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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 4/3/20

The EPA Just Hastened Extinction in the Midst of a Pandemic

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Two year ago, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulators decreed they would no longer rigidly enforce emissions standards for cars and trucks, arguing the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan timeline is not appropriate and standards are "too high."

While the nation presently tries to cope with the suffering, grief, and confusion the coronavirus is causing, the Trump administration is taking advantage of our distraction to ramp-up this assault on the environment.

On Tuesday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the EPA unveiled their new rule requiring automakers increase their new vehicle fleets' average fuel economy by 1.5 percent every year through their 2026 model year lineups to arrive at a 40-mile-per-gallon average.

Contrast this with the Obama administration, which compelled automakers to increase their fleets' average fuel economy by 5 percent, setting a goal of 54 miles per gallon in 2026-model year vehicles.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) cites EPA data when it argues the Obama rules have cut half a billion metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, and saved drivers $86 billion in fuel costs.

The new Trump rule, however, is expected to pump into the atmosphere a billion metric tons more carbon dioxide.

As The New York Times reported:

"In general, the E.P.A. does not expect to seek penalties for violations of routine compliance monitoring, integrity testing, sampling, laboratory analysis, training, and reporting or certification obligations in situations where the E.P.A. agrees that Covid-19 was the cause of the noncompliance and the entity provides supporting documentation to the E.P.A. upon request."

Professor at the University of California in Los Angeles, Ann Carlson, explained:

"You can make cars with zero emissions now, zero greenhouse gases that don't run on petroleum, any more. So I think the big beneficiaries are absolutely the oil companies."

Sure to exacerbate the respiratory damage COVID-19 is wreaking on millions globally, the EPA cites the COVID-19 pandemic as justification for the lax new standards.

Paul Billings, American Lung Association senior vice-president of advocacy, said:

"This will mean there will be more pollution associated with oil extraction, transport, refiningsort of all the way from the well to the pump. This will mean high levels of smog, more coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, asthma attacks, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) exacerbations and also more particulate pollution."

Not only are we relaxing fuel efficiency standards at a time we need the most stringent, Kentucky, South Dakota, and West Virginia has recently passed laws prohibiting fossil fuel protests.

Greenpeace USA researcher, Connor Gibson, explained how the federal government and Republican-led states are using the COVID-19 emergency to quietly slip through oligarchic legislation, stating:

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Ted Millar is a writer and teacher. His work has been in featured in myriad literary journals, including Straight Forward Poetry, Better Than Starbucks, the Broke Bohemian, Caesura, Circle Show, Cactus Heart, Third Wednesday, and The Voices (more...)
 

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