CEI Requests EPA Reconsider Vehicle Emissions Rule After Federal Court Rules Social Cost of Carbon Likely Unlawful

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WASHINGTON – The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) sent a formal request on behalf of itself and four individuals to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan today, requesting the agency reconsider its final rule increasing fuel economy standards in the wake of a recent court ruling that a key metric relied upon in the vehicle emissions rule was likely unlawful.

The December 2021 fuel economy rule, titled “Revised 2023 and Later Model Year Light-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards,” relied on a metric known as the social cost of carbon, which was declared likely unlawful by a district judge last week. The judge further prohibited EPA and a number of other agencies and federal officials from relying on the social cost of carbon in rulemakings.

In the vehicle emissions rule, EPA relied on the social cost of carbon estimates from the Interagency Working Group (IWG), touted how the “benefits [of this rule] include reduced impacts of climate change,” and touted the total net benefits. But 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 raised the problems with the IGW social cost of carbon estimate in filed comments on the draft vehicle emissions rule.

In the letter, CEI attorney Devin Watkins writes:

Given the magnitude of the GHG benefits claimed by this rule, those claims are of central relevance to the outcome of the rule. None of the IGW numbers can be relied upon by EPA while it is under the current court order.

Because EPA is now under a court order to no longer rely upon the GHG estimates that it used, and because this development occurred after the close of the public comment period but within the time specified for judicial review, we request Administrator Regan to convene a proceeding for reconsideration of the rule as required by law.

Read the whole letter from CEI to EPA Administrator Regan.