Trump Cutting EPA Emissions Test Lab And Wants Automakers To Pay For It

The White House is proposing a budget cut that would take away the Environmental Protection Agency’s emissions testing lab.

A Trump administration budget document was discovered and posted online by The Washington Post showing the president wants to eliminate $48 million that goes to EPA vehicle and fuel testing and certification. An EPA official confirmed that the document is legitimate.

President Donald Trump would like to see automakers pay fees for EPA testing.

Removing the $48 million would be a 99-percent budget cut for funding the federal vehicle testing budget.

It would mean “pretty much shutting down the testing lab,” said Margo Oge, who led the EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality under the Obama administration.

In the Trump proposal, 168 out of 304 full-time jobs would be cut. It seeks to bring in partial funding by increasing fees that automakers and engine manufacturers would be required to pay for testing.

It’s one of several cuts the Trump administration is proposing that would take away much of the EPA’s power and would affect other federal agencies. Trump has proposed cutting the EPA’s budget by 31 percent, and to eliminate more than 50 of the agency’s program.

Last month, the Trump administration proposed a 2018 budget cut that would wipe out the Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program (ATMVP) and Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). These federal programs have been seen as vital for new electric vehicles, clean fuels, and efficient energy to come to market.

The EPA has taken a vague approach in responding to a media inquiry.

“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,” said EPA spokesman John Konkus, who declined to answer questions about how the cuts could affect vehicle testing.

Automakers have concerns about how this budget cut would affect consumer sales.

They’re concerned the proposed cuts could delay new vehicle certification “and getting products to consumers,” said Gloria Bergquist, a spokeswoman for trade group Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.

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More will be revealed in a detailed budget plan to be released in May by the Trump administration.

Automakers are carefully watching moves being made by the new president, including his decision last month to reverse the Obama administration’s late decision to finalize 2022-2025 fuel economy and emissions standards.

Another key issue is how the EPA will continue to enforce scrutiny and testing of vehicles in the fallout from the September 2015 report on Volkswagen’s diesel emissions cheating scandal. The German automaker has agreed to pay up to $25 billion in penalties and buyback costs; the company also pleaded guilty last month to felony charges in the emissions reporting scandal.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Mercedes-Benz are also undergoing pressure from EPA on diesel vehicle emissions reporting.

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