Feinstein to Chao: Maintain stringent standards

Source: Maxine Joselow, E&E News reporter • Posted: Thursday, April 26, 2018

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today urged Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to maintain the same level of stringency in revised fuel economy standards.

The letter came as sources said they expect the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to send a notice of proposed rulemaking for the clean car standards to the White House Office of Management and Budget as soon as this week.

“These standards are governed by a bipartisan act of law that I helped to write and are implemented through an agreement with my home state of California,” Feinstein wrote in the letter to Chao.

“If the Trump administration tries to weaken the current fuel economy standards or challenges California’s authority to fight for clean air, it would provoke years of litigation and investment uncertainty for the auto industry,” she wrote.

“I ask for your commitment to maintain the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards at the maximum feasible level, as required by law, and to seek consensus with California so that we can continue to enjoy the success of a coordinated national program to improve fuel economy,” the senator said.

Feinstein referenced the fact that California has a waiver under the Clean Air Act allowing it to set more stringent standards than federal ones.

EPA and NHTSA are now hammering out a proposal with the California Air Resources Board for revised clean car rules.

Six Democratic senators earlier this month held a press conference urging EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt not to roll back EPA’s rules for greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles, which are aligned with NHTSA’s corporate average fuel economy standards (E&E News PM, April 10).

Feinstein also questioned Chao about the matter at a recent hearing (E&E Daily, April 12).