As the coronavirus spreads and grabs headlines, the federal government has been quietly removing the rules that protect people and the environment from pollution.
On Tuesday, the rule on the chopping block is a 2012 standard targeting car pollution. Environmental Protection Agency administrator Andrew Wheeler is expected to announce a weaker replacement for the Obama administration’s standards. EPA is already locked in a legal bottle with California over whether the agency can revoke the state’s longstanding waiver to pursue tougher standards.
While the old clean car standards required an average 5 percent reduction in greenhouse emissions annually from cars and light truck fleets, the Trump administration’s version, called the Safer Affordable Fuel Efficient Vehicles, requires just 1.5 percent. It would keep the US lagging behind most of the world in its fuel efficiency requirements. Most of the domestic auto industry isn’t even on board with the Trump administration’s rule, saying it would cause more instability and would even cost the economy 60,000 jobs.