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Author Topic: Fossil Fuels: Degraded Democracy and Profit Over Planet Pollution  (Read 23410 times)

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April 6, 2018

For the EPA, Denier Science is A-OK to Roll Back Clean Car Standards

The EPA has the authority to decide whether the Obama era Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards are appropriate. Suprising few who have been following Trump’s denier-filled swamp, on Monday, the agency officially declared “no.”

We’ve known for some time that the EPA would challenge the current CAFE standards, which call for passenger cars for model years 2022-25 to meet a fleet average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. Less of a given were the reasons the EPA would cite for the rollback.

The EPA expressed concern this week for consumer cost, choice, and safety, but the agency’s decision comes after months of lobbying on the part of the Auto Alliance. Since Trump took office, the Auto Alliance — which represents 12 major automakers and 70% of all car and light truck sales in the U.S. — has been pestering the administration to rollback current CAFE standards.

A month into the Trump 🦀 administration, the CEO of the Auto Alliance, Mitch Bainwol, filed a request with Administrator Pruitt to let the EPA know the Alliance’s strong preference that the CAFE standards be deemed inappropriate at the midterm evaluation, which is what transpired this past Monday.

In February 2018, the Alliance submitted a report — written by industry shills with ties to the Heartland Institute and General Motors — to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which is responsible for proposing new CAFE rules. The report called into question the impacts of climate change and tailpipe pollutants in an effort to undercut the need for fuel economy regulation.

The Union of Concerned Scientists has a great summary of the strategy the Alliance report used to mislead on the science. Some highlights:

֍ The papers cited to support weakening environmental protections are often paid for by industry and/or published in journals with weak peer-review standards and disclosure policies.

֍ Two authors cited by the Alliance (Stanley Young and Tony Cox) are now in advisory roles for the EPA as part of the administration’s move toward soliciting their advice from industry-funded scientists.

֍ The report cherry-picks studies to weaken the case for acting on climate and reducing emissions from vehicles, either by selecting outliers or misconstruing the findings of the research.

This week, in response to EPA’s CAFE standard decision, prominent news outlets devoted editorial space to some of the same industry shills promoting automakers interests.

Marlo Lewis 👹 of the Competitive Enterprise institute 😈has an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle arguing that “cutting tailpipe emission [is] not that effective against global warming.”

Sam Kazman  of CEI and Heartland 😈has an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal where he tries to make the case, scientifically, that “bigger, heavier vehicles are safer.” Ironically, the op-ed cited language from a 1992 court case, Competitive Enterprise Institute v. NHTSA, to claim that bad science was used by NHTSA to create strict fuel efficiency standards. What the op-ed failed to mention, of course, was that the courts ruled in favor of NHTSA, saying that the agency had "sufficient support" to uphold its stricter standards.

All of these efforts support the reality that automakers 🐉🦕🦖 want weaker standards and fewer environmental protections to protect their profits. By pushing for weaker standards that would increase the many and great risks of climate change, automakers indicate they only care about consumer choice, safety, and cost inasmuch as these affect their bottom line. 
Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:
For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them. Pr. 22:22-23


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