EPA to reopen emission-rule review; how important is this step? Page 2

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Donald Trump

Donald Trump

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Because Pruitt sued the EPA more than a dozen times on behalf of Oklahoma's fossil-fuel extraction industry while he was that state's attorney general, he is widely thought to have a very good grasp of its operations and guidelines.

Changes to internal procedures at Federal agencies rarely make headlines, and most readers and viewers tune them out as boring.

But with the president and the head of the EPA denying the agency's own scientifically validated conclusions about human contributions to climate change, the real danger is not the reopening of the comment period.

The day Trump was inaugurated, in fact, the White House website eliminated all references to climate change.

Instead, a page describing the new president's "American First Energy Plan" includes the following words:

President Trump is committed to eliminating harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan.

Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt, 2014

Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt, 2014

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In other words, it's what will happen inside the EPA as it eliminates programs to limit carbon emissions, rein in pollution from fossil-fuel producers, and generally work toward a more sustainable and less carbon-intensive future.

The big question will be whether—or more likely how—Pruitt goes after the EPA waivers that have allowed California to set its own, stricter emission standards since 2012.

That is likely to be the big fight, though it appears it will be only one of several likely to end up in the media and the courts over the next four years.

Note that the EPA's emission limits are often misreported as Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards, which are issued by a different agency, the NHTSA.

Starting with the 2012 emission limits, however, and at the behest of the Supreme Court, the EPA added the climate-change gas carbon dioxide to the regulated substances emitted by vehicles.

Because carbon dioxide is directly proportional to gasoline consumed, the EPA's emission limits and the NHTSA's CAFE standards had to sync up—which they have done until now.

Chrome exhaust pipe

Chrome exhaust pipe

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However, the NHTSA has not yet issued final CAFE rules for the 2022-25 period covered by the EPA's finalized rules, and it's not clear when it will do so.

That is likely to be its own battle.

Green Car Reports respectfully reminds its readers that the scientific validity of climate change is not a topic for debate in our comments. We ask that any comments that deny the accepted scientific consensus on climate change be flagged for moderation. Thank you in advance for helping us keep our comments on topic, civil, respectful, family-friendly, and fact-based.


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