September 10, 2018

Harris, 31 Senate Lawmakers Urge EPA to Extend Comment Period for Proposed Rollback of Fuel Economy Standards

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris led 31 Senate lawmakers in a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration urging them to extend the public comment period for the Trump Administration’s proposed rollback of the federal fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards. The Administration’s proposal would roll back the current standards, known as the One National Program, and withdraw California’s Clean Air Act waiver which enables the state to set its own higher standards that other states can adopt.

“It is critical that all Americans have the opportunity to comment on a proposal of this magnitude,” said the senators. “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.

The senators continued, “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.”

Last month, Senators Harris and Dianne Feinstein introduced a resolution supporting the One National Program and asserting California’s authority to set its own tailpipe emissions standards, which was accompanied by a companion resolution led by Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA) in the House of Representatives.

In addition to Harris, the letter was joined by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Ed Markey (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Tina Smith (D-MN), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Patty Murray (D-WA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tom Carper (D-DE), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Chris Coons (D-DE), Bill Nelson (D-FL), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).

Full text of the letter below and available here.

September 10, 2018

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.

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