January 23, 2009
General Mike Cox today filed an amicus brief in the case
California v EPA,
arguing that automobile greenhouse gas emissions should be regulated solely by
the federal government, not by a separate set of state regulations. Currently,
the federal government has mandated that auto manufacturers reach 35 miles per
gallon (mpg) by 2020, however in order to comply with California's emission
regulations, the car companies would have to reach an unreasonable fuel
efficiency standard of 49 mpg by 2020.
"The auto industry is working hard to reform and retool. Allowing
state-by-state fuel efficiency standards would be devastating to the auto
industry," said Cox. "As an environmentalist, we need to be conscious of
measures that will maintain a clean environment for our children. However, in
order to address global greenhouse gas emissions, we need a national strategy,
not a one-state or multi-state solution."
Cox filed his brief today, arguing that the Clean Air Act and the Energy Policy
and Conservation Act preempt California from independently regulating auto
emissions in an attempt to address a global problem, and from establishing de
facto fuel economy standards. Cox points out that in enacting these statutes,
Congress made clear that it intended to protect automobile manufacturers from
individual state regulation that could harm the U.S. automobile industry.
"If California and a handful of other states are allowed to dictate
environmental policy for the entire country on a state-by-state basis and not a
uniform basis, our nation's economy will become further weakened," said Cox. "I
will not stand by silently while a handful of states try to drown the U.S. auto
industry in new regulation."
Cox's brief also points out that the National Highway Transportation and Safety
Administration (NHTSA) already set fuel economy standards for 2008-2011 for
light tracks, and Congress has set a target of 35 mpg for passenger cars and
trucks combined by 2020. These standards were set by taking into account the
economic practicalities of achieving the fuel standards. California's standards
do not account for the potential costs of the regulation, and according to
automakers, would impose further economic hardship on the U.S. automakers.
Cox has been a strong proponent for the U.S. auto industry. In January 2008,
Cox testified in front of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public
Works. Earlier this month, Cox had an opinion piece published in the Washington
Post inviting members of Congress to attend the North American International
Auto Show (NAIAS). The opinion piece prompted Senator Bob Corker, a strong
critic of the auto industry, to attend the NAIAS. He later admitted that
American manufacturers are building world class vehicles.
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