By on April 7, 2021

With environmental regulations being a cornerstone of the Biden-Harris platform, the administration’s newly installed Environmental Protection Agency head has signaled that changes are coming over the summer. However, before that can take place, Administrator Michael Regan said wants to make some big changes within the agency that he believes will bring it back to the way it operated before being restructured by the Trump administration.

In the meantime, the EPA will be actively revising the previous president’s relaxed fuel economy standard designed to give the industry some flexibility in terms of keeping larger vehicles and traditional powertrains on sale — something we’ve covered repeatedly as it ended up being the proverbial football in the highly political American gas war. Considering Mr. Regan’s history of praising California’s climate response and energy protocols, his allegiances in the conflict should be obvious. However, he has also suggested that the EPA needs to make decisions on what’s feasible, indicating he may not push for extreme measures. Though he has not drawn any lines in the sand when it comes to potential bans of internal combustion vehicles or stringent penalties for power plants and oil refineries. 

Regan suggested in a recent interview with Bloomberg News that changes will start being made by July, with some caveats. He believes we have an extremely limited amount of time to create policies that will reverse the conditions of a climate crisis and that the necessary actions need to be equally bold. New carbon taxes, tailpipe restrictions, and even timed bans of certain vehicles are reportedly all on the table. But first, he needs to reshape the EPA into something that suits those goals.

“The secret sauce here is returning back to the agency’s original mission, which is protecting people and natural resources, and creating a welcoming environment that’s focused and centered around scientific integrity, ethics and values,” Regan stated in his interview. “We believe that we will attract some of the talent that left the agency during the previous administration, but we also believe that we will be really attractive to new scientists, new engineers, new legal minds.”

Before anyone gets bent out of shape, the Trump administration similarly overhauled the EPA. Obama-era holdovers found themselves at odds with scaling back regulations, while newer employees claimed regulating bodies had become too stringent and were strangling the economy, obliterating jobs, reducing consumer choices, and hamstringing industries while offering few tangible gains in terms of air quality. One of the biggest sticking points was a report, penned by the Obama administration, suggesting that the United States’ Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) requirements already decided upon were likely untenable. However, the response involved loosening environmental restrictions and stripping California of its ability to set its own limits as the whole thing devolved into partisan bickering — something we don’t anticipate abating anytime soon.

Biden’s EPA is currently working on restoring California’s autonomy so it can set whatever environmental restrictions on cars the state’s leadership deem fit. Regan verified the move, going on to state that he would be making environmentally conscious decisions even if the impacted industries cry foul.

From Bloomberg:

“We are heavily engaged with the business community. We are heavily engaged with the labor community,” Regan said. “It’s a false option to choose between economic development and prosperity and environmental protection.”

The EPA also is set within weeks to formally issue its plans for a Trump-era rule that blocked California from setting its own vehicle emissions standards. Regan stressed Tuesday that he’s “a firm believer in the state’s statutory authority to lead, in California being the leader.”

Regan did not rule out future emissions requirements that create a de facto ban on new conventional, gasoline-powered automobiles, like an explicit ban ordered by California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

“We’re taking a strong look at what the science is urging us to do. We’re looking at where technologies are,” Regan said. “We’re marrying our regulatory policy and what we have the statutory authority to do with where the science directs us and where the markets and technology are.”

While Regan has used a lot of inclusive language, stating that many voices are better at building a consensus, he has also hinted that not everyone will be offered a seat at the table. Last week, he ordered the removal of dozens of members from scientific advisory committees that help the EPA with its research and policy. It’s assumed those positions will be refilled with individuals better aligned with the Biden administration’s goals.

“We need individuals that believe in science, believe in the facts before us and are willing to roll up their sleeves and join the conversation about how this country can tackle climate change and do it in a way where we’re following the science, following the law and not sacrificing our global competitiveness,” Regan said. “Those are the types of individuals that we’re looking for.”

The EPA plans on releasing a myriad of new regulatory targets this month, with Mr. Regan suggesting they’ll be focusing primarily on energy production and automobiles. They’ll have to be pretty aggressive if we’re to meet the Biden plan of having a carbon-pollution-free power sector by 2035 and a net-zero carbon across the nation by 2050, however. Expect more news on the matter later this month, with the formal regulatory changes being rolled out this summer.

[Image: Siripatv/Shutterstock]

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64 Comments on “New EPA Chief Promises Tougher Vehicle Rules by Summer...”


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “We’re taking a strong look at what the science is urging us to do.”

    That’s code for “we’re capitulating to the tree-huggers”.

    “Global warming” became “climate change”, which became “science”, but really it’s a harsh religion that cancels unbelievers and imposes high burdens of compliance to remain in good standing.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      Global warming became climate change because that term more accurately describes what is happening. There are areas that are showing signs of cooling while the entire planet is warming. Look at the Artic and the incredible melting and lack of ice cover. “Unbelievers” aren’t being cancelled (there’s that new favorite word) by anything other than facts. The data is all around us. As a kid (80s) I did leaf clean up and by Halloween, we were basically done. For the last decade, that time has stretched through November. Last year I finished yard clean up in the first week of December. Nature does not respond that quickly unless an outside force pushes the response. We have tons of data showing what all those byproducts of combustion are doing. Time to stop with the denial. This would not even be a political issue if it didn’t take governmental intervention to address.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        How is your Corvette doing?

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        In my region over my lifetime we’ve seen a typical extreme cold of -38c for an average of 3 weeks every winter to a 2 week total of around -28c. The average yearly temperature is up +2c.

        My dad saw one summer with severe forest fires in our region in his lifetime. My son’s (17&19) have seen 5 where the town has been blanketed in fire smoke.

        Moose are dying due to tick infestation. Trees are infested with beetles. It hasn’t been cold enough to kill bugs.

        This isn’t tree-hugger weenie science. It is obvious and measurable.

        • 0 avatar
          kcflyer

          So you are saying that based on your observations climate change is occurring because of man made carbon dioxide? Please show us all your proof. No one is arguing that the climate changes. It’s pretty clear that the area where i live in western NY was once under an sheet of ice. So climate change is nothing new. But an entire political movement trying to destroy our economy and way of life by linking man made carbon emissions to warming is new. These are the same geniuses that swore man made emissions were causing a new iced age just a few decades ago. And the so called climate computer models all have one thing in common. They have been wrong every single time. The oceans were supposed to have swamped NYC in the year 2000. This is all about control.

          • 0 avatar
            SCE to AUX

            “The oceans were supposed to have swamped NYC in the year 2000. This is all about control.”

            Yep. Al Gore predicted a 20-foot rise in 100 years from the mid-90s, which should have given us at least a 1-foot rise by 2000, and 5 feet by now.

          • 0 avatar

            Al Gore is the Nobel Laureate is well as Obama and Biden (for winning elections). And Krugman too. They all are scientists.

          • 0 avatar
            Old_WRX

            “But an entire political movement trying to destroy our economy and way of life by linking man made carbon emissions to warming is new.”

            You forgot the part about filling their own pockets and the pockets of their cronies with money.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Scientists have been sounding the alarm bells about anthropogenic climate change for decades.

            Where’s your evidence that it isn’t anthropogenic?

            You go first!

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            There is definitely a noticeable rise in ocean levels. Not 5 feet as far as I can tell, but places I’ve never seen flooded outside of storms now go underwater during extra high tide events. Wharfs that were built in the 1800s to always be above the level of the harbor now go underwater during extra high tides. The rate I’ve seen published locally is 6 inches in 36 years, but it seems like more.

        • 0 avatar
          Pig_Iron

          No one is interested in your BluAnon conspiracy theory.

      • 0 avatar
        2manycars

        The idea of human-caused “climate change” is bogus junk science, or as the founder of modern climate science, Reid Bryson, referred to it: “a bunch of hooey”.

        Any changes taking place are the result of natural processes, such as our emergence from the Little Ice Age since the 19th century.

        I will not cooperate one iota with the EPA’s senseless war on carbon.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          “The earth is simply saturated now with people. There is, in fact, so many of us currently using so much of the planet’s resources — especially fossil fuels — that we are altering the earth’s climate. And then, when those alterations sweep across whole countries, our sheer numbers prevent us from getting out of the way before we get hurt.”
          Reid Bryson

        • 0 avatar
          RHD

          When the atmosphere is loaded with carbon dioxide at increasing rates over more than a century, it naturally brings on some consequences.
          And, naturally, intelligent people can understand what is happening and want to undo the damage before it’s too late.
          Naturally, there are a few naysayers who distrust vaccines, think the world is flat and actually believe the nonsense on corporate AM talk radio.

      • 0 avatar
        redapple

        Temp sample over a decade
        do not prove a long term trend.
        You need a ‘long term” to measure.
        Centuries.

      • 0 avatar
        Pig_Iron

        Climate change has been Debunked.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          “Climate change has been Debunked”

          @Pig_Iron

          Please post evidence.

          The gold standard is 3 peer reviewed studies.

          Faux,OAN,Brietbart et al are not scientific reference sites.

      • 0 avatar
        6250Claimer

        50 years and counting of laughably inaccurate predictions. Why do people continue to buy into this religion??

        https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1109923374568890368.html

    • 0 avatar
      Imagefont

      Where are these powerful “tree huggers”, are they funded by George Soros? Are these the same people who like clean water and clean air? Those shlubs?
      And I see you managed to squeeze in the whole “cancel culture” theme, a favorite of Fox “news” (that’s gotta be in quotes from now on since they now official make sh_t up). You could discuss the subject on its own merits, and your position has merits, without resorting to obvious political partisanship, which kind of negates your argument.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        Q: Where are these powerful “tree huggers”
        A: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

        I don’t watch Fox News – never have.

        Somehow, the last ice age ended 10,000 years ago without people causing it.
        Somehow, all the planets in the solar system have been warming up a little without people causing it. NASA confirms this.

        And somehow, people’s recollections of cold winters from 1980 are considered ‘proof’ that a trend is occurring – one which demonstrably has a very long period.

        Finally, I’m not convinced a warming trend is a bad thing. The same people who worry about droughts killing crops and displacing coastal cities are the same people who want to see global population control, so what’s the problem?

      • 0 avatar

        Cancel culture has nothing to do with Fox news. It affects, destroys, lives of liberals, not Fox news audience. Never heard about the last casualties like Pierce Morgan and Sharon Osbourne? They don’t watch Fox news and did not vote for Drump.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Here is the science

      https://www.newyorknature.us/ice-age-new-york/

      20,000 NYC was covered by ice sheet 2000 ft tall/deep, whatever. But it melted way before human large scale industrial activity started.

      I understand – there are temperature trends etc, but these fake scientists never talk about it with a context filled with – solar activity levels, Earth’s orbit changes and tilt changes.

      Besides, the studies show that we can spend our lifetime denying ourselves pleasures of life and still only cut down 0.3 of the degree C in a 100 years.

      There are real problems that we could tackle – pollution. Garbage floating in huge France-sized islands in pacific ocean. Indonesia and China don’t want to take out trash anymore. I suggest this instead – ban lawn fertilization. This alone will cut down on pollution. And ban Home owner association requirements to lawn upkeep. I mean strict upkeep rules. Cut grass 1 time in 2 weeks vs 1, etc. And now we have plenty unemployed lawn mowers ready to take on those solar panel jobs.

      • 0 avatar
        Old_WRX

        “I suggest this instead – ban lawn fertilization.”

        But, a lawn that looks like indoor/outdoor carpet is a hallmark of American prosperity. It’s not just fertilization. There is a whole bunch of other crud dumped on lawns to kill the weeds and the bugs. I personally don’t do any of that and part of the reason I don’t is to avoid dumping a lot of unnecessary junk into environment (the other part is I don’t care what my lawn looks like and I’m too cheap).

        I assume the scientists who are predicting we’ll all be boiled alive within X number of years are the same ones who can’t tell me where that hurricane will be two days from now with much of any certainty.

        Besides I remember winters being less cold when I was a kid. Then all of one snow would always melt before the next one. In recent years there have been many times it has snowed on top of old snow. So, it’s actually getting cooler. QED.

        • 0 avatar
          ToolGuy

          My lawn looks better and is much healthier since I stopped putting anything on it over a decade ago. Raise your mowing deck height (especially in the shoulder seasons) and aerate in the fall and spring to get started – nature will do a much better job than the chemical guys. (Oh and get a good mulching blade and hang onto your nitrogen.)

          [The trendy new neighbors have a “lawn service” treat their yard and have a gazillion dandelions right now – my lawn doesn’t. (Neither did ‘their’ yard three years ago before they moved in and called the lawn service.) Hey, grab your lab coat because we just did science!]

    • 0 avatar
      kjhkjlhkjhkljh kljhjkhjklhkjh

      Good. About time we forced the idiot masses to clean up their mess with higher emission standards. And forcing better gas mileage is a bonus to car owners and the economy.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    I’ve seen studies where they figure $6/gallon gas will be the point that most folks will move to electric vehicles based on economics. Obviously that is going to take a while to build electric production capability.

    I can deal with that, even if it’s not my preference. But the plan to do the same thing with natural gas and push everybody to heat pumps is going to be unpleasant, based on my experience in the 80s.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      “$6/gallon gas will be the point that most folks will move to electric vehicles”

      Not a chance. Americans will pay *anything* for a gallon of gas.

      Besides, ‘most folks’ buy trucks, and the F-150 was the best-selling vehicle when gas was $4. No way $6 gas changes that, except for a very brief and temporary shift toward smaller vehicles.

      Also, with many people driving less, I can’t see them spending more money to get an EV which won’t save them much on fuel.

    • 0 avatar
      2manycars

      I for one will never buy an electric car no matter how high gasoline prices go.

  • avatar
    gasser

    I am a believer in global climate change, being old enough to remember cold, snowy winters back East and wet winters in California. That being said, I don’t think that U.S. autos are still a major contributor to climate change and most of the pollution is from fixed emitters. I’m not sure how switching auto fleets to all electric will lessen pollution from generating stations which burn fossil fuels. Thus, pushing electric cars without plans to recharge them via wind, solar or geothermal electric generation, seems short sighted. The pandemic, and the widespread abandonment of public transportation, will do more to harm our pollution goals than freezing auto gas mileage requirements. This effect will be persistent, because once a person abandons bus/rail commuting by buying a car, he is unlikely to leave that expensive investment rusting in the driveway and go back to the public transit.

    • 0 avatar
      2manycars

      Sorry, but those changes are due to natural phenomena. Nothing we can do about it aside from adapting. You might as well talk about “fighting” the tides or phases of the moon.

      I refuse to lower my “carbon footprint”.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “Regan stressed Tuesday that he’s “a firm believer in the state’s statutory authority to lead, in California being the leader.””

    Yes we can! … establish a de facto climate dictatorship based in Riverside, CA.

    Incidentally, they built a new HQ complex in 2017… I wonder how the high priests and priestesses will atone for their emissions sins constructing it?

    https://ww2.arb.ca.gov/news/california-air-resources-board-breaks-ground-world-class-lab-headquarters-riverside

    “he has also hinted that not everyone will be offered a seat at the table. Last week, he also ordered the removal of dozens of members from scientific advisory committees that help the EPA with its research and policy. It’s assumed those positions will be refilled with individuals better aligned with the Biden administration’s goals.”

    Uh… how is this not its own story? ***Since when is science aligned or misaligned with the Biden administration’s political goals?*** Haven’t we been subjected to “its the science stupid” for some time now no matter what the true situation it, but now *science must align with politics*? Junk science can, sounds as if this is what will be in the offing from now on.

    In all seriousness if this is the case anything coming out of this agency will no longer be 100% truthful or based on real science, so it should not be believed by reasonable people. You’d better start reading up on the non-whackjob information about Agenda 2030 because they are setting up the pieces to enact it, which is what this is really about.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      A chilling statement from Agenda 2030:
      “We are committed to the prevention and treatment of non-communicable diseases, including behavioural, developmental and neurological disorders, which constitute a major challenge for sustainable development.”

      In a few years, opposing opinions will be deemed a ‘disorder’, and steps will be taken to prevent and treat them. This is the stuff of science fiction movies.

      • 0 avatar
        kjhkjlhkjhkljh kljhjkhjklhkjh

        Given the rampant political extremism .. I am all for forced treatments to bring everyone back acceptable norms. Guns are not the problem .. people are. Remove the problem people problems go away. Same for election fake news. Remove people authoring fake news from society and house them away from us normal people.

    • 0 avatar
      Old_WRX

      28-Cars-Later

      “***Since when is science aligned or misaligned with the Biden administration’s political goals?*** ”

      Probably since they started buying more and more “scientists.” This has been going on quite a while. “Science” is now controlled by politics. And, then the “news” quotes those “scientists.” And, voila, we have global warming….oops I mean “climate change.” The damn thing about it is it’s all so twisted it’s hard to know what to believe. Personally, I think the endless clearing of land probably has a bigger effect than “greenhouse gases.”

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        Activist newsmaker
        +
        activist scientist
        +
        activist politician
        +
        activist judge
        +
        activist police
        ——————-
        = fascism

        • 0 avatar
          wolfwagen

          Change Activist Police to Hamstrung or no police and you are correct.

          • 0 avatar
            slavuta

            Have you heard the story that someone criticized AOC on twitter and police showed up at his door. I think, this is pretty “activist”

            https://www.the-sun.com/news/us-news/2676951/podcaster-accused-threatening-aoc-visited-cops/

            I have also noticed that FBI these days resembles NKVD. They are not working on crime and integrity of those who are in charge. They are busy arresting those who have opinion different from the one of the ruling class and who happened to voice it.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    One group I doubt will be offered a seat at the table is consumers. From the viewpoint of Regan and his ilk, they are the enemy.

  • avatar
    ErickKS

    Sounds like we’re in for yet another helping of terrible regulation and conduct by these people.

    I don’t want an electric car. Not one of them can do what I need, which is, several times a year, a thousand mile drive in one day, without unacceptable delay and worry for charging.

    This idea that things have to go electric-only is tyrannical garbage.

  • avatar

    Washington is an occupied city for the reason. Because they are afraid…of the global heating? No, of the people. But nothing can beat walls of Kremlin.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    A careful examination of the first picture will reveal the reason we are all hosed.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      …spelled out in plain English…all capital letters…embossed (not printed with ink)…

      [It occurs to me that my incisive satire might be too subtle for busy people with jobs and Important Things To Do, so now it comes complete with hints]

  • avatar
    redapple

    Vladivostok Ice Core Sample Study.
    Shows.
    Over 2 thousand years, multi decade long variations in raising and falling average temp.
    This predates the industrial revolution and my car’s tailpipe.

    Climate change is a power grab and tax plan. Screw them. Smarten up.

  • avatar
    Sobro

    You people are behind the times. The correct term is Climate Chaos.

    Odorless, colorless, plant food, 0.04% of of the atmosphere, is so pernicious SCIENCE! had to change its name to CARBON! to receive more grant money.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    Most of the Earth’s climate is uninhabitable by humans without the tools we’ve built using our ingenuity. Why do we suppose that we can’t build the tools necessary to deal with a 3 or even 5 degree C rise in temps?

    • 0 avatar
      RHD

      It’s so much easier for the “tools” to deny a monstrously huge problem than to have the courage and integrity to do anything about it, instead of arrogantly and selfishly making it worse.

      Plant a few trees. I planted ten during the last year. If everyone did just a little, it would make a huge difference.

  • avatar
    285exp

    It’s important that first they expel the heretics from the temple, if they’re going to fundamentally change our entire energy infrastructure and economy, everybody has to be on the same page. Can’t be having any dissent, and we can trust the experts to manage this as well as they have managed the pandemic. Then, we have to let California and New York dictate what fuel economy and emissions standards that the entire country must follow, and start moving our energy production to renewables, so we can all share the joys of rolling blackouts. Green energy has worked so well in Germany too, by moving 27% of their energy production to super reliable solar and wind, they’ve managed to increase cost to the consumers and carbon emissions too! And we can totally trust Mr Regan to not go all in on the Green New Deal, because the Democrats have been so moderate in their policies since whoever is actually running things was elected.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Since there are so many on the comments section and across the country that don’t believe in pollution or climate change maybe I should stop recycling and start polluting more. I don’t have any children so why should I care about future generations especially those who have children and don’t care about pollution or climate change. Might be better for me to live for today and just leave any problems to future generations.

    • 0 avatar
      285exp

      Nice straw man there Jeff.

    • 0 avatar
      Master Baiter

      None of the readers of this blog deny that pollution exits. Climate alarmism however, is based on the assumption that carbon dioxide, a gas exhaled by all animals and inhaled by plants, is a pollutant. Some of us are astute enough to recognize that such a claim is entirely bogus.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      “Since there are so many on the comments section and across the country that don’t believe in pollution or climate change maybe I should stop recycling and start polluting more.”

      One of the nastiest side effects of obsession with reducing emissions of something as harmless a soda bubbles, is specifically that it often causes _more_ actual pollutants to be released. And more natural habitats to be destroyed. Attempting to equate “pollution” with “climate change” is about as dead wrong as one can be.

      As an example: Compared to wantonly destroying every waterway in the Himalayas, all in some harebrained effort to reduce “carbon footprint” and hence be given preferential access to funds stolen from others by some ought-to-be-four letter agency of the global kleptocracy; destroying/burning stuff stuck under a rock several miles underground, in a clean fashion, is pretty darned benign to the part of Gaia where forms of life actually exist. Just as clean burning gasoline engines pollute plenty less than particle spewing diesel ones. And 4 ton, 600hp battery suvs whip an awful lot more road and tire particulates up into densely populated areas, than half-as-heavy CR-Vs. As well as require big, diesel spewing machinery to repair roads more often. Etc., etc.

      In general, if you want to reduce pollution, you optimize for reduced pollutants. Not for reduced some arbitrary non-pollutant.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Well pollution and climate change can both cause damage to the Earth and to its inhabitants. If the damage gets too bad then we might cease to exist and then the Earth can heal itself. Not too concerned about that since I won’t be around and I don’t have any offspring. If you don’t care about the environment that your children and their offspring inherit then why should I care–not my problem.

  • avatar
    wolfwagen

    I subscriber to George Carlins thinking on this matter:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjmtSkl53h4
    ” the planet is fine its the people that are f#@ked”

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I like that comment. The planet can survive without people.

  • avatar
    JD-Shifty

    old white MAGA males don’t care about clean air and water, hopefully they will pass away soon

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Stereotyping takes very little thought and effort. Much easier to put people in categories.

    • 0 avatar
      Polka King

      Stereotypes are the truest things in the world. All other worldviews are based on theories, opinions, and dreams. Only stereotypes are based on actual observation.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Takes a lot more intelligence and effort to not use stereotypes. Many times what we perceive as fact is just an opinion.

    • 0 avatar
      JD-Shifty

      sure because there are so many Trump supporters that believe in clean air and water regulations and ethical responsibility, There’s 5 of them out there so I’m being reckless

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Not all aging white males are Trump supporters.

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