One of the first official actions taken by President Joe Biden since his inauguration on 20 January means the almost certain demise of a Trump-era plan to undermine future fuel efficiency regulations. Federal agencies had to “restore executive order and science to deal with the climate crisis,” according to Biden’s instructions.
This executive order tells federal agencies that environmental justice is a priority – one that will now be guided by scientific evidence. Additionally, the heads of each agency must review any rules, policies, or other actions taken between January 20, 2017 and January 20, 2021 that are inconsistent with that goal. And there is a special call-out to the US Environmental Protection Agency’s recent actions to undermine US fuel efficiency standards in the coming years, as well as the agency’s attempt to reduce California’s power to regulate air pollution Too.
The previous administration’s attack on clean air and fuel efficiency began almost immediately and ended with a pair of actions over the last 16 months. In September 2019 the EPA announced that it was repealing a waiver that allowed California to establish and enforce its tougher air pollution standards within the state’s borders. Then in March 2020 the EPA published a new fuel efficiency rule for model cars 2020-2026 for passenger cars and light trucks, which significantly undermined fleet targets mandated by the Obama administration.
Now, the EPA has until April 2021 to publish a proposed rule to “suspend, amend or revive California’s repeal of the air pollution waiver”. And by July 2021 it also has to do with the widely criticized fuel efficiency rule, which has instructions to take into consideration the views of “labor unions, states and industry representatives”. Although some companies such as GM and Toyota sided with the actions of the Trump administration, other automakers voluntarily signed California regulations.