EPA is set to reopen a review of car emissions standards set under the Obama administration


Published: Mar 4, 2017 2:12 p.m. ET

Reuters Trucks line up at the Port of Long Beach in California in this file photo taken Oct. 15, 2014.


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is near reversing an Obama administration decision to lock in future stringent vehicle fuel-economy and emission standards after auto makers lobbied the agency’s new chief to reopen a review of the regulations, said people familiar with the matter.

The EPA is preparing to as soon as the coming week undo a “final determination” the agency made in January to keep the future mileage and emissions targets intact, though the timing could slip, the people said. The decision would reopen a review of whether the standards intended to cut tailpipe emissions should be relaxed, toughened or left unchanged. The standards would remain in place in the meantime.

The agency is also discussing implications stemming from California’s waiver from the EPA to set its own vehicle greenhouse-gas emissions standards, some of the people said. California currently sets its standards to follow the EPA’s as part of a “one national program,” but the state also has a separate zero-emission vehicles regulation emulated in many other states that essentially forces auto makers to sell electric cars.

t isn’t clear whether the EPA plans to take any steps regarding the existing waiver. California has signaled it will resist efforts to roll back its environmental policies, and lawmakers have retained former Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder for legal advice.

An EPA spokeswoman declined to comment. Reuters earlier reported the EPA was near reopening the emissions review.

An expanded version of this report appears at WSJ.com.



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