Let me state for the record that there should be no federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. If States wish to regulate themselves to death, let them.
Despite my misgivings that these types of federal regulations are unconstitutional, if CAFE Standards are to become law, they should, at the very least, have to be passed by Congress, where all laws must originate.
That being said, the last time Congress passed a law which included fuel efficiency standards was 2007 – more than a decade ago.
Congress first established CAFE standards in 1975. They set the average fuel economy of the new car fleet to 27.5 mpg by model year (MY) 1985. Then, under “conservative” George W. Bush, Congress passed and the president signed the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. Don’t you love the bogus names they give these egregious pieces of legislation?
Anyway, the new legislation raised the fuel economy standards of America’s cars, light trucks, and SUVs to a combined average of at least 35 miles per gallon by 2020—a 10 mpg increase over 2007 levels—and required standards to be met at maximum feasible levels through 2030.
And that was the last time the federal legislature was involved in setting CAFE Standards. Since then, as one would expect during Obama’s reign of environmental terror, the “standards” have been promulgated by unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats at the EPA and the Department of Transportation (DOT), and of course, Obama’s pen and phone.
No one, save for us right wing, liberty-loving whackos, cared a wit that the president just took the job of legislating automobile mileage standards and gave it to his regulatory agencies. As long as the leftist agenda kept matriculating down the field (h/t: Hank Stram) no one in the main stream media was going to raise the issue.
Then along came the Trump administration and his new EPA director Scott Pruitt, to shake things up and attempt to set things right.
And right on cue, the left is having a cow over it. Now 17 States and the District of Columbia are suing the Trump EPA for its attempt to roll back CAFE standards.
California Governor Gerry Brown, who is spearheading the lawsuit, claims that, “This is about health, it’s about life and death,” and that the EPA is, “breaking the law.” Wow Gerry – way to not go over the top on that claim!
But, according to fellow radical leftists, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS),
“The EPA is required to set pollution standards for new light-duty vehicles under section 202 of the Clean Air Act. Specifically, EPA is required to set standards at a level that protects public health and welfare.”
So if it is up to the EPA to set the standard as they claim, the UCS, nor Governor “Moonbeam” can have no beef with a new EPA who believes that rolling back the standards would not harm “public health and welfare.” This seems like a reasonable assumption, until we snap-to and realize that there is nothing reasonable about this leftist cartel of green warriors.
Very few have any problem with the EPA power grab, as long as it’s advancing the ball further toward the progressive left. And few complain that it’s not the EPA’s place to enact such sweeping regulations, such as increasing CAFE standards. Yet when that same agency, under new management, decides to reverse course, somehow it becomes a national crisis, and an administration power grab.
For years, the Obama EPA and other agencies presented junk climate science as proof of the need for stricter emissions standards. It’s high time someone stood up and said enough – that all these regulations are based on just that, and roll back the standards to when last the legislature passed them, in 2007. This would at least be closer to what the Constitution requires.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author and are not not necessarily either shared or endorsed by iPatriot.com.