Republican attorneys general urge Biden to drop EPA emissions plan


By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -A group of 25 Republican state attorneys general Thursday urged the Biden administration to abandon its proposal to sharply cut vehicle tailpipe emissions, which would require dramatically more electric vehicles, saying it would harm the economy and burden the electrical grid.

The Environmental Protection Agency in April proposed new 2027-2032 vehicle standards that would cut emissions by 56% versus existing 2026 requirements. The EPA estimates that to meet the new standard, automakers would need to have 60% of their production be EVs by 2030 and 67% by 2032.

The attorneys general, led by Kentucky’s Daniel Cameron and West Virginia’s Patrick Morrisey, called the EPA proposal “unlawful and misguided” and said it “would damage our economy, tax our electrical grids and the families and businesses who depend on them, and threaten our national security.”

Many Republican state attorneys general have sued the EPA over its 2021 restoration of the Obama-era standards that were rolled back under Republican former President Donald Trump. Those lawsuits are pending.

Last week, the trade group representing nearly all major automakers said it wants the EPA to soften its proposal to sharply cut vehicle emissions through 2032, saying it is “neither reasonable nor achievable.”

The Alliance for Automotive Innovation, which represents General Motors, Volkswagen, Toyota (7203.T), Hyundai and others, recommended “adopting requirements for 40 to 50% (electric, plug-in electric and fuel vehicles) in 2030 with continued increases through 2032.”

The group called the proposal a “de facto battery electric vehicle mandate” and noted that EVs represented about 6% of new light-duty vehicles sales in 2022.

Environmentalists are pressing the Biden administration not to weaken its proposal. The American Lung Association, American Medical Association and other health groups said the EPA should adopt more stringent standards in order to “protect regional air quality, address disparities in pollution burdens and reduce the health impacts of the climate crisis.”

Mazda said separately that it was worried about the “exceptional stringency” of the rule, while Ford Motor said the EPA should “avoid setting criteria emissions requirements that will force unnecessarily large or ill-timed investments.”

(Reporting by David Shepardson; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Leslie Adler)

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