- - Thursday, May 25, 2023

More than two dozen Republican senators pressed the Biden administration on Thursday to rescind new strict vehicle emissions standards that they said overstep the president’s authority and impossible higher costs on Americans.

In a letter to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan, the senators called for the withdrawal of two recent proposals to regulate tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions from light-, medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.

“These proposals effectively mandate a costly transition to electric cars and trucks in the absence of congressional direction, and the Agency should immediately rescind both proposals,” said the letter that was spearheaded by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and signed by 25 other GOP senators.

Signatories included Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John Barrasso of Wyoming.

They said that forcing the transition to electric vehicles without delegated authority from Congress violates the separation of powers and therefore poses questions about the proposal’s legality.

“These proposals are legally flawed, divorced from reality with regard to the associated costs and domestic capacity to implement them, and would be devastating for American consumers and workers already burdened by sustained levels of historically high inflation,” the senators said about the proposed new emissions standards.

The senators also raised questions about reliability issues with the country’s electric grid, lack of support infrastructure capacity, minimal coordination with the U.S. Department of Transportation to address safety issues, and disregard for consumer choice or affordability.

The letter comes on the heels of the House passing legislation that would roll back an EPA rule to limit emissions for heavy-duty trucks and pickups. The rule mandates a 50% reduction of nitrogen oxide emissions by 2045 as part of a Clean Trucks Plan. 

It is expected to cost $2,500 to $8,300 per vehicle, and as much as $42,000 per vehicle for semi-trailer trucks.

The EPA points to potential health benefits of the new EPA rule such as preventing up to 2,900 premature deaths and saving more than 1 million lost school days.

President Biden is expected to veto the GOP-led bill rejecting the rule. It would take a two-thirds majority in both chambers of Congress to override the veto, which Republicans likely can’t muster.

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the EPA‘s estimated number of premature deaths its new emissions rule would prevent.

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