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Virginia Attorney General challenges vehicle efficiency standards



Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is determined to fight climate action on all fronts.  He was part of the multi-party suit against EPA’s finding that greenhouse gases are a threat to public health and welfare. And now he has announced that he will sue EPA over the new fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards, published a week ago.

Cuccinelli claims that EPA’s move to issue the final standards represents “tacit denial” of his request that EPA review its finding that greenhouse gases are a public danger.  The suit brought by several states and industry groups is based on the emails obtained by hackers earlier this year.  But an investigation by the British House of Commons concluded that there was nothing contained in the emails that to the claim that scientists were manipulating data:  “there is no case to answer.”

Cuccinelli wants EPA to reopen its proceedings and review evidence supporting these standards. Such action would not prevent the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) from enforcing its fuel economy standards.  Automakers “welcome” the national program, and the level of these standards is easily achievable.

These challenges are counterproductive and add nothing to reasoned debate about climate change.  EPA issued its finding that greenhouse gases are harmful through a notice and comment process, allowing all parties to participate.  There is no basis for EPA to reopen its decision on this matter.  To do so would be disruptive to efforts to cut oil consumption and greenhouse gas emissions through these new standards.

Lena Pons is a transportation policy analyst at Public Citizen.

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