October 18, 2019
Yesterday, U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of the Environmental and Public Works (EPW) Committee, submitted a statement for the record for an EPW Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee hearing titled “Reducing Emissions While Driving Economic Growth: Industry-led Initiatives.”
Mr. Chairman, thank you for hosting this hearing on the important ways industry has both voluntarily and effectively reduced its impact on the environment. This is a necessary discussion as, unfortunately, we rarely hear of the many ways industry is already taking initiative to reduce its environmental footprint without overly burdensome and ineffective government mandates. I am taking this opportunity to highlight an instance when regulators went too far with an emission reduction proposal that harmed American innovation and economic growth.
As a former chairman of this full committee, I distinctly recall the many spirited policy disagreements I had with the Obama administration on environmental regulations. While there were many heavy-handed and harmful proposals during that administration, one of the most ill-conceived was in regard to changes to corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards. As many know, days before President Trump’s inauguration, the Obama administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) acted unilaterally to lock in its portion of the 2012 CAFE standards through 2025. These standards would have unquestionably hampered production of trucks and SUVs as these types of vehicles do not help automakers meet the arbitrary CAFE standards of 50 miles per gallon fuel economy average by 2025. Government bureaucrats intended to force their radical environmental agenda on Americans despite the reality that SUVs and trucks make up over two-thirds of vehicles sold in America. The standards have also encouraged car companies like Jeep to sacrifice passenger safety by foregoing a spare tire in an effort to reduce vehicle weight to increase average fuel economy. Fortunately, the Trump administration is putting a stop to President Obama’s harmful fuel economy standards and has proposed replacing them with standards that will reduce vehicle price tags for consumers while maintaining an ambitious national fuel economy standard.
The Obama-era CAFE standards are one of many instances in which bureaucrats have forced their radical environmental agenda on the American people. These policies are misguided and unfairly limit consumer choice. Oklahomans want affordable vehicles and do not need Washington elites telling them what kind of cars they can own. I continue to be proud of the Trump administration and its efforts to cut red tape and improve CAFE standards. I am proud we finally have a president willing to stand up for Oklahoma’s farmers, ranchers and small business owners.