The Environmental Protection Agency’s Inspector General has opened an investigation into its own agency’s role in the Trump administration’s replacement of an Obama-era rule that curbed greenhouse gas emissions in cars. The Inspector General’s office will examine whether there were any “irregularities” during the process of crafting the new rule — dubbed the Safer Affordable Fuel Efficient Vehicles rule, or SAFE — which holds automakers to weaker fuel economy standards through 2025.
Those potential “irregularities” were flagged in May by Sen. Tom Carper (DE), who asked for an investigation in a letter to the EPA Inspector General at the time.
“I’m pleased that the EPA Inspector General is opening an investigation into this rule, which was the product of the most procedurally problematic process my office has ever reviewed. If the EPA IG follows the facts, I have no doubt they will find that the Trump Administration failed to follow the law,” Carper said in a statement Monday.
Janet McCabe, who led the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation under Obama and worked on the original emissions program, said in an email to The Verge that “many have expressed concern” about the Trump EPA’s rulemaking process.
“It appeared that EPA was deferring to DOT on issues of methodology and analysis in ways that would help support an outcome that ignored progress in the real world and not be in keeping with EPA’s responsibility under the Clean Air Act,” she said.