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Senators ask EPA to Withdraw Phase 3 Greenhouse Gas Regs

A group of U.S. senators recently wrote a letter to EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan, asking the agency to withdraw proposed emissions regulations. The letter follows more than 150 House Republicans sending a letter to Regan earlier last week and both houses of Congress recently voting to overturn the EPA regs.

The two suggested rules, "Multi-Pollutant Emissions Standards for Model Years 2027 and Later Light-Duty and Medium-Duty Vehicles" and "Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards for Heavy-Duty Vehicles -- Phase 3," would mandate a transition to electric cars and trucks in the absence of Congressional direction, the letter states.

The senators claim that the proposed regulations would infringe upon the legal precedent established by the Supreme Court in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency in 2022. In that case, the court ruled that the EPA cannot impose significant changes that would "substantially restructure the American energy market" without explicit approval from Congress.

According to the letter, the heavy-duty vehicle rule would necessitate a 40% adoption of zero-emission vehicles by 2032, a substantial increase from the current global percentages of 0.1% for heavy-duty trucks and 4% for bus fleets. The letter expresses concerns that if these proposals are enacted, it would effectively require a complete shift from using widely available liquid fuels to relying on charging battery electric vehicles (BEVs) from the national electric grid. The senators argue that this constitutes a significant and costly technology transition mandate imposed on American consumers by the agency, without the necessary clear and direct statutory authority as outlined in the West Virginia v. EPA ruling.

Moreover, the senators expressed concerns regarding the capacity of the American electric grid to accommodate a larger fleet of electric vehicles. They referenced a study conducted by the American Transportation Research Institute, which revealed that a complete transition to electric vehicles would necessitate generating and transmitting electricity equivalent to more than 40% of the current electric demand.

Additionally, the senators raised apprehensions about the increasing regulation placed on electric power generation. They highlighted that shifting to heavy-duty electric vehicles, due to their heavier batteries and reduced payloads, could potentially result in a higher number of such vehicles on the roads. This, in turn, could have implications for highway safety and traffic congestion. Furthermore, the senators noted that the EPA's proposals lack coordination with the U.S. Department of Transportation on these and other pertinent matters, suggesting that American infrastructure may not be adequately prepared to handle the increased weight of electric vehicles.

The letter was signed by 27 Republican U.S. senators, led by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-West Virginia), who serves as the ranking member on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.


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