Documents obtained by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform demonstrate that the California Air Resources Board (CARB) played an outsized role in developing new national heavy-duty truck standards. This revelation appears to contradict testimony provided to Committee staff by a senior Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official. The Committee and Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) have been examining the process by which the Obama Administration established fuel economy/greenhouse gas emission regulations for both light-duty and heavy-duty vehicles.
In a letter sent to EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation Gina McCarthy, Chairman Issa and Regulatory Affairs, Stimulus Oversight and Government Spending Subcommittee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) sought clarification as to why she failed to directly answer a question about CARB's role in development of new heavy-duty truck regulations in light of documents showing an extensive and cooperative relationship between CARB and EPA. Assistant Administrator McCarthy failed to acknowledge that CARB was given privileged status with an outsize role and was not a routine stakeholder as the EPA prepared it's "SmartWay" (heavy duty) regulation program.
"Taken together, these documents suggest that CARB was heavily invested and highly involved in the development of the nationwide heavy-duty standards. Indeed, it appears that CARB helped to initiate and then substantially dictated the discussions that culminated in national heavy-duty standards," Chairman Issa and Chairman Jordan wrote. "It is not clear to the Committee, however, why CARB exercised such outsized influence in this process, with apparently more input into the development of the rule than other nonfederal entities," the letter said.
"If the California Air Resources Board is exerting outsized influence over a federal agency that raises real questions about jurisdiction, due process and impacts on job creation from regulations implemented nationwide. EPA's unwillingness to answer questions about CARB's role in a forthright and direct manner is cause for concern," Chairman Issa said.
Chairman Issa and Chairman Jordan also provided ten additional questions and points of clarification for Assistant Administrator McCarthy.