Washington, DC -- In a letter to Senator Dianne Feinstein, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson wrote that amendment #2530 (offered by Senator Lisa Murkowski) would prevent EPA from completing a joint rule-making with the Department of Transportation to increase corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards and establish a national tailpipe emissions standard for automobiles. The amendment was filed during the Senate's consideration of the FY 2010 Interior Appropriations bill.

This means that the Murkowski amendment would invalidate a landmark agreement reached earlier this year between the automakers, the State of California, and the Administration needed to implement the 2007 Ten-in-Ten fuel economy law (which Senator Feinstein authored with Senator Snowe and others).

On Wednesday, Senator Feinstein sent a letter to Administrator Jackson, requesting that the agency assess the impact of the Murkowski amendment. The amendment would prevent EPA from using any funds to take any action that would have the effect of regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act for any source other than a mobile source.

The response letter from EPA Administrator Jackson noted that obstruction of the landmark fuel economy rule-making would be the most “striking” impact. She wrote:

“Because of the way the Clean Air Act is written, promulgation of the proposed light-duty vehicle rule will automatically make carbon dioxide a pollutant subject to regulation under the Clean Air Act for stationary sources, as well as light duty vehicles.  The only way that EPA could comply with the prohibition in Senator Murkowski’s amendment would be to not promulgate the light-duty vehicle standards.”

The correspondence between Senator Feinstein, chairman of the Senate Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, and EPA Administrator Jackson is attached as two PDF files.

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