WASHINGTON – Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) blasted Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s decision to begin rolling back Obama-era vehicle emissions standards.
“EPA Administrator Pruitt’s decision to begin rolling back fuel economy standards is a victory for big oil and major corporations at the expense of American consumers and clean air for our kids,” Schumer said in a statement on Monday evening. “As usual, the administration sides with big, powerful special interests over the interests of average American families, who will pay the price for lower miles per gallon and dirtier air.”
Pruitt announced the decision on Monday following the agency’s completion of a mid-term review of standards set in 2011. The rules require automakers to ensure that cars and trucks average about 54 miles per gallon by 2025. The revision eases restrictions for vehicles that are to be built between 2022-2025.
“The Obama Administration’s determination was wrong,” Pruitt said in a statement. “Obama’s EPA cut the Midterm Evaluation process short with politically charged expediency, made assumptions about the standards that didn’t comport with reality, and set the standards too high.”
Pruitt has long been considered a foe of environmental activists. As Oklahoma attorney general he eliminated a unit within the AG’s office charged with prosecuting polluters. Pruitt sued the EPA more than a dozen times during the Obama administration.
Pruitt has expressed doubt as to whether human activity has exacerbated global warming and while attorney general he received substantial campaign contributions from the fossil-fuel industry.
The revised emissions guidelines come amid reports that Pruitt rented a D.C. condo for $50 a night. The property reportedly is co-owned by the wife of the chairman of an energy lobbying firm.