Obama Sets Deadline for Big-Truck Climate Rule

<p>President Obama wants to complete climate rules for trucks well before he leaves office.</p>
National Journal
Ben Geman
Feb. 18, 2014, 1:21 a.m.

Pres­id­ent Obama is dir­ect­ing fed­er­al agen­cies to com­plete the next round of car­bon-emis­sions and fuel-ef­fi­ciency stand­ards for large and me­di­um-sized trucks by March 2016, the White House said Tues­day.

Obama an­nounced the dead­line at a Safe­way dis­tri­bu­tion cen­ter in Up­per Marl­boro, Md., where he cast the plan as a way to help con­sumers and the cli­mate while boost­ing U.S. en­ergy se­cur­ity.

“Im­prov­ing gas mileage for these trucks are go­ing to drive down our oil im­ports even fur­ther. That re­duces car­bon pol­lu­tion even more, cuts down on busi­nesses’ fuel costs, which should pay off in lower prices for con­sumers,” Obama said. “It’s not just a win-win, it’s a win-win-win.”

The En­vir­on­ment­al Pro­tec­tion Agency and the Trans­port­a­tion De­part­ment are craft­ing their second round of ef­fi­ciency and emis­sions stand­ards for me­di­um- and heavy-duty vehicles, such as big rigs, buses, large pickups, garbage trucks, and de­liv­ery vans.

The first round of stand­ards, com­pleted in 2011, cov­er mod­el years 2014-2018, while the new rules will “reach well in­to the next dec­ade,” the White House said.

Com­mer­cial truck­ing fleets and oth­er large, work­horse vehicles rep­res­ent a big op­por­tun­ity to re­duce heat-trap­ping car­bon-di­ox­ide emis­sions and curb oil use, of­fi­cials say.

Ac­cord­ing to the White House, in 2010 heavy-duty vehicles ac­coun­ted for about a quarter of the “on-road” fuel de­mand and emis­sions from trans­port­a­tion, even though they’re only 4 per­cent of the vehicles on the road.

The stand­ards cov­er­ing mod­el years 2014-18 are es­tim­ated to cut fuel costs by $50 bil­lion and save 530 mil­lion bar­rels of oil over the life of the vehicles, ac­cord­ing to the White House.

The next round of truck stand­ards are part of the second-term cli­mate plan the pres­id­ent un­veiled last June. The dead­line an­nounced Tues­day un­der­scores White House ef­forts to have ex­ec­ut­ive ac­tions on cli­mate com­pleted well be­fore Obama leaves of­fice. 

EPA is fa­cing a sep­ar­ate dead­line in June of this year to un­veil draft car­bon-emis­sions rules for the na­tion’s ex­ist­ing power plants, and must com­plete them a year later.

Tues­day’s event marks the second time in re­cent days that Obama has per­son­ally pro­moted pieces of his cli­mate-change agenda.

On Fri­day, in Cali­for­nia, he touted a pro­pos­al to cre­ate a $1 bil­lion “Cli­mate Re­si­li­ence Fund” to help com­munit­ies and farm­ers pre­pare for ex­treme weath­er that’s ex­pec­ted to be worsened by glob­al warm­ing. But that pro­pos­al faces huge polit­ic­al hurdles on Cap­it­ol Hill.

EPA and the Trans­port­a­tion De­part­ment are craft­ing the truck reg­u­la­tions un­der their ex­ist­ing au­thor­it­ies.

The two agen­cies have pre­vi­ously teamed up to com­plete two rounds of mileage and emis­sions rules for pas­sen­ger cars and light trucks — the first cov­ers mod­el years 2011-2016 and the second cov­ers 2017-2025. Those rules will re­quire auto­makers to meet a fleet-wide av­er­age for cars and light trucks of 54.5 miles-per-gal­lon in 2025.

Obama on Tues­day touted ad­min­is­tra­tion fuel-eco­nomy ef­forts in not­ing that rising U.S. oil-pro­duc­tion levels re­cently began sur­pass­ing the na­tion’s fall­ing oil-im­port levels for the first time in 20 years, while car­bon emis­sions also have fallen in re­cent years.

“One of the reas­ons why is be­cause we ded­ic­ated ourselves to man­u­fac­tur­ing new cars and new trucks that go farther on a gal­lon of gas, and that saves fam­il­ies money, it cuts down on harm­ful pol­lu­tion, and cre­ates new ad­vances in Amer­ic­an tech­no­logy,” Obama said.

What We're Following See More »
FIRST WOMAN NOMINATED BY MAJOR PARTY
Hillary Clinton Accepts the Democratic Nomination for President
7 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"It is with humility, determination, and boundless confidence in America’s promise that I accept your nomination for president," said Hillary Clinton in becoming the first woman to accept a nomination for president from a major party. Clinton gave a wide-ranging address, both criticizing Donald Trump and speaking of what she has done in the past and hopes to do in the future. "He's taken the Republican party a long way, from morning in America to midnight in America," Clinton said of Trump. However, most of her speech focused instead on the work she has done and the work she hopes to do as president. "I will be a president of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. For the struggling, the striving, the successful," she said. "For those who vote for me and for those who don't. For all Americans together."

COUNTER-CHANTS AT THE READY
Protesters Make Good on Threat to Disrupt Speech
7 hours ago
THE LATEST

Supporters of Bernie Sanders promised to walk out, turn their backs, or disrupt Hillary Clinton's speech tonight, and they made good immediately, with an outburst almost as soon as Clinton began her speech. But her supporters, armed with a handy counter-chant cheat sheet distributed by the campaign, immediately began drowning them out with chants of "Hillary, Hillary!"

SUFFOLK POLL
New Survey Shows Clinton Up 9 in Pennsylvania
16 hours ago
THE LATEST

If a new poll is to be believed, Hillary Clinton has a big lead in the all-important swing state of Pennsylvania. A new Suffolk University survey shows her ahead of Donald Trump, 50%-41%. In a four-way race, she maintains her nine-point lead, 46%-37%. "Pennsylvania has voted Democratic in the past six presidential elections, going back to Bill Clinton’s first win in 1992. Yet it is a rust belt state that could be in play, as indicated by recent general-election polling showing a close race."

Source:
THREE NIGHTS RUNNING
Democrats Beat Republicans in Convention Ratings So Far
16 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Wednesday was the third night in a row that the Democratic convention enjoyed a ratings win over the Republican convention last week. Which might have prompted a fundraising email from Donald Trump exhorting supporters not to watch. "Unless you want to be lied to, belittled, and attacked for your beliefs, don't watch Hillary's DNC speech tonight," the email read. "Instead, help Donald Trump hold her accountable, call out her lies and fight back against her nasty attacks."

Source:
SHIFT FROM ROMNEY’S NUMBERS
Catholics, Highly Educated Moving Toward Dems
20 hours ago
THE LATEST

Catholics who attend mass at least weekly have increased their support of the Democratic nominee by 22 points, relative to 2012, when devout Catholics backed Mitt Romney. Meanwhile, a Morning Consult poll shows that those voters with advanced degrees prefer Hillary Clinton, 51%-34%. Which, we suppose, makes the ideal Clinton voter a Catholic with a PhD in divinity.

×