Trump’s Path to Weaker Fuel Efficiency Rules May Lead to a Dead End

“That’s the single most important document for the legal status of the rule,” said Jeff Alson, an engineer who spent more than 20 years at the E.P.A. working on vehicle emissions programs before retiring in 2018. “That’s where all the key numbers are explained and generated and supported.”

As Mr. Trump’s appointees began the work of loosening the Obama rules, he said he and his team of vehicle emissions experts were excluded from the process.

“I can tell you with certainty and personal experience that E.P.A. career staff were completely locked out doing any technical work on these documents,” Mr. Alson said.

In fact, people familiar with the writing of the rules said the regulatory impact analysis had been sent to the Transportation Department, where a small group with limited experience in mathematical modeling of vehicle emissions was still working to complete it.

Although Mr. Trump is said to be irritated by the delay, he is reluctant to rebuke the secretary of transportation, Elaine Chao, because her husband, Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, was instrumental in ensuring the president’s impeachment acquittal, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The pressure is rising. The federal government has until March 30 to publish the fuel economy standard for vehicles that will be built and sold in 2022.

Read More At The New York Times

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