Last week, the public comment period closed for the Trump administration’s proposed reversal of the hugely popular clean car standards and its parallel attack on the ability of California (and 17 other states representing nearly half of the US auto market) to set more protective standards.
California officials held a press conference on Friday and publicly released their 400+ page response to the administration. Governor Jerry Brown called Trump a “one-man demolition derby,” and said that the move “jeopardizes the health of millions." The formal CA response said the Trump admin’s modeling is “fundamentally inappropriate” and does “not pass basic tests of mathematical and statistical rigor” (not surprising, since most of the administration’s moves don’t pass basic logic tests).
Trump’s proposed policy, with its “biased.. and probably wrong” assumptions, would cost Americans up to $119 billion--not to mention, it would kill people and destroy 60,000 jobs in the auto industry. It’s clear the policy only really serves one group: the fossil fuel industry.
This is probably why 90 conservatives, most if not all of whom appear to be affiliated with Koch-funded organizations, submitted their own public comment.
While the California comment is hundreds of pages of charts and data and analysis, the Koch letter is all of four paragraphs long. Oddly, it claims that the National Academies of Science, Brookings and Harvard have all concluded that the standards are “directly responsible for additional fatalities.” Something seems...a little fishy here.
Unlike the California comment, the Koch groups don’t actually directly cite any sources, so it’s impossible to tell what exactly they’re referencing when they vaguely talk about fatalities. A recent post at Brookings suggests the organization supports strengthening, not weakening, the standards. This would be an odd position if the folks at Brookings believed strengthening the standards would kill people.
But an old blog post at American Thinker may shine some light on this reasoning. The post lays out the same points as the Koch groups do in their comment and cites the same sources. Turns out all those studies are A) like twenty years old and B) focused on vehicle size.
And the vehicle size issue is hardly a conclusive sign that higher mileage is dangerous. In fact, it’s likely the increase in larger, lower mileage SUVs that is driving the rise in mortality, since it’s when they collide with smaller cars that the danger is greatest.
But for Koch groups, the choice between real people’s lives, health, and jobs versus selling more gas is no choice at all. After all, making Americans spend more on gas just drives up their profits.