Today, the Senate will debate and vote on S.J.Res.26, Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s resolution of disapproval to overturn the legal force and effect of EPA’s endangerment finding, which is both trigger and precedent for sweeping policy changes Congress never approved.
The Obama Administration and the Auto Alliance strongly oppose S.J.Res.26, claiming that it would harm the auto industry by blocking implementation of the joint fuel economy/greenhouse gas emission standards rule that EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) finalized in March.
The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) demolishes the Administration’s argument in a letter sent to U.S. Senators yesterday afternoon.
If Congress wants NHTSA to tighten fuel economy standards, the agency already has all the authority it needs under the 1975 Energy Policy and Conservation Act as modified by the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA). NHTSA’s authority does not come from the Clean Air Act and in no way depends on EPA’s endangerment finding.
Under the EPA/NHTSA joint rule, three different agencies will set fuel economy standards — NHTSA, EPA, and the California Air Resources Board (CARB). Enactment of S.J.Res.26 would indeed block implementation of the rule. But that would benefit the auto industry by helping to “restore a single national fuel economy standard, with rules set by Congress.”
“Opponents of S.J.Res. 26 fail to explain how being regulated by three different fuel economy standards with three different sets of rules administered by three different agencies is more beneficial than a single national fuel economy standard,” the NADA letter points out.
The letter provides a detailed chart showing that there are important differences and inconsistencies between NHTSA’s fuel economy standards and EPA’s greenhouse gas emission standards, as well as inconsistencies between the federal standards and the CARB standards.
NADA’s letter concludes:
The EPA and CARB fuel economy standards in effect today have been foisted on the American people by bureaucratic fiat. It is extremely unlikely any Senator would even propose a three-different-fuel-economy standards framework, especially one filled with exemptions, lower standards for some, and conflicting policies, Passage of S.J.Res. 26 would partially correct this onerous and redundant policy.