Wheeler: No final decision on splitting rollback

Source: By Maxine Joselow, E&E News reporter • Posted: Wednesday, September 11, 2019

The Trump administration has not yet made a final decision on whether to divide up its rollback of Obama-era clean car standards, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said yesterday.

E&E News and other outlets reported last week that the administration was considering splitting the rollback into two main components (E&E News PM, Sept. 5).

The first component would preempt California from setting tougher vehicle emissions rules than the federal government.

The second would freeze fuel economy standards at 2020 levels through 2026, rather than increasing their stringency each year as President Obama envisioned.

While speaking at an unrelated event yesterday on animal testing, Wheeler said a final decision has not yet been reached.

“We are looking at that. It is certainly an option,” he said of issuing a separate proposal concerning preemption.

The EPA chief also cautioned, “It’s safe to say our final [rule] will not look exactly like the way we proposed it.”

The proposed rule, released in August 2018, outlined eight options for revising the car rules.

The “preferred option” included freezing fuel economy standards at 2020 levels through 2026.

Other options involved modest fuel efficiency gains.

EPA spokesman Michael Abboud referred questions to the Department of Transportation, where representatives didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.