Tuesday, May 15, 2007

President Calls For Regulations & Coordination For 20-in-10 Plan

May 14: In a Rose Garden event at the White House, President George Bush discussed his plans on corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) and alternative fuel standards. The President said, "We now have reached a pivotal moment where advances in technology are creating new ways to improve energy security, strengthen national security, and protect the environment. To help achieve all these priorities, I set an ambitious goal in my State of the Union: to cut America's gasoline usage by 20 percent over the next 10 years. I call this goal 20-in-10, and I have said -- sent to Congress a proposal that would meet it in two steps: First, this proposal will set a mandatory fuel standard that requires 35 billion gallons of renewable and other alternative fuels by 2017. That's nearly five times the current target. Second, the proposal would continue our efforts to increase fuel efficiency. My administration has twice increased fuel economy standards for light trucks. Together, these reforms would save billions of gallons of fuel and reduce net greenhouse gas emissions without compromising jobs or safety."

The President also addressed last month's U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the case of Massachusetts, et al. v. EPA, et al., No. 05-1120 [
See WIMS 4/2/07]. saying, "...the Supreme Court ruled that the EPA must take action under the Clean Air Act regarding greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles. So today, I'm directing the EPA and the Department of Transportation, Energy, and Agriculture to take the first steps toward regulations that would cut gasoline consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles, using my 20-in-10 plan as a starting point. Developing these regulations will require coordination across many different areas of expertise. Today, I signed an executive order directing all our agencies represented here today to work together on this proposal. I've also asked them to listen to public input, to carefully consider safety, science, and available technologies, and evaluate the benefits and costs before they put forth the new regulation."

The President's Executive Order ... declares that, "It is the policy of the United States to ensure the coordinated and effective exercise of the authorities of the President and the heads of the Department of Transportation, the Department of Energy, and the Environmental Protection Agency to protect the environment with respect to greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles, nonroad vehicles, and nonroad engines, in a manner consistent with sound science, analysis of benefits and costs, public safety, and economic growth." The Order generally calls for coordination and cooperation between all levels of the executive branch and indicates that, "To implement this order, the heads of the agencies acting jointly may allocate as appropriate among the agencies administrative responsibilities relating to regulatory actions to which section 3 refers, such as publication of notices in the Federal Register and receipt of comments in response to notices."

According to a fact sheet on the President's actions, he has "directed these agencies to take the first steps toward regulations that would cut gasoline consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles, using as a starting point his "Twenty in Ten" plan to reduce U.S. gasoline consumption by 20 percent over the next 10 years." In his statement he said, "...I have directed members of my administration to complete the process by the end of 2008."

Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Chair of the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee said, “This is an Executive Order on interagency relationships. While good relations among agencies are important to the regulatory process, it’s also important to recognize that reducing gasoline consumption requires more than good interagency dynamics. The absence of any standards in today’s announcement is a reason why Americans will be looking to Congress for stronger leadership on energy policy..."

Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM), Ranking Member of the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee said, “In response to the Supreme Court’s decision EPA v. Massachusetts, President Bush today announced that he has issued an executive order instructing the EPA and other relevant agencies to develop new regulations that will raise the average fuel economy of American vehicles and increase the use of alternative fuels. News today that DailmerChrysler will sell a controlling interest in its struggling Chrysler Group reminds us of the significant financial troubles facing America’s auto industry. One of the reasons for these struggles is the failure of the Big Three to adapt to the growing need for vehicles that are more fuel efficient. The American consumer is now demanding vehicles that use less gasoline and emit less carbon dioxide."

The American Petroleum Institute (API) issued a statement saying, “API is pleased that the Bush administration has decided to undertake a full rulemaking and comment approach that recognizes the technological challenges and significant infrastructure hurdles that must be resolved to significantly increase renewable and alternative fuels in the nation’s fuel mix... Ethanol has a role as a transportation energy source, but that role will be limited until significant technology breakthroughs permit economic production of ethanol from biomass (cellulosic). The timing of such breakthroughs is highly speculative. There is no guarantee that technologies would emerge to enable large-scale economic cellulosic ethanol production in the next decade and ensure reliable energy for U.S. consumers at affordable prices. It is critical that any alternative fuels standard include regular technology and feasibility reviews that would trigger appropriate adjustments to mandates to ensure companies and consumers are not penalized due to obstacles that might prevent meeting usage targets."

Carl Pope, Sierra Club Executive Director, issued a release saying, "It is encouraging that the President is now also showing interest in tackling some of our most pressing problems; however, he already enjoys the clear authority to address these problems and he can and should act immediately to do so. There is no reason to wait until the end of 2008 for federal agencies to act... Most importantly, the President has existing authority to raise fuel economy standards the 4 percent per year he promised in the State of the Union... It's great that everyone from Ted Stevens to Barack Obama to President Bush wants to improve fuel economy at 4 percent a year. Such an increase would dramatically cut both our oil consumption and global warming emissions... "Fourteen states, representing some 40 percent of the U.S. auto market, have adopted California’s landmark global warming emissions standards for automobiles. California and the other states are still waiting for permission from the Environmental Protection Agency to implement them."

Access links to the President's comments, the Executive Order and a fact sheet (
click here). Access the statement from Senator Bingaman (click here). Access the statement from Senator Domenici (click here). Access the statement from API (click here). Access the Sierra Club statement (click here). [*Energy, *Climate]