The Obama Administration on Thursday issued strict new environmental standards for motor vehicles, prompting a key Republican senator to respond with a call for legislation to mitigate its impact.
The rules, issued by the Transportation Department and the Environmental Protection Agency, force car manufacturers to increase the fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions for cars and trucks.
Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, sharply criticized the new policy, saying it was nothing more than a "backdoor energy tax."
“Achieving greater fuel efficiency and lessening dependence on foreign oil are two policy goals that I support,” Sen. Inhofe said. “We have many ways of achieving these goals without imposing a backdoor energy tax on consumers created by the EPA. As the EPA administrator admitted to me, EPA’s regulation won’t have any meaningful climate impacts. However, it most certainly will mean higher costs for consumers and fewer jobs. In short, EPA’s backdoor tax is all pain for no climate gain."
The senator said he was working to overturn a previous agency finding that gave it the authority to issue the new rules.
“This is the initial step in EPA’s regulatory barrage stemming from the endangerment finding," said Inhofe. "I will continue to work with Sen. Murkowski and other senators from both parties to overturn this finding, remove EPA’s authority to regulate every corner of the American economy, and protect jobs and consumers all across the country.”
The administration claims the new standards will conserve 1.8 billion barrels of oil and reduce a billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
"These historic new standards set ambitious, but achievable, fuel economy requirements for the automotive industry that will also encourage new and emerging technologies," said Obama’s Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said. "We will be helping American motorists save money at the pump, while putting less pollution in the air."