EPA changes public hearings for clean cars rollback

Source: Maxine Joselow, E&E News reporter • Posted: Thursday, August 23, 2018

EPA has canceled public hearings on its rollback of Obama-era clean car rules in Detroit, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., according to a draft Federal Register notice obtained by E&E News.

Instead, EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will hold a Sept. 21 hearing in Pittsburgh and a Sept. 24 hearing in Fresno, Calif., according to the draft notice, which Bloomberg Environment first reported.

It remains unclear why the three hearings were canceled, particularly in Detroit, the historic home of the nation’s Big Three automakers. EPA didn’t respond to a request for comment this morning.

Ford Motor Co. is headquartered in Dearborn, Mich., just outside of Detroit. Ford CEO Jim Hackett previously wrote in a March blog post, “We support increasing clean car standards through 2025 and are not asking for a rollback.”

EPA and NHTSA earlier this month outlined a series of options for the car rules. The preferred option was freezing fuel economy targets at 2020 levels through 2026, rather than maintaining the year-over-year increases that automakers agreed to under President Obama (Greenwire, Aug. 2).

The agency has previously faced criticism over its scheduling of public hearings.

Three blue states — New York, Maryland and Delaware — hosted a “people’s hearing” earlier this year on the proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan.

While former EPA boss Scott Pruitt had scheduled hearings on the repeal in several cities, he had failed to schedule any hearings on the East Coast (E&E News PM, Jan. 2).

During the Obama administration, coal companies and their supporters complained about EPA not giving mining states enough attention with hearings and visits.

Regardless of the changes to the public hearings on the clean car standards, the public will have the opportunity to submit written comments on Regulations.gov once the proposal is published in the Federal Register, kicking off a 60-day notice and comment period.