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Dingell Urges EPA to Preserve One National Program for Fuel Economy Standards

Washington, DC, May 16, 2018

Today in a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment, U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12) pressed Bill Wehrum, assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, to maintain One National Program for fuel economy standards. The hearing follows press reports signaling that the Administration would not consult with California on the new standards.

“Mr. Wehrum, I understand that Administrator Pruitt sat down with the President and a number of the CEOs, automakers last Friday to discuss automotive fuel economy and GHG emission standards,” Dingell said. “In that meeting, I understand the President directed Administrator Pruitt and Transportation Secretary Chao to reach out and negotiate a possible deal with California to ensure that we have One National Program in this country for fuel economy and that GHG standards are maintained. I was happy to hear that. That’s what the autos say that they need. California has said that they would work with everybody. 

“But I’m concerned that yesterday I heard that was not the case – that you were not going to work with California, signaling the exact opposite of what we heard on Friday. It is troubling because the auto industry needs stability.”

Dingell asked Wehrum if EPA understands the importance of keeping everyone at the table working toward one national standard for the health of the auto industry and the jobs it supports.

Wehrum responded, “I would speak for myself and say absolutely. I understand the importance of that and what I would say is it’s a priority of my office and I believe a priority of the Administration to try to maintain One National Program so I believe that to the degree the press reports are saying that that’s not a goal, I would say that’s wrong.

“But, what I would say is that we think changes need to be made and we have started a dialogue with the State of California. I’ve personally been involved in those conversations; we plan to continue that dialogue consistent with what the President said in last week’s meeting. And, in fact, as we speak, we are trying to set up the next discussion with our colleagues at CARB for Wednesday – they are going to be here next week for meetings and we’re hoping to get together with them while they’re here in town. So, we have a dialogue underway and we intend to continue that dialogue and if we can find a way to maintain One National Program, we certainly want to do that and I know California wants to do it and I know the OEMs want to do it and we are going to try.”

To watch the full interaction between Dingell and Wehrum, please click here.

Dingell also pressed Wehrum on EPA’s recent decision to rescind longstanding policy that limits toxic air pollution from factories and industrial operations and urged the agency to make available studies on how this decision would impact public health. Wehrum announced EPA will issue a rulemaking on the proposal. For more information, please click here.

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