Automakers Push New EPA Chief to Withdraw Obama Emissions Regulations

Obama's stringent emissions regulations could result in 1 million job losses, automakers claim. 

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On Tuesday, a trade group representing 12 automakers—including Toyota, Volkswagen, and General Motors—asked new EPA chief Scott Pruitt to back out of a decision set forth by former president Barack Obama that locks in emissions regulations until 2025, Automotive News reports.

Obama's EPA Administrator, Gina McCarthy, set the decision in place—a ruling mandating that fuel efficiency standards Obama instituted would remain active until 2025—on January 13th, in an effort to help Obama's environmental protection legacy live on. (The particular ruling required that fuel efficiency standards be set at 54.5 miles per gallon.)

Now, the CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Mitch Bainwol, has written to the new EPA chief expressing his concern over the decision—specifically, that it is "the product of egregious procedural and substantive defects." He added, "[It's] riddled with indefensible assumptions, inadequate analysis and a failure to engage with contrary evidence."

Pruitt isn't the only one getting letters asking him to change his mind. Chief executives at Ford, Fiat Chrysler, and General Motors, as well as North American executives from Hyundai, Nissan, Volkswagen, Toyota, and Honda, have written to President Trump as well, asking him to address Obama's emissions decision.

Automakers aren't so keen on meeting stringent regulation standards because, they claim, it will hurt their businesses—their reasoning being that higher fuel efficiency numbers require more intense engineering, which will drive up the prices of their cars. They even claims Obama's rules could cost one million automotive jobs.

Despite the potential loss, McCarthy said in January that the rules are "feasible, practical and appropriate." Pruitt has recently mentioned he will address Obama's decision, but given Trump's determination to extirpate the work of the past administration, it seems possible the EPA will eventually retract the decision.