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Proposed Budget Would Demolish EPA Vehicle Testing Funds

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Donald Trump

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It is probably fair to say at this point that the EPA, as it was under the Obama administration, was pretty unpopular with now-president Donald Trump. This dislike has spread to the automotive world in the form of the EPA’s vehicle emissions regulations, the last of which were pushed through right before the president took office, and which Trump ordered reopened, partly at the urging of automaker lobbyists.

However, a new budget document reveals just how the new administration views regulations on vehicle emissions, as the document suggests that the government eliminate $48 million in funding for EPA vehicle and fuel testing and certification, also cutting 168 out of 304 full-time jobs in the department. That constitutes a cut of 99% of the vehicle testing budget and over half of the department’s personnel, and according to former EPA Office of Transportation and Air Quality Margo Oge, would result in “pretty much shutting down the testing lab.”

The document proposes supplementing the comparatively miserly funding by boosting fees for the automakers and engine manufacturers pay for testing.

EPA spokesman John Konkus said, “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.”

This cut has actually caused concern in automaker circles, as Gloria Bergquist, spokeswoman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, said that the companies were worried that the proposed budget cuts would delay new vehicle certification and thus product delivery (as well as never particularly being fans of paying more money).

If enacted, the budget cut would likely undercut the agency’s ongoing investigations into the emissions of Fiat Chrysler and Mercedes-Benz diesel vehicles, which was prompted by VW’s emissions cheating scandal back in 2015.

News Source: Reuters