The Office of Inspector General of the US Environmental Protection Agency plans to begin an evaluation of the EPA’s actions on the final Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule Part 2. (Earlier post.)
The SAFE rule reduces the increase in stringency of CAFE and CO2 emissions to about 1.5% each year through model year 2026, as compared with the standards issued under the Obama administration in 2012, which would have required about 5% annual increases.
The OIG issued a memorandum on 16 December 2019, notifying the EPA of the OIG audit regarding the Agency’s Action Development Process, which included the Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient Vehicles Rule Part 2. In a letter sent in May 2019, Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) and Representative Frank Pallone (D-NJ) identified a number of potential irregularities surrounding the promulgation of the regulation and requested that EPA examine these potential irregularities in more depth.
The OIG’s objective for this evaluation is to determine whether the EPA’s actions on the final SAFE Vehicles Rule Part 2 were consistent with requirements, including those pertaining to transparency, record-keeping, and docketing, and followed the EPA’s process for developing final regulatory actions.
The evaluation will be conducted using Quality Standards for Inspection and Evaluation, issued by the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency. The anticipated benefit of this evaluation is improved operational efficiency.
OIG currently is requesting:
Any briefing materials or written summaries on the final SAFE Vehicles Rule Part 2 presented to Office of Air and Radiation leaders, including but not limited to those materials and summaries presented to Anne Idsal, principal deputy assistant administrator, on 30 January 2020; and Sarah Dunham, director of the Office of Transportation and Air Quality, on 4 February 2020.
Any briefing materials or written summaries on the final SAFE Vehicles Rule Part 2 presented to Office of the Administrator leaders, including the administrator, associate deputy administrator, assistant deputy administrator, and chief of staff.
The EPA’s written comments—which the Agency provided on 5 February 2020, and other dates, as applicable—to the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on the draft version of the final SAFE Vehicles Rule Part 2, as well as the names of DOT-NHTSA personnel to whom the EPA provided the comments.
All communications directing or discussing that the EPA comments referenced above in Item 3 are to be provided to the DOT-NHTSA in hard-copy form.
The final SAFE Vehicles Rule Part 2 provided to the EPA administrator for signature.