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EPA Deluged with Tailpipe Rule Comments

The Environmental Protection Agency has received tens of thousands of comments—including some from the NAM—on two proposed tailpipe rules for vehicles, setting up what could be “months of heated debate over the future of U.S. transportation,” E&E News’ CLIMATEWIRE (subscription) reports.

What’s going on: In April, the agency set forth two draft regulations—one for cars and another for trucks—which would “set strict enough limits on tailpipe pollution that manufacturers would be compelled to more quickly shift their production away from vehicles that run on fossil fuels and toward those that are powered by batteries, fuel cells and other … systems.”

  • The regulations would apply to cars and trucks manufactured starting in model year 2027.

Why it’s important: The proposed mandates depend on a steep, imminent spike in the construction and availability of electric-vehicle charging stations, the NAM told the EPA this month in response to the truck proposal.

  • The national electric transmission infrastructure would have to grow some 57% by 2035 to reach the EPA’s goals regarding light-, medium- and heavy-duty trucks, according to the Department of Energy’s draft National Transmission Needs Study from February 2023, NAM Vice President of Energy and Resources Policy Brandon Farris said.
  • “[A]t the historical pace of approximately 1% annual growth for these projects, the transmission system would require more than half a century to achieve the goals the administration hopes to achieve in little more than a decade,” he continued.

What should be done: The draft rules should be revised so that they are technology-neutral, Farris added, “allowing market forces to determine which technologies work best for specific sectors.”

  • The rules should also “recognize the realities and limitations of current infrastructure, even as manufacturers urge administration officials and congressional leaders to prioritize policies that would strengthen transmission systems and infrastructure, including critical permitting reforms,” Farris concluded.

What’s next: The EPA expects to receive upward of 100,000 comments on the proposed laws and said that processing them all will likely “take weeks.”

  • The public comment period for the draft cars rule ends July 5.
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