OMB changes details of fuel efficiency proposal

Source: Maxine Joselow, E&E News reporter • Posted: Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The White House has altered key details of a proposal for revised clean car rules, an under-the-radar regulatory move that seems to confirm reports of an assertive rollback.

The White House Office of Management and Budget appears to have changed the title and dates in the proposal from EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Friday.

The proposal is now listed on as “2021-2026 Model Year Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards and Light-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards.”

Previously, the proposal was listed on the site and in the administration’s spring regulatory plan as “Passenger Car and Light Truck Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards MYs 2022-2025.”

OMB has been reviewing the proposal, to be made available for public comment, since the two agencies submitted it Thursday (Greenwire, May 31). serves as a clearinghouse on the status of rulemakings across government.

“The Department of Transportation updated the title in our system to accurately reflect the title of the proposed rule. This is not uncommon to correct a mistake or error upon first entry,” a spokesman for the budget office said on background.

But sources said the change could speak to the substance of the proposal.

EPA and NHTSA have been tight-lipped about the proposal’s substance while it undergoes standard interagency review. An EPA spokeswoman previously told E&E News, “As clearly laid out in EPA’s April 2018 Final Determination, EPA has worked with NHTSA to develop a joint proposed rule and that rule has been sent to OMB for interagency review. Until this process is complete, we will not provide comment on rules undergoing interagency review.”

Sources familiar with the matter, however, told Reuters that the proposal will outline a series of alternatives, and the preferred option will be to freeze fuel economy targets at 2020 levels through 2026.

Paul Billings, national senior vice president for advocacy with the American Lung Association, said the changes on appear to confirm those reports.

“I think it does signal, perhaps even confirm, the rumors and the leaks about this being a very broad rollback,” said Billings, who noticed the new details over the weekend.

This isn’t the first time observers have noticed changes on In April, OMB altered an official timeline to show that a required review of an EPA science rule was finished one day before EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt signed it (Greenwire, April 27).

“There are questions about the reliability and coherence from,” Billings said. “With the ‘censoring science’ proposal, they changed dates and backdated a completion. Here, they’re changing the title of the proposal.”

He added, “What’s going on there? This is supposed to be a process that includes interagency review and allows public participation. It seems that at least potentially, there is something that is nefarious that is going on with that process.”

EPA and NHTSA didn’t respond to requests for comment this morning.