The Trump Administration has made no secret of its disdain for the Environmental Protection Agency, clean air, clean water, or the idea of government serving as a watchdog to industry in general. How far will they go with it? I’ll tell you: say goodbye to EPA light-vehicle emissions and fuel-economy testing, pretty much.
Reuters’ David Shepardson reports that according to a White House budget document posted online, the EPA’s vehicle testing budget would be cut by 99 percent and the staff that does that testing would be cut by more than half. The cuts would be to the department that certifies emissions are met and that fuel economy claims are accurate.
From the story:
It represents a 99 percent federal cut to the vehicle testing budget and would require “pretty much shutting down the testing lab,” said Margo Oge, who headed the EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality under President Barack Obama.
The proposal, which would also cut 168 out of 304 full-time jobs, seeks to partially fund current operations by boosting fees automakers and engine manufacturers pay for testing. An EPA official confirmed the document’s authenticity.
While an EPA spokesman declined to say exactly how this will effect vehicle testing beyond what is assumed here, the document in question indicates the government will raise revenue by charging automakers more for what little testing it will do. The new administration releases its budget in May.
And you know what, fine. This is all fine. After all, it’s not like one of the world’s largest automakers was caught engaging in widespread emissions cheating that led to billions of dollars in fines, criminal prosecutions, massive recalls and untold environmental damage just in this country alone.
And it’s not like other automakers in recent years have been caught lying about their fuel economy figures to consumers, leading to criminal investigations and more lawsuits worth hundreds of millions of dollars all told.
Yep, none of those things have happened, ever. And it’s a good thing we can trust all these automakers and other companies to just do the right thing on their own, seeing as how they have our best interests at heart, and all.
I hope you’re all nostalgic for the 1970s, because that’s what our air is gonna look like again real soon.