Emails released yesterday by the E&E Legal Institute show how the EPA used ‘offline channels’ to work with anti-fossil fuel activists, environmental reporters, green groups, and lobbyists to craft global warming rules. E&E Legal (EELI) notes this back-channeling was used to thwart FOIA requests and federal recordkeeping laws as the agency spearheaded numerous climate change regulations that are still reverberating throughout the industry and small businesses trying to comply.

Some of these regulations may sound familiar, including: increased miles per gallon for cars (CAFE standards) and trucks, and the Clean Power Plan (CPP) currently on hold by the U.S.

Supreme Court. The CPP was intended as President Obama’s signature climate change achievement, intended to address global warming by shuttering coal-fired power plants. But as EPA head Gina McCarthy admitted to congress, the new regulations would only avert warming by .01 degrees at best.

Offline channels

The number of climate-related rules issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is now in the hundreds of thousands, with more coming down the pipeline. The emails show that green groups were advising the EPA on rule making on everything from fracking to pipelines.

They also show that Democratic congressionalaides used these ‘offline channels to coordinate with outside groups on new rules and regulations.

These various regulations and restrictions have far-reaching impacts, including the just-announced news that Ford will be moving a small-car facility to Mexico.

Why? The Ford move has less to do with low-cost labor and more to do with Obama’s new CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards. The Wayne, Mich., facility that currently makes these small cars will now make Ford Rangers or the latest Bronco sport-utility truck. And while the net change for American jobs may be zero, it will create new work for Mexico, not the U.S.

CAFE Standards

Purchasing habits show Americans still like big cars, minivans, and SUVs, so Ford’s plan to continue manufacturing small vehicles only satisfies one issue: meeting the fuel mileage standards imposed by the EPA. That’s because Ford can’t sell big cars that Americans want unless it produces the fuel-efficient small cars. By making both, Ford calculates an ‘overall average of miles per gallon’ for its entire fleet. That mandated average needs to be 54.5 mpg by 2025.

Instead of letting the marketplace determine what a car company makes, the government is forcing them to make cars that meet an arbitrary target approved by green groups.

By moving small car manufacturing to Mexico, a country that enjoys much lower labor costs, Ford won’t go bankrupt and may even squeak out a profit.

Making cars more expensive

Low oil prices are also shaping America’s buying habits. They want safer, more sturdy vehicles that can survive an accident. However, the next president can revamp fuel economy standards, since they regularly come up for review. The next review is in 2017. But with green groups helping to write EPA regulations—as the new emails indicate—automakers will continue to build vehicles as cheaply as possible to maintain a profit.

Industry analysts say that the new fuel economy standards add between $2,000 and $3,000 to the cost of a new vehicle, without actually addressing climate change.

The EPA says it will save Americans “$1.7 trillion in fuel costs by 2025” and reduce America’s use of oil by “two million barrels per day.” Whether Americans desire such regulations remains to be seen.

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