Sen. Tom Carper, D-Delaware, the top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, on July 9 praised 24 states for their commitment to strong vehicle fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards and urged automakers to reject the Trump administration’s proposal and instead work directly with California on developing a more certain path forward.
The Trump administration’s proposed rollback would weaken vehicle greenhouse gas emissions standards beyond the request of any automaker and preempt the historic authority of California to set and enforce its own standards, as well as that of the 13 additional states, including Delaware, that have adopted them.
“For more than two years now, I have been urging the Trump administration to work with the state of California to strike a deal on fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards,” said Carper. “But since the Trump administration seems determined to put all environmental progress into reverse, automakers should make clear that they will not support this rollback by working directly with California and these 23 states to drive automobile technology into the future.”
Carper has long urged the Trump administration to negotiate a 50-state deal with California and set a nationwide standard that cleans up the air, fights climate change and helps American automakers lead in producing the fuel efficient cars of the future. Carper has met repeatedly with Trump administration officials and urged them to seek common ground with all stakeholders.
In May, Carper and House Energy and Commerce Chairman Sen. Frank Pallone, D-New Jersey, wrote a letter to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler demanding documents explaining numerous comments from Wheeler about EPA’s fuel economy rollback that contradict data presented to him by the EPA’s own experts.
In December 2018, Sens. Carper and Chuck Schumer, D-New York, demanded disclosure of the administration’s contacts with the oil industry regarding the fuel economy rule, after reporting revealed details of a covert lobbying campaign driven by fossil fuel groups to weaken fuel economy rules and increase demand for oil consumption.
In an October 2018 letter, Carper urged Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Wheeler to abandon plans to dismantle the clean car standards, highlighting a nonexhaustive list of 10 major legal deficiencies in the administration’s proposal.
Carper led an October 2018 letter to Chao and Wheeler with Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, and Ed Markey, D-Massachusetts, releasing documents proving that Congress rejected legislative efforts to preempt or limit California’s authority in 2007.
In an August 2018 hearing, Carper questioned Wheeler about the proposed clean car rollback’s flaws.
After EPA and U.S. Department of Transportation released their proposal to dismantle the clean car rules in August 2018, Carper blasted the plan, saying that, if finalized, it would create additional uncertainty for American automakers and represent a step back in the fight against climate change.
After Carper’s office obtained a leaked copy of the draft clean car rollback, the ranking member in May 2018 sent a letter to Chao and then-EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and expressing alarm at a plan that would weaken standards and preempt states’ authority.