Issa urges White House to delay CAFE rules

Source: Jason Plautz, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, August 23, 2012

Weeks after the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released a report accusing the administration of overstepping in setting fuel economy standards, Chairman Darrell Issa is calling on the White House to delay the release of the final rule.

In a letter to Boris Bershteyn, acting administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, the California Republican said the White House should return the rule to U.S. EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for further review.

The letter says the process leading to the standards “will have real consequences for vehicle safety, vehicle cost and consumer choice” if there is not further review.

A final rule for model years 2017-2025 establishing a standard of 54.5 miles per gallon was sent to the White House Office of Management and Budget in July and is expected out as early as this week. The rule was expected last week, but the administration delayed the release due to ongoing “interagency review.”

“While we are pleased by this additional review, we believe that this regulatory process remains a far cry from the president’s promise to make his administration ‘the most open and transparent in history,'” says the letter, which is also signed by Regulatory Affairs, Stimulus Oversight and Government Spending Subcommittee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and committee member Mike Kelly (R-Pa.).

The letter comes two weeks after Issa’s committee released a scathing report accusing the administration of strong-arming automakers, overriding safety concerns and favoring environmentalists in setting the rules (Greenwire, Aug. 10).

The White House has said the standards will save 12 billion barrels of oil by 2025 and cut more than 6 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases over the lifespan of vehicles sold between model years 2011 and 2025. The administration has also rebuffed accusations that automakers were pressured into signing off on the standards.