Fox's MacCallum Doesn't Know What The EPA Does

During a segment criticizing the Obama administration's relationship with the business community, Fox “straight news” anchor Martha MacCallum claimed that “it is not customary for the EPA to tell car companies how to run their business.” In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency has set mandatory vehicle emission standards since the early 1970s.

MacCallum Claims “It Is Not Customary” For EPA To Set Businesses Practices

MacCallum: “It Is Not Customary For The EPA To Tell ... Car Companies How To Run Their Business.” From the January 18 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:

MacCALLUM: The business community in many ways has felt that President Obama has not been on their side. We all remember the, you know, the “fat-cat bankers,” and the big corporations, and it's all their fault. To a great extent, that really alienated the business community. Is this an outreach on his part to this group?

GEORGE PATAKI (Former Republican New York governor): I think it is. I think he understands that they got clobbered in the November elections in part because they were treating business as secondary citizens at a time we need to create jobs. And I think this is a wonderful expression of words. The problem is too often in this administration the words don't match the actions.

MacCALLUM: Yeah. So, you know, the ideas in here -- it talks about redundancies and federal regulations. I mean, you know, if you have something happen at your business in this country --

PATAKI: It's all --

MacCALLUM: -- you're going to be visited by a whole bunch of agencies with forms this big to fill out.


MacCALLUM: It's extremely onerous and takes up a lot of time and energy.

PATAKI: It's all terrific, and it's not just at the federal level. When I got elected, one of the first things I did was create an office of regulatory reform, and they went through and repealed or changed thousands of regulations. But the problem here is that we have wonderful words from the president saying the right thing, but, at the same time, you have the EPA trying to regulate carbon and enact cap and trade --

MacCALLUM: Yeah. Good point.

PATAKI: -- through regulations at a time when Congress is saying, no, we don't want this. So what we need to see is not just the words; we need to see action.

MacCALLUM: That's such a good point 'cause that's an area -- just to bring up one specific that is not mentioned in the president's editorial -- it is not customary for the EPA to tell, you know, car companies how to run their business, which is what we're seeing here, right? [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 1/18/11]

EPA Has Been Setting Motor Vehicle Emission Standards Since Early '70s

EPA Has Set National Car Emission Standards “Starting In The Early 1970s.” According to the EPA's website: “Starting in the early 1970's, EPA has set national standards that have considerably reduced emissions of CO and other pollutants from motor vehicles, including tailpipe emissions, new vehicle technologies, and clean fuels programs. Since 1970, CO emissions from on-road vehicles (which includes cars, motorcycles, light- and heavy-duty trucks) have been reduced by over 40 percent. The greatest reductions have been in emissions from cars (nearly 60 percent).” [Environmental Protection Agency, 10/1/10]

Clean Air Act of 1970 Required EPA To “Prescribe ... Standards Applicable To the Emission Of Any Air Pollutant From Any Class Or Classes Of New Motor Vehicles.” From the Clean Air Act of 1970:

The Administrator [of the EPA] shall by regulation prescribe (and from time to time revise) in accordance with the provisions of this section, standards applicable to the emission of any air pollutant from any class or classes of new motor vehicles or new motor vehicle engines, which in his judgment cause, or contribute to, air pollution which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare. Such standards shall be applicable to such vehicles and engines for their useful life (as determined under subsection (d) of this section, relating to useful life of vehicles for purposes of certification), whether such vehicles and engines are designed as complete systems or incorporate devices to prevent or control such pollution. [42 U.S.C. § 7521, via Cornell University Law School, accessed 1/19/10]

EPA: Clean Air Act “Established The First Specific Responsibilities For Government And Private Industry To Reduce Emissions From Vehicles.” According to the EPA's Office of Mobile Sources: “The Clean Air Act of 1970 set a national goal of clean and healthy air for all. It established the first specific responsibilities for government and private industry to reduce emissions from vehicles, factories, and other pollution sources. In many ways, the far-reaching law has been a great success. Today's cars, for example, typically emit 70 to 90 percent less pollution over their lifetimes than their 1970 counterparts.” [Environmental Protection Agency, 8/94]

Former EPA Air Chief “Dispute[s]” Notion That Obama Administration Has Been More Aggressive On Clean Air Than Predecessors. From a September 14, 2010, Greenwire article posted on the website of The New York Times:

Bill Rosenberg, who served as EPA's air chief under George H.W. Bush, said those amendments set the stage for vast improvements that followed. And he disputed the notion that the Obama administration has been more aggressive on clean air than its predecessors.

“There's been a real steady progress in my view and throughout many administrations,” Rosenberg said. “I wouldn't say this one has done more or less than others, but they certainly have made nice improvements.”

Rosenberg said the Obama administration's most noteworthy clean air achievement has been issuing standards aimed at boosting motor vehicle efficiency. [Greenwire, via, 9/14/10]

EPA: Clean Air Act Amendments Of 1990 Established “Tighter Pollution Standards For Emissions From Automobiles And Trucks.” According to the EPA's overview of the Clean Air Act amendments of 1990:

While motor vehicles built today emit fewer pollutants (60% to 80% less, depending on the pollutant) than those built in the 1960s, cars and trucks still account for almost half the emissions of the ozone precursors VOCs and NOx, and up to 90% of the CO emissions in urban areas. The principal reason for this problem is the rapid growth in the number of vehicles on the roadways and the total miles driven. This growth has offset a large portion of the emission reductions gained from motor vehicle controls.

In view of the unforeseen growth in automobile emissions in urban areas combined with the serious air pollution problems in many urban areas, the Congress has made significant changes to the motor vehicle provisions on the 1977 Clean Air Act.

The Clean Air Act of 1990 establishes tighter pollution standards for emissions from automobiles and trucks. These standards will reduce tailpipe emissions of hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxides on a phased-in basis beginning in model year 1994. Automobile manufacturers will also be required to reduce vehicle emissions resulting from the evaporation of gasoline during refueling.

Fuel quality will also be controlled. Scheduled reductions in gasoline volatility and sulfur content of diesel fuel, for example, will be required. New programs requiring cleaner (so-called “reformulated” gasoline) will be initiated in 1995 for the nine cities with the worst ozone problems. Other cities can “opt in” to the reformulated gasoline program. Higher levels (2.7%) of alcohol-based oxygenated fuels will be produced and sold in 41 areas during the winter months that exceed the federal standard for carbon monoxide.

The new law also establishes a clean fuel car pilot program in California, requiring the phase-in of tighter emission limits for 150,000 vehicles in model year 1996 and 300,000 by the model year 1999. These standards can be met with any combination of vehicle technology and cleaner fuels. The standards become even stricter in 2001. Other states can “opt in” to this program, though only through incentives, not sales or production mandates.

Further, twenty-six of the dirtiest areas of the country will have to adopt a program limiting emissions from centrally-fueled fleets of 10 or more vehicles beginning as early as 1998. [Environmental Protection Agency, 12/19/08]

Supreme Court: Clean Air Act Specifically Gives EPA “Authority To Regulate” Carbon Dioxide Emissions By Motor Vehicles. In Massachusetts vs. EPA, 12 states, four local governments, and 13 private organizations sued the EPA, claiming that, while the EPA was already regulating vehicle emissions of other gasses, it should also be regulating greenhouse gases -- including carbon dioxide -- that are emitted by motor vehicles. The Bush administration's EPA argued that it lacked authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate those gases. The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 opinion authored by then-Justice John Paul Stevens, stated on April 2, 2007, that “greenhouse gases fit well within the [Clean Air] Act's capacious definition of 'air pollutant,' ” and thus “EPA has statutory authority to regulate emission of such gases from new motor vehicles”:

Because greenhouse gases fit well within the Act's capacious definition of “air pollutant,” EPA has statutory authority to regulate emission of such gases from new motor vehicles. That definition -- which includes “any air pollution agent ... , including any physical, chemical, ... substance ... emitted into ... the ambient air ... ,” §7602(g) (emphasis added) -- embraces all airborne compounds of whatever stripe. Moreover, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are undoubtedly “physical [and] chemical ... substance[s].” Ibid. [Massachusetts et al. V. Environmental Protection Agency et al., 4/2/07]

MacCallum Let Pataki Claim EPA Is Trying To Mandate Reduction Of GHG In Every Business

Pataki: “The EPA Is Trying To Say That You Are Going To Have To Measure Your Carbon Output And Pay A Tax If You Don't Start To Reduce It.” From the same edition of America's Newsroom:

MacCALLUM: It is not customary for the EPA to tell, you know, car companies how to run their business, which is what we're seeing here, right?

PATAKI: And it's not just car companies; it's every business in America. The EPA is trying to say that you are going to have to measure your carbon output and pay a tax if you don't start to reduce it. And that's a perfectly appropriate thing for Congress to debate. They have. Congress doesn't want to pass it, the American people don't want it. So now the Obama administration looks like they're trying to ram it through administratively. So the words the president expressed are wonderful. The fact is they're not consistent with the actions. [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 1/18/11]

In Fact, EPA Is Not Regulating Carbon Emissions In “Every Business In America”

EPA's Greenhouse Gas Program “Requires The Reporting Of GHG Emissions Data From Large Emission Sources And Fuel Suppliers Across A Range Of Industry Sectors.” From an EPA press release:

Beginning in 2011, petroleum and natural gas facilities that emit more than 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent a year are required to monitor and report all greenhouse gas emissions to EPA. Data collection for petroleum and natural gas sources will begin January 1, 2011, with first annual reports due to EPA March 31, 2012.

EPA's Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program, launched in October 2009, requires the reporting of GHG emissions data from large emission sources and fuel suppliers across a range of industry sectors. The data will help guide the development of programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. [Environmental Protection Agency, 11/9/10]

EPA's Proposal To Adopt Emissions Standards For Greenhouse Gas Applies Only To “Fossil Fuel Power Plants And Petroleum Refineries.” On December 23, the EPA announced that, after “look[ing] at a number of sectors,” the agency “is moving forward on GHG standards for fossil fuel power plants and petroleum refineries”:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued its plan for establishing greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution standards under the Clean Air Act in 2011. The agency looked at a number of sectors and is moving forward on GHG standards for fossil fuel power plants and petroleum refineries -- two of the largest industrial sources, representing nearly 40 percent of the GHG pollution in the United States. The schedule issued in today's agreements provides a clear path forward for these sectors and is part of EPA's common-sense approach to addressing GHGs from the largest industrial pollution sources.

“We are following through on our commitment to proceed in a measured and careful way to reduce GHG pollution that threatens the health and welfare of Americans, and contributes to climate change,” Administrator Lisa Jackson said. “These standards will help American companies attract private investment to the clean energy upgrades that make our companies more competitive and create good jobs here at home.”


Under today's agreement, EPA will propose standards for power plants in July 2011 and for refineries in December 2011 and will issue final standards in May 2012 and November 2012, respectively.

This schedule will allow the agency to host listening sessions with the business community, states and other stakeholders in early 2011, well before the rulemaking process begins, as well as to solicit additional feedback during the routine notice and comment period. Together this feedback will lead to smart, cost-effective and protective standards that reflect the latest and best information. [Environmental Protection Agency, 12/23/10]