EPA and the NHTSA have finally released Part 2 of the Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicle Rule. Most readers will know that Part 1 of the SAFE rule revoked California’s waiver authorizing it to impose more stringent mileage standards. Part 2 substantially rolls back the federal fuel-efficiency standards promulgated by the Obama Administration.
I referred to George Orwell on this blog as recently as January, when the Administration promulgated the “Navigable Waters Protection Rule.” I’m not sure that SAFE is quite as egregious as that, but if it’s not, it’s a close second.
And the references to Orwell are apt in ways that really are scary and raise genuine issues about how this administration functions. It doesn’t believe in science. Instead, it believes in some kind of magic, that if it keeps saying things long enough, the truth won’t matter anymore. For now, the Science Advisory Board seems to be acting as a limited check on EPA’s worse excesses, but it’s not obvious how long that will continue or, even if it does, whether it will matter, as long as five members of the Supreme Court share President Trump’s preference for magical thinking over scientific thinking.