Inspector General’s Report Confirms Rollback of Clean Car Standards was Deeply Flawed

April 20, 2021
Sharyn Stein, 202-905-5718,

EPA’s Office of the Inspector General issued a report today confirming the Trump administration violated transparency, record-keeping, and other procedural requirements during the rulemaking process for the rollback of the federal Clean Car standards.

“This report confirms what we have long known – that this deeply flawed rollback was not only legally unsound in its substance, but so mired in procedural deficiencies that the administration’s own Office of Management and Budget raised concerns about its legality,” said Environmental Defense Fund senior attorney Alice Henderson. “Today’s findings underscore how important it is for EPA to reclaim its role in reducing harmful vehicle air pollution, and to move swiftly to create multipollutant vehicle standards that will fulfill the agency’s duty to protect public health and welfare.”

The Inspector General’s audit found that NHTSA alone “performed all major technical assessments for the rule,” and that “EPA did not follow its established process for developing regulatory actions,” including a failure to “conduct analysis related to executive orders on the impacts of modified GHG standards on vulnerable populations.” Many of the rule’s violations were also highlighted in a February 2020 memo from Senator Tom Carper to the EPA Inspector General.

“EPA must step up to its statutory role and responsibility to protect human health and the environment from climate and air pollution and, consistent with the recommendations in the report, immediately release all interagency documents related to the rollback,” said Henderson. “With the transportation sector poised for transformation, the Biden administration must now seize the opportunity to implement pollution standards and make needed investments in domestic manufacturing and jobs. That will help us eliminate tailpipe pollution from new passenger vehicles by 2035, putting us on the path to a clean transportation sector by 2050.”

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