The Trump administration is set to begin the process of rolling back carbon pollution standards from the Obama era. After meeting with automakers in Detroit, Trump asked the Environmental Protection Agency to begin reviewing the efficiency standards.
“These standards are costly for automakers and the American people,” said Scott Pruitt, Trump’s EPA administrator. The move will satisfy automakers who say the standards are hard to achieve and run counter to American’s demand for larger, less efficient vehicles.
“We will work with our partners at the department of transport to take a fresh look to determine if this approach is realistic. This thorough review will help ensure that this national program is good for consumers and good for the environment.”
The standards were a cornerstone of President Barack Obama’s efforts to address climate change.
Part of a deal with automakers made in 2012, the standards call for cars to run 54.4 miles per gallon by 2025, an increase from 27.5 miles per gallon. These standards would reduce fuel usage by 2 million gallons per day by 2025. In January, the EPA said carmakers were “well positioned” to produce cars that would meet the standards. Trump’s new directive to the EPA will order a review of that finding.
According to the White House, the new review will “rely on the best available data and information, which the previous administration ignored.”
An anonymous White House official speaking ahead of the announcement, said automakers felt the Obama administration’s EPA “shoved it down their throats,” and called for new standards to be established.
The official added:
“The process was very short-circuited. There was a lot of data that was submitted, and I think it is fair to say the Obama EPA just ignored it.”
After meeting with companies including General Motors, Fiat, and Ford, Trump said he would “bring a lot of jobs back to Michigan and Ohio and Pennsylvania.”
The Obama-era standards had been forecast to save, on average, $8,000 on gasoline costs for each new car, so the move would cost the driving public.
Environmental groups said the reversal of the standards would irreparably hurt the environment, and exacerbate climate change. Michael Brune, executive director of environmental group, the Sierra Club, said:
“We need to put clean car standards in the fast lane to keep our air clean and our climate safe. Donald Trump and the automakers are endangering the health of our children and families by abolishing lifesaving vehicle emissions protections that cut down on dangerous smog pollution and asthma attacks.”