Jan. 24, 2019 by Daniel Farber

The Worst of a Bad Lot

Originally published on Legal Planet.

The Trump administration has many energy and environmental initiatives, none of them good. But in terms of shoddy analysis and tenuous evidence, the worst is the administration's attempt to freeze fuel efficiency standards. For sheer lack of professionalism, the administration's cost-benefit analysis is hard to match. And you can't even say that the administration is captive to industry, because this isn't something industry asked for. It's a case of untethered ideology trumping evidence and economics.

By way of background, §202 of the Clean Air Act requires EPA to impose standards for emissions from new motor vehicles once it has found that a pollutant endangers human health or welfare. During the Obama administration, EPA issued such standards for greenhouse gases, in tandem with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA, pronounced 'nitsa'), which regulates fuel efficiency standards for vehicles. The car industry was already under pressure because of regulations adopted in California, so the agencies were not writing on a blank slate. Those standards were scheduled to become increasingly strict for the next several years. The Trump administration proposed freezing the standards at their current levels (dubbing their proposal the SAFE rule). Such a regulatory action …

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Jan. 24, 2019

The Worst of a Bad Lot