Politics

Ryan: Relaxing EPA Rules Endangers GM Lordstown

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Rolling back fuel economy standards poses a threat to not just the environment and public health, but also to auto industry jobs at plants such as General Motors’ Lordstown Complex, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan said Wednesday.

“The Trump Administration is setting Ohio back and putting GM Lordstown at risk,” Ryan. D-13 Ohio, said in response to Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt’s announcement Monday calling for reductions in emission standards on light-duty vehicles.

“The current vehicle standards save consumers money, create thousands of manufacturing jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil that is wrecking our public health and environment,” Ryan said.

Ryan said that Ohio is ranked second in production of light-vehicle models in the country and the industry here employs about 95,000 at an average salary of $61,500. Among the models that champion this fuel economy is the Chevrolet Cruze, which is manufactured at the Lordstown plant.

“Our bottom line is jobs and we can’t afford Trump’s policies that hurt one of our most important local industries,” Ryan said. “By encouraging automakers to invest more in large trucks and SUVs, President Trump is putting ideology ahead of jobs.”

Pruitt announced April 2 that the EPA would reduce the Obama-era targeted goals of achieving average fuel efficiencies of 50 miles per gallon for light-duty vehicles by 2025.

The Obama Administration put the standards in place in 2011 in an effort to reduce carbon emissions and to establish innovative ways to manufacture more fuel-efficient vehicles.

“The Obama administration’s determination was wrong,” Pruitt said in a statement. “Obama’s EPA cut the Midterm Evaluation process short with politically charged expediency, made assumptions about the standards that didn’t comport with reality and set the standards too high.”

The EPA head also took issue with past exemptions awarded to California, which has been allowed to impose even higher standards on vehicles in that state.

“Cooperative federalism doesn’t mean that one state can dictate the standards for the rest of the country,” he said. “EPA will set a national standard for greenhouse gas emissions that allows auto manufacturers to make cars that people both want and can afford – while still expanding environmental and safety benefits of newer cars.”

The Association of Global Automakers praised the move Monday.

“We appreciate the EPA’s data-driven process in arriving at its final determination that adjustments to the national GHG program are needed,” said John Bozella, the association’s president and CEO.

Attorneys general from 11 states including New York, Massachusetts and Iowa have already challenged the EPA ruling.

“All Americans deserve to enjoy fuel-efficient, low emission cars and light trucks that save money on gas, improve our health and support American jobs,” the officials said in a statement.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said the state was prepared to file suit against the EPA’s decision.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.