One of President Obama’s signature accomplishments was forcing automakers to boost the CAFE (corporate average fuel emission) standards to 54.5 MPG by model year 2025. Not surprisingly, the Trump administration took immediate aim on this triumph and successfully rolled it back, along with more than 100 other important pieces of environmental regulation.
Now, along comes the EPA Inspector General who is conducting an investigation to the legitimacy of the rollback, claiming that it had come almost exclusively from the Department of Transportation, and that the EPA itself was virtually shut out of the decision-making process.
From the New York Times article linked above:
The yearlong effort to write the Trump administration rule was plagued with controversy. Just weeks before the final rule was published, the administration’s own internal analyses showed that it would create a higher cost for consumers than leaving the Obama-era standard in place and would contribute to more deaths associated with lung disease by releasing more pollution into the air.
“This is really serious,” said Vickie Patton, general counsel for the Environmental Defense Fund. “It’s rare for E.P.A.’s inspector general to conduct an investigation of the agency’s rule-making.”
Multiple outside economists and public health experts have questioned the administration’s justification of the rule, saying its calculations do not stand up to rigorous independent analysis and calling on the administration to make public the formulas and economic models used to reach its conclusions.
Apparently, somewhere deep inside the federal government, someone is saying, “Hey, we can save consumers money and keep them healthier, at the same time doing something to stem the advancement of climate change. Perhaps that’s worth fighting for.”