Lawyers to challenge Trump administration’s rollback of fuel efficiency regulations

US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lawyers will today challenge US President Donald Trump’s decision to roll back environmental rules, specifically

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Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lawyers will today challenge US President Donald Trump’s decision to roll back environmental rules, specifically the Safer Affordable Fuel Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Final Rule implemented under former president Barack Obama’s administration.

The regulation benchmarked a fuel efficiency improvement rate of 1.5% per year, reaching in vehicles by 2026 an industry average of 17.18 kilometres per litre (40.4 US miles per gallon). Failure to enhance fuel efficiency is estimated to increase carbon dioxide emissions by a billion tons, which will contribute to trapping heat. Data embedded in the draft rule suggests that not implementing the rule will lead to 1,400 premature American deaths each year.

The Trump administration contends that the rule restricts commerce by making production expensive for manufacturers. The administration is likely to continue posing a trade-off between economic overheads and social and environmental costs in the short run.

Though it falls under the executive’s jurisdiction, the EPA seeks to use scientific data in court to prevent the rollback. Should the courts rule in the administration’s favour, individual states, such as California, are likely to maintain the stricter automobile standards imposed by the SAFE Vehicles Rule. Assuming a Trump victory in November, this would likely spark constitutional lawsuits filed by the federal government.

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