Dissatisfied with information provided so far by the state agency, Issa, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, is readying a second round of questions for the board’s chairman, Mary Nichols.
At issue is whether state officials were improperly involved in talks that yielded new standards requiring the nation’s fleet of cars and light-duty trucks to achieve 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016 and 54.4 by 2025. The latter number is roughly twice today’s 27.3 standard.
Issa, R-CA, has raised concerns that the rules will cost the auto industry billions of dollars, limit the choices consumers have and make cars less safe, since raising a car’s gas mileage often means using lighter, less crash-resistant materials.
The congressman has focused his scrutiny on a series of what he says were secretive meetings — involving automakers, the Obama administration and the Air Resources Board — that spawned the new standards outside of both public view and the traditional rulemaking process.
“The American people want more reliable cars, safer cars and fuel-efficient cars and we have a system that is supposed to guarantee all three,” Issa said in a recent interview. “We want to know — was the regulatory process properly covered? Where were the pinch points?”
One of those pinch points, he suggests, was California’s unique leverage in the negotiations. A special federal waiver allows California to regulate greenhouse gas emissions in the state. While that authority does not extend to national fuel economy standards, the two are….
Read more from Ben Goad at PE.com.