EPA chief secretly gave huge raises to longtime aides

Apr 04, 2018, 01:14
EPA chief secretly gave huge raises to longtime aides

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittWhite House looking into Pruitt activities after condo controversy: report EPA reportedly approved a company's project while Pruitt stayed in one of its lobbyists' condos EPA considered leasing a private jet for Pruitt: report MORE celebrated with auto industry representatives Tuesday after his ruling that future vehicle emissions standards should be eased.

Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan says he will join other states in opposing the Trump administration's efforts to rollback fuel Obama-era fuel economy standards.

As part of his policy of undoing many of his predecessor's environmental moves, President Donald Trump past year called for a review of rules submitted by Obama mandating an increase in fuel economy for all domestic vehicles to an average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.

Current regulations from the EPA require the fleet of new vehicles to get 36 miles per gallon in real-world driving by 2025. The average fuel economy during Obama's tenure was around 25 mpg.

Meanwhile, the EPA inspector general has widened its investigation into travel and security expenses multiple times, and the audit now includes the administrator's trip to Morocco.

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He's doing so at the behest of the vehicle industry: "Auto industry executives have not publicly sought specific reductions in the requirements negotiated with the Obama administration in 2011 as part of a bailout deal".

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers applauded the move, saying it would "keep new vehicles affordable to more Americans".

Environmentalists, meanwhile, warned the proposed rollbacks will make USA cars more expensive to fill up.

"The Obama Administration's determination was wrong", said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.

California has always been allowed by the EPA - under the so-called "California waiver" - to impose stricter standards than Washington does on vehicle emissions of some pollutants.

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Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano said California is within its legal rights to defy the federal government and set its own emissions standards.

An ethics official at the EPA has insisted Pruitt's lease did not violate federal rules.

A joint statement by the governors of California, Oregon and Washington, as well as the mayors of Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco, Portland, Ore., and Seattle, also decried the EPA's decision.

While a trade group representing the US auto industry said a review of fuel standards was the right move, critics said it would hurt the average consumer.

"A few industry lobbyists may be celebrating in Administrator Pruitt's apartment, but with middle class wages flatlining and 17 of the last 18 years being the warmest on record, consumers and America's future generations will pay a steep price for this decision", he said.

More news: Trump to impose tariffs on $50 bn in Chinese imports: White House

It could take a couple years for the EPA to propose new rules, gather public comment and finalize any changes.

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