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AEA Statement on EPA’s Final Determination for Fuel Economy Mandate

WASHINGTON – The American Energy Alliance (AEA) opposes the Obama administration’s decision to move forward with its unrealistic and costly fuel economy mandate for 2022-2025. AEA spokesman Chris Warren released the following statement:

“The Obama administration is trying to cement an agenda that the American people have rejected—not just at the polls, but also through their vehicle choices. The fuel economy mandates for 2022-2025 are outrageously unrealistic and will make it increasingly difficult for American families to afford new cars. Politics are clearly the motivating factor behind the Obama administration’s decision as they broke with their own timeline to ram this costly mandate through before January 20th. We look forward to the Trump administration taking a more level-headed approach that puts fuel economy standards in line with the needs of American families.”

Click here to read the Institute for Energy Research’s official comment.

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Coalition Calls on Senate to Confirm Pruitt as EPA Chief

WASHINGTON — Today the American Energy Alliance released a coalition letter signed by more than 20 organizations urging the Senate to confirm Scott Pruitt as the next EPA Administrator. Below is an excerpt from the letter:

Attorney General Pruitt has consistently fought for Oklahoma families and communities and has been a stalwart defender against federal intrusion into state and individual rights. Notably, Mr. Pruitt led a multi-state effort opposing the EPA’s unlawful attempt to take over the nation’s electricity grid under section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act. The EPA’s plan would shutter an estimated 40 GW of reliable and affordable energy, unnecessarily harming American families for little to no environmental benefit.

In recent years, the EPA has been chronically late on complying with deadlines. In a study assessing 1,000 deadlines across the four major stationary source programs, the Competitive Enterprise Institute found that the EPA missed 84 percent of their Clean Air Act deadlines and was late by an average of 4.3 years. Mr. Pruitt will work to get the EPA back on track and in compliance with its statutory Clean Air Act responsibilities.

Attorney General Pruitt has stood up for states, families, and the Constitution by opposing the Administration’s unconstitutional regulatory overreach through the re-definition of the “waters of the United States.” This rule was so invasive that small ditches on family farms or near businesses could have been subject to federal regulation. Mr. Pruitt filed suit against the EPA, refusing to subject Oklahomans and other Americans to this unconstitutional regulation without exhausting all legal pathways.

Mr. Pruitt has demonstrated his commitment to upholding the Constitution and ensuring the EPA works for American families and consumers. Under Mr. Pruitt, we hope the EPA will follow the laws set forth by Congress and cooperate with states to advance its mission of keeping our air clean and our water pure. We fully support Mr. Pruitt for the position of EPA Administrator and encourage the Senate to swiftly approve his nomination.

Click here to view the full letter.

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AEA Key Votes Regulatory Reform Bills

WASHINGTON — Today the American Energy Alliance urged all Representatives to vote YES on both the REINS Act and the Midnight Rules Relief Act. Below is the text of AEA’s key-vote alert:

This week, the House is set to vote on two regulatory reform measures. The Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act would increase accountability and transparency in the federal regulatory process. The Midnight Rules Relief Act would ease the process by which Congress can consider Congressional Review Acts (CRA), expediting the process of rolling back overbearing regulations. Representatives should vote YES on both bills.

The REINS Act would require a joint resolution of approval from Congress for all major rules. According to GAO, a major rule is:

…one that has resulted in or is likely to result in (1) an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more; (2) a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, individual industries, federal, state, or local government agencies, or geographic regions; or (3) significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, or innovation, or on the ability of United States-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises in domestic and export markets.

Thus, the REINS Act would make America’s elected representatives more accountable for federal regulations. Rules such as the Clean Power Plan, Waters of the United States, and ozone regulations would be subject to review by Congress, not left to the whim of unelected bureaucrats. The REINS Act would still allow agencies to perform their functions as delegated by Congress, but extends a necessary check on the rulemaking process. This is especially important as agencies like the EPA and Interior Department have imposed very controversial regulations that cost billions of dollars over with little benefits.

The Midnight Rules Relief Act would improve the CRA process by allowing for en bloc consideration of CRA bills. A CRA is a joint resolution of disapproval for specific major rules that would prohibit the rule from taking effect. It also bars agencies from promulgating a substantially similar rule in the future, unless Congress specifically authorizes it.

Under the current process, each individual regulation must have its own CRA, of which debate is limited to 10 hours. The Midnight Rules Act would appropriately streamline this process, allowing multiple rules to be included in one CRA bill.

The American Energy Alliance urges all Representatives to vote YES on both the REINS Act and the Midnight Rules Relief Act. Passage of these bills would send a strong message that the 115th Congress is serious about regulatory reform and turning a new page in American government.

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Obama’s Offshore Ban is a Disservice to the American People​

​WASHINGTON – American Energy Alliance Vice President of Communications Chris Warren issued the following statement on President Obama’s unilateral ban of offshore leasing for oil and gas production:

“President Obama is doing a great disservice to this country by putting the demands of special interest activists above the interests of the American people. These offshore areas belong to the public and should be used to their benefit—not to further the president’s keep-it-in-the-ground political agenda. President Obama has worked unilaterally throughout his presidency to block the production of our most abundant, affordable, and reliable energy resources. He clearly doesn’t trust ​nor want the ​American​ people to use their own lands judiciously. This is yet another shameful act by the president in the waning days of his administration. We look forward to the Trump administration’s pro-growth and pro-consumer approach.”​​

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AEA Issues Statement on Nomination of Rep. Ryan Zinke for Interior Secretary

WASHINGTON – American Energy Alliance Vice President of Communications Chris Warren issued the following statement on President-elect Trump’s nomination of Rep. Ryan Zinke to be the next Secretary of the Interior:

“Rep. Zinke is another strong addition to President-elect Trump’s cabinet. As a Westerner from an energy-rich state, he understands that responsible energy production is critical to ensuring affordable energy for American families and creating new opportunities for American workers. Between Governor Perry, AG Pruitt, and Rep. Zinke, President-elect Trump is putting together an all-star cast to reset our country’s energy and environmental policy.”

AEA Applauds Selection of Gov. Perry to Run Energy Department

WASHINGTON — The American Energy Alliance applauds President-elect Trump’s selection of former Texas Governor Rick Perry to be the next Secretary of Energy. AEA Vice President of Communications Chris Warren issued the following statement:

“Governor Perry will bring a tremendous amount of experience and knowledge to the Department of Energy. Having spent 15 successful years as the governor of Texas, he has a proven track record as an executive who can get the job done. During his time as governor, Texas was not only a leader in energy production, but also emerged as a hub for the manufacturing and tech industries.

“The Department of Energy is a $30 billion per year agency that employs more than 100,000 people and oversees a broad set of issues. Governor Perry’s executive experience makes him an excellent choice to lead such an expansive operation. We are confident that he will run the agency in a way that best serves the needs of the American people.”

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AEA Applauds Selection of Oklahoma AG Scott Pruitt to Run EPA 

WASHINGTON – The American Energy Alliance applauds President-elect Trump’s selection of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to be the next Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator. AEA Vice President of Communications Chris Warren issued the following statement:

“Attorney General Pruitt has been a champion for consumers and working-class families in Oklahoma. We know he will do the same for all Americans as EPA Administrator. AG Pruitt will reset energy and environmental policy in ways that will grow the economy, improve the environment, and make life better for the American people.”

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10 Questions on Fuel Economy Mandates for EPA’s Janet McCabe

This week, the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations in the House Committee on Energy and Commerce is slated to host a hearing regarding the Volkswagen’s use of emissions defeat devices and the Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) program. The Subcommittee has summoned Acting EPA Air and Radiation Administrator Janet McCabe to testify in response to questions surrounding the ZEV program implementation.

This hearing is a welcome opportunity for the Subcommittee to question Ms. McCabe on the ZEV program, and, by extension, EPA’s fuel economy mandates for cars and light-trucks. In a surprise move that was months ahead of EPA’s own schedule (which was previously posted on EPA’s website), last week EPA made a Proposed Determination to keep the 2022-2025 fuel economy mandate unchanged. Given the EPA’s haste, the only plausible explanation for EPA’s quick decision was to finalize their determination before President-elect Trump takes office.

It is surprising that EPA did not revise their 2022-2025 mandate given the evidence. New research shows that car prices are rapidly increasing. From the 1990s through 2008, car prices were falling on a quality adjusted basis. Today, car prices are $6,000 more than they would have been if the trend had continued. An additional $6,000 for a vehicle a lot of money.

Given the timing of EPA’s decisions and the economic strain being placed on the American car buying public, the Subcommittee should use this hearing to get answers from Ms. McCabe on what exactly is going on with EPA’s fuel economy mandates and the ZEV program. Here are ten questions the Subcommittee should ask Ms. McCabe:

1.) Your agency recently released its Proposed Determination document regarding EPA’s 2022-2025 GHG mandate for light duty vehicles. The Proposed Determination did not change the mandate, despite the fact that the price of new vehicles, adjusted for quality, are $6,000 per vehicle higher than if the price trend from the 1990s through 2008 had continued. Are you not concerned about forcing American families to pay $6,000 more per vehicle?

Note: If McCabe is unfamiliar with the study, that is very concerning. The study was cited thousands of times in comments to EPA. If she is not familiar with the study, then why did EPA quickly and aggressively make the Proposed Determination?

2.) According to EPA, the Obama administration’s fuel economy mandates will cause the price of a new car to increase by $3,000 per vehicle. The National Association of Automobile Dealers estimates that a $3,000 per vehicle increase in the cost of a vehicle would force nearly 7 million people out of the market for a new car. Car prices have already increased more than that, compared to the long-term price trend. Why is EPA so upbeat about imposing this mandate that is forcing millions of American drivers out of the market for a new car?

3.) The Center for Automotive Research recently looked at the economic impacts of the fuel economy mandates in various scenarios. In 8 of the 9 scenarios, EPA’s mandate would cause net jobs losses. In fact, the only scenario that does not show job losses is if the cost of the mandate is only $2,000 a vehicle. Why is EPA not more concerned about how this regulation will lead to job losses in the United States?

4.) The evidence suggests that EPA’s fuel economy mandate has driven up the cost of a car by thousands of dollars–making the dream of car ownership more difficult for millions of American families. EPA is doing this because of climate change. According to EPA, the 2017-2025 mandate will only reduce global temperatures by 0.01–0.02 °C by 2100. Why is EPA reducing the mobility and freedom of millions of Americans, not to mention thousands of jobs, in exchange for a change in global temperature of 2 hundredths of a degree by 2100?

5.) Last week you issued a Proposed Determination on the 2022-2025 mandate. To do this, you had to review over 220,000 comments in only 44 working days since the end of the comment period. Given the incredible importance of automobility and the impact this mandate will have on the economy as a whole, why did you rush to make such a hasty judgement?

6.) You released your Proposed Determination on November 30, 2016.EPA’s website previously had a timeline which showed the Proposed Determination being issued in mid-2017, not in 2016. NHTSA’s website has a similar graphic.

nhtsa-cafe-timeline

Furthermore, your letter to Chairman Upton dated June 10, 2016 stated that “…EPA anticipates that [the Determination] will be issued in 2017.”

Why is EPA working so hastily to finalize this determination?

7.) It is difficult for EPA to meet all of its statutory deadlines. For example, with the Renewable Fuel Standard, EPA repeatedly missed deadlines in setting volume requirements. Similarly, in administering the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) the EPA is frequently late in issuing regulatory documents. Why is EPA so far ahead of schedule issuing the Proposed Determination?

8.) When are you planning on finalizing the Proposed Determination? Should we expect that before the new administration?

9.) The National ZEV Investment Plan under the VW settlement requires VW to spend $1.2 billion over ten years “to support increased use of zero emission vehicle technology.” How is this remedy at all related to VW’s illicit use of “defeat devices?” What happens to the ZEV program once VW fulfills its financial obligation? How will the fund be financed?

10.) The National ZEV Investment Plan was considered by Congress and rejected. As policy expert William Yeatman explains:

Having failed to persuade Congress, the administration now seeks to co-opt the judiciary’s injunctive and contempt powers in order to advance the President’s failed legislative agenda. The proposed partial consent decree would give EPA control of $1.2 billion in ZEV investments, which is four times what the administration unsuccessfully sought from Congress for effectively the same purpose in 2011.

Why is EPA trying to get VW to fund a program Congress rejected?

A Blueprint for America’s Comeback

After eight years of the Obama administration’s divisive energy and environmental policies, the American people have voted for a change—a big change. Now is the time to carry out that change.

It is time to modernize and improve energy policy in the United States. As we consider our energy future and which policies will work best, it’s important we understand that energy breakthroughs happen when the government gets out of the way and lets innovators and entrepreneurs flourish.

The Obama administration often touts the increasing energy production from its preferred energy sources—wind and solar. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that wind and solar production has grown as the Obama administration has provided tens of billions of dollars in subsidies for these sources and administered regulations that hinder competing energy sources.

However, the real energy success story of the past decade has been the hydraulic fracturing revolution. Since 2007, electricity generation from natural gas alone has increased four times faster than from wind and solar. Over the same time period, domestic oil production has increased by 85 percent—almost all of which came on state and private lands. The increase in oil and gas production was a result of private property rights and technological advances from the private sector—not the federal government providing targeted subsidies to increase oil and natural gas production. In fact, it happened despite the Obama administration’s keep-it-in-the-ground approach to oil and gas production.

Besides the Obama administration’s antagonism to oil and natural gas production, this revolution also did not happen because Congress passed an “energy” bill directing how oil was to be produced or providing targeted subsidies. Instead, the hydraulic fracturing revolution flourished because Congress specifically precluded the federal government from usurping the states’ regulatory authority over groundwater.

The results of the hydraulic fracturing revolution have been unbelievably positive. Global oil and natural gas prices have fallen and remained low. Increased energy production has diminished the power of OPEC and Russia to manipulate energy markets.

A decade ago the experts did not predict that U.S. oil and natural gas production would dramatically increase. Instead, there was talk about running out of oil and importing natural gas. Now the conversation is about exporting both. As we look to the future, it is important to remember how people did not see this revolution coming.

This should be an important reminder that Congress and Washington policymakers do not know what the future holds, and neither do we. The hydraulic fracturing revolution shows that our future will be brighter if we allow the American people to figure out what works best instead of trying to dictate policy and special subsidies from Washington.

President-elect Trump has a unique opportunity to advance an energy plan that fosters true innovation, helps consumers, and improves opportunities for American workers and families.

To do so, the Institute for Energy Research and the American Energy Alliance encourage the Trump administration to do the following:

  • Keep electricity affordable and reliable by halting EPA’s attempt to take over the nation’s electricity system. Currently the D.C. Circuit is considering the legality of the rule. However, the Trump administration can issue Executive Orders the first day of his administration that effectively halts this harmful regulation. As attorneys David Rivkin and Andrew Grossman recently explained:

President Trump can immediately issue an executive order to adopt a new energy policy that respects the states’ role in regulating energy markets and that prioritizes making electricity affordable and reliable. Such an order should direct the EPA to cease all efforts to enforce and implement the Clean Power Plan. The agency would then extend all of the regulation’s deadlines, enter an administrative stay and commence regulatory proceedings to rescind the previous order.

  • Lower the price of cars and trucks and empower consumers by repealing the federal fuel economy mandates. These mandates, also known as the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, were dramatically increased under the Obama administration to require cars and light trucks to average 54.5 mpg by 2025. According to recent research, this mandate may have already driven up the cost per vehicle by $6,000—and the even stricter mandates have not yet kicked in. Vehicles are already too expensive, and this additional mandate should be stopped and American drivers should be allowed to choose the attributes of the vehicles they drive, rather than Washington bureaucrats.
  • Produce more energy on federal lands. Less than 3 percent of federal offshore areas are currently leased for energy development, and the Obama administration just released a 5-Year offshore plan with no areas open offshore Alaska (other than a small area in Cook Inlet), the Atlantic, or in the Pacific. More lands should be leased onshore, including the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska and oil shale lands in the West.
  • Let workers mine coal. The Obama administration’s coal leasing moratorium on federal lands—part of its “keep it in the ground” agenda—should be lifted.

“The federal government does have stewardship of millions of acres of land. Rather than selling the land to states and private enterprises, the first step should be establishing a shared governance structure with the states. This first step would allow for maintaining the aesthetics of the land while finding ways to gain revenue that would benefit both the federal and state governments.”

  • Defend the Constitution and withdraw from the Paris Agreement. President Obama was warned by many members of Congress that he should not enter into the Paris Agreement without the consent of the American people through their representatives in the U.S. Senate. Because the Paris Agreement is an executive agreement that does not bind the United States or any other country, President Trump can, and should, “unsign” it and submit the agreement to the Senate for its consent. President Obama’s unilateral executive actions cannot bind future administrations.
  • Modernize and update the data that underpins the endangerment finding. In response to Massachusetts v. EPA, the Obama administration found that greenhouse gas emissions harmed human health and welfare. This is the regulatory predicate to the Obama administration’s CAFE mandates and carbon dioxide regulations for power plants. This finding should be updated with the most recent science and information.
  • Improve the siting of pipeline infrastructure. The Obama administration slow-walked the Keystone XL pipeline to make it a political issue and eventually denied the pipeline. They have similarly held up the Dakota Access Pipeline. Pipeline siting should be a streamlined and orderly process.
  • Treat all energy sources equally. The federal government should treat all types of energy equally. No subsidies and no special tax treatment.
  • Protect America’s fuel supply by repealing the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The RFS was based on the belief that America had limited energy resources and was running out of oil. The RFS requires refiners to blend expensive, and largely unavailable, “advanced” biofuels. The RFS should be repealed.
  • Preserve consumers rights to their own property. The Obama administration’s “waters of the United States” rule usurps the states’ regulatory prerogatives as well as private property rights. This regulatory definition should be rewritten.
  • Follow the rules. Any regulatory action needs to follow the rules laid out for the federal government. The “Social Cost of Carbon” (and methane) is impermissibly arbitrary and does not follow Executive Orders and federal rulemaking requirements. The Social Cost of Carbon should not be used in federal rulemakings.
  • Be open and honest. The government should act openly, honestly, and transparently.
  • Count the costs of regulations. We need an accounting of the cost of all the regulations imposed by the federal government.
  • Inventory the assets. We need to make sure that the government has a good idea of the value of energy resources on and under federal lands.
  • Stop corruption. Agency work on regulations and science should be reviewed by truly independent reviewers.

Conclusion

For decades, the federal government’s role in Americans’ energy choices has steadily grown and has ballooned under the Obama administration. If we want our children and grandchildren to enjoy the same opportunities and economic growth as past generations, we must reset a generation of failed environmental policies from a distant and out of touch federal government.

The Trump administration provides an opportunity to protect the environment and grow the economy. It is important that we move America forward with energy policies for the 21st century that empower Americans to make their own choices, instead of relying on bureaucrats make such vital decisions for them.

It’s time for an American comeback.

Click here for the PDF.

 

AEA Congratulates Rep. Walden on E&C Chairmanship 

WASHINGTON – American Energy Alliance President Thomas Pyle issued the following statement congratulating Rep. Greg Walden on being elected the next chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee:

“Representative Walden is an outstanding choice to chair the House Energy and Commerce Committee and brings a much-needed Western perspective to the committee. I have known Rep. Walden and his team for many years and there is no doubt in my mind that under his leadership the committee will work to reset years of bad energy policies that are failing the American people. He understands the issues and recognizes that policies such as the renewable fuel standard, unrealistic fuel economy mandates, and the EPA’s carbon regulations for power plants harm American families and businesses.”

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