Dingell Presses for One National Fuel Economy Standard
During Strongly Worded Hearing, Dingell Calls Out Administration for Not Acting in Good Faith to Negotiate with California
Washington, June 20, 2019
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell strongly urged the Trump Administration to return to good faith negotiating to work toward one national fuel economy standard to give auto makers the certainty they need in a fragile industry while making continued reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. During a House Energy and Commerce Hearing on the Trump Administration’s rollback of fuel economy standards, Dingell was strong on the Administration for proposing to flatline fuel economy standards and being insincere in involving the State of California in their rulemaking on new standards. She urged the Trump Administration to resume negotiations with California immediately.
“The health and future of the auto industry matters to everybody in this country yet the industry is more fragile than ever, and policymakers cannot take it’s health for granted. It is also critical for the future of this planet that we have continued reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and improvements in fuel economy, which is why I believe we need all parties to come to the table and cut a deal on standards that increase year over year and balance the twin goals of environmental protection and affordability. And by the way – we shouldn’t just be setting standards through 2025 – we should be going all the way out to 2030 to provide greater certainty and demonstrate global leadership on this critical environmental issue,” said Dingell. “We need California at the table. We need one national program – one set of standards – and I do not believe this Administration is dealing in good faith in doing that.”
In an exchange with Bill Wehrum, Assistant Administrator of Office of Air and Radiation at the Environmental Protection Agency, and Heidi King, Deputy Administration of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Dingell pressed the Administration officials on their motivations for not engaging California in negotiations and flatlining fuel economy standards.
Dingell asked, “I talk to everybody every single week. That’s why I’m coming at all of you. The American people are tired of conflict. They are tired of partisan bickering. They want us to get something done. They want us to come up with practical solutions to practical problems. It’s not rocket science. The Obama Administration put 5 percent increases, you are proposing a flatline. There’s not a place to compromise somewhere in here? If we hear Mary Nichols on the next panel say she’s willing to go to the table, will you commit to resume conversations immediately on a compromise? Yes or no?”
Wehrum responded, “My answer is we’ll keep doing what the President says.”
Later, Dingell asked Mary Nichols, Chair of the California Air Resources Board, “The world has changed from the last time there was a negotiated deal on fuel economy standards in 2012. Gas prices are significantly lower today than we expected back then, and the overall adoption rate of electric vehicles is also far lower than predicted. Chair Nichols, would you agree that conditions have changed since 2012 and are different than what we expected?”
Nichols responded, “Yes.”
Dingell flatly asked Nichols, “Do you agree that cutting a deal with the Trump Administration is the best way forward to address our twin goals of environmental protection and affordability? Are you prepared to go back to the negotiating table in good faith?”
Nichols responded, “We have always been prepared to go to the negotiating table in good faith. We still are.”
In Congress, Dingell is a leader in setting one national fuel economy standard and bringing all sides together to craft a rule that works for the auto industry, states, environmental stakeholders, and regulators.