Subcommittee Chair Rouda Blasts Trump Administration Rule Weakening Fuel Efficiency Standards

Mar 31, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (Mar. 31, 2020)—Today, Rep. Harley Rouda, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Environment of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, issued the following statement after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Transportation (DOT) rolled-back Obama-era fuel efficiency standards, weakening efforts to combat climate change:

“This Administration is so hell-bent on protecting polluters that they rushed to roll back common-sense fuel efficiency standards in the middle of a global pandemic.  Climate change, much like the coronavirus, is a threat to humanity that transcends borders.  President Trump, while failing to adequately address our current public health crisis, is actively working to worsen the climate crisis.

“All Americans, regardless of their political party, want their children to breathe clean air.  This roll-back, intended to punish political adversaries in California and the 14 states and Washington D.C. who followed California’s lead in establishing strong standards, will make driving more expensive and harm the health and well-being of millions of Americans—particularly children, senior citizens, people with pre-existing conditions, and low-income communities.  It is reprehensible for this Administration to finalize controversial rules that worsen public health during a pandemic.”

The Trump Administration’s action will worsen climate change.  Currently, the transportation sector in the United States is the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions, with light-duty vehicles and large heavy trucks accounting for at least 82% of the greenhouse gases from transportation. 

The Obama-era clean car rules were intended to curb greenhouse emissions from this sector.  Automakers, a largely Trump-appointed Science Advisory Board (SAB), and economists have all voiced concerns with the underlying scientific and economic basis for this rollback.

Last year, Subcommittee Chairman Rouda held a hearing to examine the negative health, environmental, and economic impacts of the then-proposed rollback of these fuel efficiency standards.  The hearing featured testimony from former California Governor Jerry Brown, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, and a panel including San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, economists, and public policy experts.

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116th Congress