By April 4, 2017 Read More →

EPA vehicle testing on the chopping block under Trump’s budget

EPA vehicle testing

Proposed cuts the the Environmental Protection Agency could mean the virtual elimination of the EPA vehicle testing lab. EPA photo.

EPA vehicle testing lab would be shut down under Trump plan

As part of the plan by the Trump administration to cut the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency by 31 per cent, the preliminary plan released last month calls for cuts that would virtually eliminate federal funding for the EPA vehicle testing program.  It may also examine the possibility of raising fees on industry to pay for some testing.

Reuters reports if the proposed $48 million in federal funding cuts were imposed, over half the staff of the EPA department that conducts vehicle, engine and fuel testing to verify emissions standards are met and mileage stickers are accurate would lose their jobs.

The proposed cut would gut the vehicle testing budget by 99 per cent and would mean “pretty much shutting down the testing lab,” according to Margo Oge who headed the EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality under President Obama.

The work by this arm of the Environmental Protection Agency helped lead to Volkswagen AG’s 2015 admission that it had violated vehicle emissions rules for years.

Under the proposal, 168 out of 304 full-time jobs would be cut.  The Trump administration is also considering increasing fees to automakers and engine manufacturers to partially fun current operations.

Speaking with Reuters, EPA spokesman John Konkus did not answer questions concerning how the cuts could affect vehicle testing, but he did say “We know we can effectively serve the taxpayers and protect the environment. While many in Washington insist on greater spending, EPA is focused on greater value and real results.”

Spokeswoman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Gloria Berquist, said automakers were concerned the proposed cuts could delay certification of new vehicles “and getting products to consumers.”

Janet McCabe, a former EPA official in the Obama administration, said that companies that do comply with the rules can be at a disadvantage unless there is strong enforcement of the rules, adding “We know that a little bit of cheating can mean a lot of air pollution.”

The Trump administration plans to release its detailed budget plan in May.




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