Global Automakers calls on EPA to withdraw proposed determination on MY 2022-2025 GHG standards, get back in alignment with NHTSA, provide more time
Global Automakers, the trade association representing the US divisions of 12 international automakers (Aston Martin, Ferrari, Honda, Hyundai, Isuzu, Kia, Maserati, McLaren, Nissan, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota), has called on the EPA either to withdraw its proposed determination on MY 2022-2025 light duty vehicle greenhouse gas standards or to extend the comment period. On 30 November, EPA proposed leaving the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards for those model years in place, based on its technical analysis that shows automakers are well positioned to meet the targets, and proposed a 30-day comment period. (Earlier post.)
The final standards are projected to result in an average industry fleet-wide level of 163 grams/mile of CO2 in model year 2025, which is equivalent to 54.5 mpg (4.31 l/100 km), if achieved exclusively through fuel economy improvements.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to rush forward with its Midterm Evaluation and issue a Proposed Determination on MY 2022-2025 greenhouse gas (GHG) emission standards undermines the important process the regulators and automakers agreed to in 2012 for establishing one harmonized national program for regulating GHG and fuel economy. Global Automakers and its members remain committed to the goals of one national program and therefore are asking the EPA to withdraw its Proposed Determination, or at the very least grant an extension of the current 30-day comment period.
Emissions standards going forward were to be based on a data-driven and objective review in which the EPA, the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) are aligned every step of the way. The hasty decision to accelerate the EPA process, taken in the waning days of an Administration, raises serious concerns about the objectivity and factual foundation of their action.
We look forward to working with EPA, NHTSA and CARB on harmonized standards that are achievable, cost-effective, and most importantly account for the needs of customers.—John Bozzella, President and CEO, Global Automakers
In a letter addressed to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, Global Automakers observed that determining the appropriate standards for MY 2022-2025 was to be based on a data-driven and objective review process in which the EPA, National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB) were aligned every step of the way. In other words, the processes of the two federal agencies were intended to be aligned along the entire process.
EPA and NHTSA had, up until recently, been consistently transparent about the timeline for joint midterm evaluation: a proposed rule and proposed determination expected in summer 2017, with a final NHTSA and EPA rule by 1 April 2018.
Seemingly inexplicably, the EPA has changed course dramatically, and has issued its Proposed Determination: (a) far ahead of the previously-established schedule, (b) separately from NHTSA’s fuel economy rulemaking, and (c) with a truncated, less than 30-day comment period following publication in the Federal Register. In doing so, the agency has seriously prejudiced our ability to provide meaningful input on the Proposed Determination.
Global Automakers believes that the EPA’s acceleration of its proposed determination process so that it no longer aligns with NHTSA’s rulemaking was improper and contrary to the spirit and intent of the joint national fuel economy/GHG program. The EPA should issue its proposed determination at the same time that NHTSA releases its notice of proposed rulemaking on the MY2022-2025 CAFE standards (which we expect in the summer of 2017), and the two agencies should then jointly issue the final rule/determination. Doing so will ensure that the actions of both agencies are coordinated and harmonized to the greatest extent possible. Divorcing the rulemaking processes of the two agencies (as the EPA has done) raises the risk that each will come to different conclusions concerning the appropriate stringency of the standards and the specific compliance mechanisms automakers can employ to achieve the standards.—Global Automakers letter to EPA
Procedural issues aside, the trade association said that the sheer volume of the material presented in the proposed determination and supporting technical document will make it difficult to provide substantive comment with the 30-day period.
We note that the 30-day comment period provided in the Proposed Determination is unprecedented in a regulatory action of this significance. For example, the proposed rule on the original joint fuel economy/greenhouse gas emission regulations promulgated by the EPA and NHTSA in 2009 provided for a 60-day comment period, which commenced after publication in the Federal Register (which was 2 weeks after the notice of proposed rulemaking was signed). The 2012 rulemaking also followed a 60-day comment period after publication in the Federal Register. EPA’s determination on the MY2022-2025 GHG emission standards is just as complex and significant as the prior rulemakings (if not more so), and there is no reason at all for such an abbreviated comment period.—Letter to EPA