Group Asks EPA to Nix Fuel Rule that Relied on Climate Metric

E&E News cites Attorney Devin Watkins on the EPA’s social cost of carbon:

A conservative think tank is asking EPA to reconsider its recent rule to increase fuel economy standards, pointing to a court order last week that bars the Biden administration from employing a key climate measure.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) yesterday sent a formal request to EPA Administrator Michael Regan on behalf of itself and four individuals, noting that a federal judge found that a metric used in the vehicle emissions rule was “likely unlawful.”

The letter notes that the December 2021 fuel economy rule relied on a measure of the social cost of carbon that Judge James Cain of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana ruled had increased regulatory costs for the red states that had challenged the metric.

In the letter, CEI said EPA had relied on the social cost of carbon estimates from an interagency working group to write the vehicle emissions rule. It said EPA had “touted how the ‘benefits [of this rule] include reduced impacts of climate change.’”

But the letter adds, “if the EPA’s social cost of carbon estimate was corrected in accordance with the court order, it would show a total net harm, not a benefit.”

CEI and 14 other groups had flagged what they said were problems with the social cost of carbon estimate as EPA was writing the emissions rule.

The letter from CEI attorney Devin Watkins says the court decision occurred after the close of the public comment period on the fuel economy standards but within the time specified for judicial review.

Therefore, Watkins wrote, “we request Administrator Regan to convene a proceeding for reconsideration of the rule as required by law.”

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