback the rule.
But in true Trump Administration fashion, the rollout was a car wreck. Within hours of the announcement, experts who had been cited in the proposal said that their work had been misrepresented and misconstrued.Officials inside the EPA were warning that the proposal was filled with errors and unsupported claims.
Even more shocking, Trump’s own analysis showed that the rollback will cost 60,000 auto jobs by 2030. U.S. automakers are meeting the standards even faster than anticipated, creating thousands of jobs for Americans along the way. As the world market shifts towards efficiency, a rollback will put our automakers at a disadvantage in the global marketplace and jeopardize hard-fought industry jobs. More than 1,200 U.S. factories in 48 states employ 288,000 American workers who are building technologies that reduce pollution from cars and trucks and help meet national fuel efficiency standards — all jobs that are now under threat, thanks to the rollback.
EPA’s experts whose research and work are the basis for the current clean car standards were not involved in developing the proposal to rollback the standards. In fact, the rulemaking docket shows they strongly objectedto the analysis justifying the proposed weakening — especially the modeling assumptions the Department of Transportation (DOT) used to claim increased fatalities from cleaner cars. Documents show EPA’s experts believe DOT’s justification to be so indefensible that they asked EPA’s logo and name be taken off the analysis.
Their request was ignored.
Americans overwhelmingly oppose rolling back clean cars standards and have already submitted hundreds of thousands of comments to the EPA in support of the current standards. Almost 90 percent of Americans agree automakers should continue to improve fuel efficiency. As the Trump Administration continues to ignore the public’s concerns about rolling back strong clean cars standards, we’ll remind the EPA that we won’t stand for policies that give industry a shortcut at the expense of our environment, pocketbook, and health.