More smog on the horizon

editorial cartoon by Adonis Borer
editorial cartoon by Adonis Borer

Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency does not care to protect our environment. California and 17 other states are suing the EPA in response to the Agency’s push to decrease the gas mileage requirement. This pro-business decision will reverse the Obama administration’s significant effort to combat global warming.

The Mid-Term Final Evaluation signed by the EPA administrator Scott Pruitt on April 2 states that the standards for greenhouse gas emissions for vehicles made between 2022 and 2025 are too restrictive and based on outdated information.

Gov. Jerry Brown said earlier this month that the EPA did not base their decision on facts, and that lawsuit aims to show that the EPA “failed to follow its own regulations and violated the Clean Air Act.”

The standards set in the August 2012 Regulatory Announcement from the EPA aimed to force manufacturers to make vehicles with more mileage per gallon, resulting in vehicles to be manufactured in 2025 emitting half the emissions of vehicles manufactured in 2010.
Light-duty vehicles are currently responsible for nearly 60 percent of U.S. transportation-related petroleum use and greenhouse gas emissions, according to the announcement.

If the EPA’s push for deregulation is successful, the world will see not the projected successes of the 2012 standards, but instead increased pollution.

Car manufacturers will be happy to cut back long-term plans to create electric and more fuel efficient vehicles. The production of gas guzzlers may allow the automakers greater profit in the short term, but the decreased mileage per gallon will result in more air pollution and greater dependency on gas.

In 2012, the EPA continued to coordinate development of emission standards set in the Clean Air Act with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s development of Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards for light-duty vehicles, but slightly changed this in the 2017 Midterm Evaluation of standards.

Pruitt said that he is starting a joint process with the Traffic Safety Administration to develop a notice and comment rule making to set more appropriate emissions standards and CAFE standards, but since they were already aligned, he is not doing anything better or new.

This regulation rollback will increase greenhouse gas emissions, undoing what the standards put in place were intended for: reducing carbon emissions and oil dependency, thus contributing less to global warming.

The Obama administration granted California a waiver that allowed the state to enact stricter standards, but the waiver will be reexamined under Pruitt’s leadership.

Trump’s administration should impose national standards that reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Instead, it will increase both emissions and big business’ pockets.

Unsigned editorials represent the opinion of the Campus Times Editorial Board.

Adonis Borer

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