News Releases

In new letter, Senators Murray and Cantwell push Trump Administration to allow increased public participation in consequential decision to permit lower fuel economy standards that would endanger environment, public health 

Senators: “It is critical that all Americans have the opportunity to comment on a proposal of this magnitude…[p]ublic participation is critical to our nation’s regulatory process” 

Effort follows Senate resolution introduced by Senators Murray and Cantwell to maintain current national standards

Washington, D.C. – This week, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) joined 30 Senate colleagues in a letter urging the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to extend the public comment period for the Trump Administration’s proposed rollback of the federal fuel economy and greenhouse gas emission standards. The administration’s proposal would roll back the current standards and would rescind the ability of Washington and other states to implement more stringent standards under the Clean Air Act.

“The currently allotted 60 day window for the comment period does not afford the public adequate opportunity to weigh in on the proposal,” said the senators. “To allow for increased public participation, we request that you lengthen the public comment period from 60 days to 120 days, providing all Americans with sufficient time to understand and comment on the proposed rule.”

The senators continued, “It is critical that all Americans have the opportunity to comment on a proposal of this magnitude. The proposed rule would not only impact the fuel efficiency of passenger vehicles, but it would also harm human health, increase consumer expenses, hurt the auto industry workforce, and stifle technological innovation.”

Senator Murray, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, has fought to strengthen vehicle fuel economy standards and has vocally opposed previous efforts from the Trump Administration to undermine states’ ability to improve upon the federal standards. Senator Cantwell, the top Democrat on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has also fought to increase fuel economy standards, including chairing a key Senate Commerce Committee hearing on the issue in 2006 and helping pass legislation ultimately included in the bipartisan 2007 Energy Bill that included new fuel economy standards. Last month, Senators Murray and Cantwell introduced a resolution to protect current national fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards in response to the Trump Administration’s unilateral decision to roll back these standards, despite a broad coalition of support from business, labor, consumer, and environmental groups.

The full text of the letter is available HERE and below.

 

The Honorable Andrew Wheeler                                   The Honorable Heidi King

Acting Administrator                                                       Deputy Administrator

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency                         NHTSA Headquarters
1200 Pennsylvania Ave NW                                            1200 New Jersey Avenue SE

Washington, DC 20460                                                   Washington, DC 20590

 

Dear Acting Administrator Wheeler and Acting Administrator King:  

We are writing in response to the joint proposed Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient Vehicles Rules for Model Years 2021-2026 Passenger Cars and Light Trucks (NHTSA-2018-0067/EPA-HQ-OAR-2018-0283) to voice our strong support for maintaining the current Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) and greenhouse gas emissions standards for light duty trucks and passenger vehicles, known as the One National Program. Additionally, we request that as you engage in the formal rulemaking process to amend these standards that you do so in a way that allows for increased public participation.

The currently allotted 60 day window for the comment period does not afford the public adequate opportunity to weigh in on the proposal. To allow for increased public participation, we request that you lengthen the public comment period from 60 days to 120 days, providing all Americans with sufficient time to understand and comment on the proposed rule.

We also request that the deadline for comments on NHTSA’s draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the joint proposed rule be extended from the current deadline of September 24, 2018, to align with the requested 120 day comment period. The draft EIS and the joint proposed rule are closely intertwined, yet the published joint proposed rule and all of its supporting data were not available until nearly two weeks after the comment period opened for the EIS.

It is critical that all Americans have the opportunity to comment on a proposal of this magnitude. The proposed rule would not only impact the fuel efficiency of passenger vehicles, but it would also harm human health, increase consumer expenses, hurt the auto industry workforce, and stifle technological innovation. Furthermore, a proposal of this scale – which seeks to preempt state regulations and revoke California’s Clean Air Act waiver – would benefit from the additional time and opportunity for input from stakeholders regarding the rule’s impacts on California and the 12 states and Washington, D.C. that have adopted California’s standards.

Public participation is critical to our nation’s regulatory process. Therefore, we urge you to extend the comment period from 60 days to 120 days and extend the deadline for comments on NHTSA’s draft EIS to align with the requested 120 day comment period for the joint proposed rule.