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EPA-NHTSA Rulemaking 2017–2025

EPA-NHTSA Rulemaking 2010–2016

Endangerment Finding

EPA and Global Warming Politics

California Waiver

EPA Action

This page chronicles EPA action on California and federal vehicle greenhouse gas regulations.

EPA-NHTSA Rulemaking 2017–2025

In May 2010, President Obama ordered US. EPA and NHTSA to develop new greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy standards for passenger vehicles for the 2017–2025 timeframe. The presidential memorandum also required GHG and fuel economy standards be developed for medium- and heavy-duty trucks for the 2014–2018 timeframe.

August 28, 2012 – The Obama Administration finalized groundbreaking standards that will reduce global warming pollution and increase fuel economy to the equivalent of 54.5 mpg for cars and light-duty trucks by Model Year 2025.
Learn more from U.S. EPA

February 7, 2011 – California Air Resources Board Chairman Mary Nichols sent a letter to automaker chiefs in response to their and their industry trade association's letters to Congressman Darrell Issa. Issa in December invited industry to identify regulations that negatively impact jobs and the U.S. economy. Nichols' letter to automakers charged the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers with misrepresenting in a recent letter to Issa the cooperative spirit with which regulators and automakers have worked on forthcoming vehicle GHG regulations.
CARB letter to automaker CEOs

January 24, 2011 – The California Air Resources Board, U.S. EPA and U.S. Department of Transportation are moving forward in a coordinated partnership with the planned September 1, 2011 release of both the state’s and the federal government’s proposed standards for the next generation of clean, efficient cars.
News Release

October 1, 2010 – The U.S. EPA and National Highway Transportation Safety Administration announced a joint “Notice of Intent” to begin work on federal vehicle greenhouse gas and fuel economy regulations for model years 2017–2025. The notice indicates that the agencies will develop rules resulting in a 3%–6% annual average reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The rules are to be finalized in summer 2012. The announcement gets the country back on track and sets the framework for the next round of national vehicle fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards.
U.S. EPA announcement and background materials
NHTSA announcement and background materials
Go 60 mpg Campaign

EPA-NHTSA Rulemaking 2010–2016

Under an agreement announced by President Obama in May 2009, EPA and Department of Transportation's National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) have drafted national vehicle greenhouse gas and fuel economy standards that will be equivalent to California's Clean Cars Law once fully implemented in 2016. Read about the historic Rose Garden agreement and reaction in our news room. This section highlights key milestones in the federal rulemaking process, as well as changes made to California’s Clean Cars regulation to support the national standards.

April 1, 2010 – U.S. EPA and NHTSA today outlined the details of the new national vehicle GHG standards developed as a result of last year's historical agreement between the Obama administration, California, and the automakers. EPA is finalizing the GHG standards under the Clean Air Act, and NHTSA is finalizing Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act. Benefits include increasing energy security, reducing air pollution, increasing fuel savings, providing clarity and predictability for manufacturers, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
See reaction in our news room
Read the EPA fact sheets and final rule
Read the NHTSA fact sheets and final rule

April 1, 2010 – In conjunction with today's announcement of new national fuel economy and GHG rules, Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), released a report by the Government Accountability Office that urged the new regulatory partnership between NHTSA and EPA to be formalized, saying the regime is cheaper and more effective for America's consumers. Markey also called on President Obama to set standards beyond 2016.

March, 2010 – Environment America report finds the new standards will reduce gasoline consumption by as much as 11.6 billion gallons per year in 2016, saving consumers up to $31.8 billion annually at the pump in 2016.
Read the Environment America report

February 25, 2010 – California Air Resources Board adopts the third and final regulatory change to the California Clean Cars Program, agreed to as part of the historic agreement between government and industry to adopt the national vehicle GHG emissions. This change enables automakers to demonstrate compliance with California’s standard for model years 2012 through 2016 by complying with the national standards.
Air Resources Board Staff Report
Environmental organizations support letter

November 27, 2009 – After two months and three public hearings – in Detroit, New York, and Los Angeles – the public comment period for the joint EPA/NHTSA proposed vehicle greenhouse gas and fuel economy standards has closed. Listed below is a selection of submitted comments.
California Air Resources Board
Environmental Defense Fund comments
Environmental Defense Fund – Institute for Policy Integrity (New York University) joint comments
International Council on Clean Transportation comments
Union of Concerned Scientists comments

October 27, 2009 – EPA and NHTSA hold the third field hearing on the proposed national vehicle standards in Los Angeles.
American Lung Association in California
Tom Wenzel, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

October 23, 2009 – EPA and NHTSA hold the second field hearing on the proposed national vehicle standards in New York.
Investor Network on Climate Risk

October 21, 2009 – EPA and NHTSA hold the first of three field hearings on the proposed national vehicle standards in Detroit.
Consumer Federation of America
ICCT
Rob Kleinbaum, RAK & Co.
Adam Lee, Lee Auto Malls
Walter McManus, University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute
Sierra Club
NRDC

September 24, 2009 – California Air Resources Board adopts the first two of three regulatory changes to the California Clean Cars Program, agreed to as part of the historic agreement between government and industry to adopt the national vehicle GHG emissions. The changes allow “pooling” of vehicle emissions data in California and the states that have adopted California’s regulation, and allow use of CAFE data to demonstrate compliance.
Air Resources Board Staff Presentation

September 15, 2009 – U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood outlined the framework for the national emissions standards.
Read the EPA Notice
Read the NHTSA Notice
Read reaction in our news room

Endangerment Finding

A first step in EPA action to regulate greenhouse gases as pollutants under the Clean Air Act is a determination regarding endangerment to public health or welfare. Under Section 202 of the Clean Air Act, the Administrator must issue regulations for the emission of any air pollutant from motor vehicles "which in his judgment cause, or contribute to, air pollution which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare." EPA finalized its endangerment finding in December 2009 and within weeks faced legal challenges from polluting industries and political challenges in Congress.

March 10, 2010Twenty governors urge Congress to block EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions.

February 16, 2010 – U.S. EPA now faces 16 court challenges of its endangerment finding. Industry groups, conservative think tanks, three states, and lawmakers filed petitions in U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals right before the filing deadline. The petitions ask EPA to review its finding in December that greenhouse gases endanger human health and welfare.

The latest to file were: Ohio Coal Association, the Utility Air Regulatory Group, the Portland Cement Association, the state of Texas and the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Another was filed by a coalition that includes the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the American Petroleum Institute, the Corn Refiners Association, the National Association of Home Builders, the National Oilseed Processors Association, the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association, and the Western States Petroleum Association.

February 12, 2010 – U.S. Chamber of Commerce petitions a court to review EPA's endangerment finding.

February 9, 2010 – A group of Congressmen, truckers, agribusiness and the Southeast Legal Foundation petition the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to review the EPA's endangerment finding.

January 22, 2010 – Sixteen states and the City of New York file a motion to intervene on behalf of EPA in support of its endangerment finding.

January 21, 2010 – Calif. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger sends a letter urging Senate leaders to oppose any effort in the Senate to block the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to enforce the Clean Air Act to fight global climate change.

January 15, 2010 – State environmental officials join to reject a “Resolution of Disapproval” or other proposals that would overrule EPA’s greenhouse gas Endangerment Finding or prevent EPA from using its current authority under the CAA to regulate GHG emissions.

December 23, 2009 – A group calling itself the Coalition for Responsible Regulation, Inc., including mining, agriculture and development interests, petitions the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit to review EPA's endangerment finding.

December 7, 2009 – EPA announces that greenhouse gases (GHGs) threaten the public health and welfare of the American people. EPA also finds that GHG emissions from on-road vehicles contribute to that threat.

May 18, 2009 – EPA holds the first of two field hearings on the endangerment finding.

April 17, 2009 – In a much anticipated and historic step, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson formally determined that global warming pollution “endangers” the nation’s human health and well-being.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger issued the following statement in response:

“While the federal government was asleep at the wheel for years, we in California have known greenhouse gases are a threat to our health and to our environment – that’s why we have taken such aggressive action to reduce harmful emissions and move toward a greener economy. Two years after the Supreme Court declared greenhouse gas emissions a pollutant, it’s promising to see the new administration in Washington showing signs that it will take an aggressive leadership role in fighting climate change that will lead to reduced emissions, thousands of new green jobs and a healthier future for our children and our planet.”

April 2, 2008 – One year after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that EPA has authority to regulate GHG from vehicles, 18 states, three cities and 11 environmental groups returned to federal court to press the U.S. EPA to act on the court-mandated "endangerment finding," a determination that greenhouse gases endanger public health or welfare.
Read the petition

March 27, 2008 – U.S. EPA Administrator Steven Johnson responds to Congressional inquiries on the endangerment finding, saying he has issued an "Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking" to ensure adequate public comment time. Congress responds that it's more foot-dragging on EPA's part.
Read EPA Administrator Johnson's letter to Sens. Boxer and Inhofe.
Read response of Edward J. Markey, chairman, Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming

March 21, 2008 – Industry circulates a memo to Congress that urged members to call the White House to seek a delay in EPA issuing its endangerment finding.
Read the memo

March 12, 2008 – Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, questions White House interference in U.S. EPA's effort to issue endangerment finding.
Read the letter

December 17, 2007 – Anti-regulation conservatives lobby the White House against endangerment finding.
Letter to President Bush from industry and conservative coalition
Resolution from industry and conservative coalition

EPA and Global Warming Politics

March 17, 2010 – The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers weighs in against the proposed Murkowski resolution, saying it would undermine the national vehicle GHG standards.

March 15, 2010 – The United Autoworkers defends EPA in the fight over the so-called Murkowski resolution, which seeks to overturn the Endangerment Finding.

February 23, 2010Environmental commissioners from nine of the states that have adopted the California Clean Cars standard (California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington) urge Senate leaders to reject the so-called Murkowski resolution on climate. The resolution targets EPA's Endangerment Finding but is also seen as a direct threat to states' rights to follow California's lead in adopting stricter than federal standards under the Clean Air Act.

January 2010 – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski proposes a resolution to overturn U.S. EPA’s Endangerment Finding and prevent EPA from using its authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate GHG emissions.

September 23 & 24, 2009 – In a dazzling display of Washington politics, the U.S. EPA, automakers and environmental advocates joined together to oppose an amendment to an appropriations act that would prohibit EPA from spending money on regulating carbon dioxide from stationary sources under the Clean Air Act for a period of one year. The amendment, proposed by Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, could also impede EPA's implementation of the proposed national GHG tailpipe rule. In a 24-hour period, letters poured in to the subcommittee chair, Sen. Dianne Feinstein. The Senate decided not to take up the Murkowski amendment.
U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson letter to Sen. Feinstein
Auto Alliance letter to Sen. Feinstein

September 23, 2008 – In response to the EPA's issuance of an "Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking" last July, the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works holds a hearing on regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.
U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer's opening statement
Testimony of California Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols
Testimony of Sierra Club's David Bookbinder

July 11, 2008 – More than a year after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that CO2 is an air pollutant and directed the U.S. EPA to decide whether this pollution is a threat to public health and welfare, the EPA announced it will seek months more comment on the issue. It is essentially delaying action until the next president takes office.

After weeks of political jockeying between the White House and EPA, the agency issued an "Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking" and accompanying fact sheet.

Predictably, the response was outrage:

Sen. Barbara Boxer, chair, Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, at press conference on White House interference in addressing the dangers of global warming. This page links also to former EPA official Jason Burnett's correspondence with Sen. Boxer.

Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), chair, House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming: "Today's sanitized and censored global warming proposal is a shadow of what the scientific experts say is needed to save the planet. The White House has taken an earnest attempt by their own climate experts to respond to the Supreme Court's mandate to address global warming pollution, and turned it into a Frankenstein's monster. On global warming, the White House uses the slash-and-burn technique. They slash any meaningful statements or action on global warming, and allow the planet to burn."

Read more response from the House Select Committee and see timeline of activities and responses since Supreme Court decision April 2, 2007.

Calif. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger: "It's not surprising that this administration is putting off any action on greenhouse gas emissions. California has been leading the way on addressing climate change and we will continue to lead despite Washington because we know the threat of global warming is so immediate. Whoever is elected to be the next occupant of the White House will be a leader on the environment, and California will continue working to protect our environment and grow our economy at the same time."

Lexi Shultz, deputy director, Union of Concerned Scientists Climate Program: "In keeping with President Bush's flippant remark at the end of the G-8 summit — 'Goodbye from the world's biggest polluter' — the EPA today refused to address global warming. By ignoring calls for action from scientists and the public at large, EPA Administrator Johnson is passing this monumental problem off to the next administration. Meanwhile, the world is waiting for the United States to take bold leadership. The science is clear, the legal authority is there, and the solutions are at hand. Sadly, the legacy of this White House is eight years of obstruction, denial and delay."

June 24, 2008 – The House Select Committee for Energy Independence and Global Warming finally receives requested documents from U.S. EPA showing that EPA staff experts have recommended tougher standards for auto emissions. The committee says the documents reveal that the EPA was on its way to setting landmark standards for emissions back in December. But it's been stymied by the White House; a forthcoming Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is expected to be less stringent than the recommendations of EPA staff.

Read Chairman Ed Markey's letter to President Bush urging the White House to follow the technical recommendations of EPA staff.

April 2, 2008 – One year after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that EPA has authority to regulate GHG from vehicles, 18 states, three cities and 11 environmental groups returned to federal court to press the U.S. EPA to act on the court-mandated "endangerment finding," a determination that greenhouse gases endanger public health or welfare.
Read the petition

March 27, 2008 – U.S. EPA Administrator Steven Johnson responds to Congressional inquiries on the endangerment finding, saying he has issued an "Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking" to ensure adequate public comment time. Congress responds that it's more foot-dragging on EPA's part.
Read EPA Administrator Johnson's letter to Sens. Boxer and Inhofe.
Read response of Edward J. Markey, chairman, Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming

March 21, 2008 – Industry circulates a memo to Congress that urged members to call the White House to seek a delay in EPA issuing its endangerment finding.
Read the memo

March 12, 2008 – Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, questions White House interference in U.S. EPA's effort to issue endangerment finding.
Read the letter

January 22, 2008 – Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) asks U.S. EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson to appear before the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming to explain the agency's response to the Supreme Court and White House policy directions on global warming.
Read the letter

California Waiver

June 30, 2009 – Three years, six months, and nine days after California first requested a waiver of the Clean Air Act to implement its Clean Cars Law, the U.S. EPA has finally obliged.
Learn more

January 2, 2008 – In separate petitions, California and 15 states, plus five environmental organizations ask a federal court to reverse the December 19, 2007 U.S. EPA decision denying California a waiver to implement its Clean Cars law.
Learn more

December 19, 2007 – Bush administration EPA denies California clean cars waiver.

November 19, 2007 – Environmental organizations' letter to EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson on California's waiver request, the 20-in-10 rulemaking proceeding, and other matters involving federal global warming policy.