Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin issued the following statement on the news that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rejected earlier greenhouse gas emissions standards for 2022 to 2025 model cars and light trucks.
In 2010, the EPA changed the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, requiring automakers to meet a minimum fuel standard of 54.5 miles per gallon for vehicles by 2025. According to the EPA, passenger vehicles in model years 2012 through 2025 that met those emissions standards would decrease the country's oil consumption by 12 billion barrels, and its greenhouse gas emissions by six billion metric tons over the vehicles' lifetimes.
"Each week, the EPA announces yet another assault on this country's efforts to improve the air we breathe and to protect our environment. Today's announcement, while not unexpected, is extremely disappointing and damaging to our environment and our innovation economy.
"This decision is short-sighted and pound-foolish as the global automotive market is shifting away from gas guzzlers and toward cleaner, more efficient cars and associated technology. When oil and gas prices rise, which they inevitably will, American automakers will be left flat-footed and in dire financial straits, expecting the government to yet again bail them out.
"The EPA has gone from one of the country's greatest regulatory watchdogs to nothing more than a shill for the country's polluters, this time being the auto industry. As the environmental advocate for the State of Rhode Island, I have continued to hold the EPA accountable for its recent attempts to dismantle sound and long-standing environmental regulations, and will continue to do so."