A U.S. Court of Appeals has upheld new fuel economy standards set by the Obama administration in a decision yesterday. The ruling helps pave the way for plans by the White House to raise the average fuel economy to 54.5 mpg by 2025.
The panel of three judges dismissed arguments led by the state of Texas, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), and several chemical, agricultural, and mining companies against the regulation of greenhouse gases and fuel economy. In the 82-page ruling, the judges declared that the the EPA has authority given by the Clean Air Act.
In a landmark decision in 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that the government agency had the right to regulate certain greenhouse gas emissions if it considers them hazardous to human health. Two years later, the EPA named emissions from automobiles as health dangers. Shortly after, the Obama administration set tailpipe emissions and fuel economy standards, raising the fuel economy requirement to 34.1 mpg by 2016.
Several industries have expressed concerns that the EPA has the authority to further limit carbon emissions without approval from Congress. As many as 37,000 farms, 200,000 manufacturing facilities, and other sources such as universities, schools, and hospitals could be required to limit emissions.
“The EPA’s decision to move forward with these regulations is one of the most costly, complex and burdensome regulations facing manufacturers. These regulations will harm their ability to hire, invest and grow,” NAM CEO Jay Timmons said, reports The Detroit News. “By moving forward, the EPA is adding to the mounting uncertainty facing manufacturers of all sizes.”
Opponents argued that the EPA falsely interpreted the Clean Air Act. They claimed that the EPA didn’t do enough to reach its findings that greenhouse gases contributing to human health dangers. It also argued that the EPA’s ability to regulate the nation’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases was heavy-handed. The judges, however, said that the EPA was “unambiguously correct” when it relied on science-based studies to reach a judgment on the harmful effects of emissions. The panel also said that the EPA has authority to target large polluters due to an earlier Supreme Court decision.
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a trade group representing major automakers such as Toyota, Volkswagen, and the Detroit Three, has expressed its support for the new government standards. The new standards, it says, will make it easier on automakers.
“A single national fuel economy/carbon dioxide program is among our top policy priorities to avoid the chaos arising from several different regulatory bodies each setting their own standards,” the Alliance said in a statement.
New 2017-25 fuel economy standards and greenhouse gas limits are set to be finalized by August.
Source: Automotive News, The Detroit News
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