Attorneys general warn EPA’s electric vehicle push is an ‘attack on rural America’: ‘Going to get bludgeoned’

FIRST ON FOX: The Kentucky and West Virginia attorneys general led over 20 states in a public comment blasting the Biden Administration for its “unlawful, unwise, and unsustainable” proposed rule, which would force vehicle manufacturers to create more electric vehicles.

“This is an attack on rural America and rural Americans who are working really hard to make ends meet who are going to get bludgeoned by this rule,” West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey told Fox News Digital. 

The Biden administration and various Democratic-led states have moved forward with regulations pushing electric vehicle adoption. The vehicle pollution standards, introduced earlier this year by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and announced by the White House, will impact car model years 2027 through 2032. 

Morrisey, the first Republican attorney general in West Virginia since 1933, and Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron penned a scathing public comment urging the EPA to reconsider.

MORE THAN 150 REPUBLICANS UNITE TO CONDEMN BIDEN’S ‘ILL-CONSIDERED’ ELECTRIC VEHICLE PUSH

President Joe Biden Electric Vehicles

President Joe Biden makes his entrance on November 17, 2021, at General Motors Factory ZERO electric vehicle assembly plant in Detroit, Michigan. (Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

Morrisey believes the Biden administration and EPA lack the authority to act on such drastic measures. 

“When you’re trying to have such major change that’s felt through the entire American economy, you can’t just wish up a new regulation,” Morrisey told Fox News Digital. 

“This is something where Congress was required to go in and act, if you were to give the EPA that authority. They never did that,” he continued. “That’s completely inconsistent with all the recent Supreme Court decisions.

The Republican West Virginia AG also feels they’re “really trying to play shortcuts with the law,” by lumping different types of automobiles together. 

“When they’re trying to calculate what these fuel-efficiency standards are going to look like, they’re blending that in with electric vehicles, which by definition are not going to be emitting the carbon. It’s an improper comparison,” Morrisey said.  

“[Rural Americans] are not going to see any benefits for this for the foreseeable future,” he continued “It’s trying to force American consumers to buy these electric vehicles. . . . I don’t know how Americans are going to be able to afford that into the future. We already have terrible inflation ravaging our country, but this is going to make it only worse.”

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Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron and West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey penned a scathing public comment. (Cameron /)

Attorneys General Morrisey and Cameron led a letter formally urging EPA administrator Michael S. Regan to reconsider. Such public comments are an “important part of the administrative process,” because parties have the opportunity to comment when a new rule is proposed. Once the agency finalizes any rule, Morrisey said they are obligated to review all comments and address potential issues or become “venerable” to legal action. 

“President Biden wants to use the power of government to force a massive shift in demand for automobiles, with the government putting its thumb on the scale in favor of EVs. But Americans don’t want what he is selling,” AG Cameron told Fox News Digital. “This is the latest head-in-the-sand approach to achieving the left’s impossible green-energy fantasies. Government shouldn’t pick winners and losers, and an EPA rule that would kill gas-powered vehicles does just that.”

Fellow AGs from Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wyoming, also signed the letter that condemned the Biden administration’s plan.

“Forcing that market transformation goes far beyond the statutory limits Congress set. And it is bad policy,” the public comment, which is detailed in an 18-page letter that was obtained by Fox News Digital, said. 

“The Proposed Rule is unlawful, unwise, and unsustainable. As one auto industry advisor put it, we need more time to develop solutions together.”

“Encouraging quicker market change within the bounds of an agency’s operative statute is one thing,” the letter continued. “But mandating fast and extreme transformations before supply chains, national security, or consumer confidence have any hope of keeping up is another thing entirely. We respectfully urge EPA to reconsider its Proposed Rule.”

BIDEN’S AMBITIOUS EV PLANS COULD MAKE US MORE DEPENDENT ON CHINESE SUPPLY CHAINS, EXPERTS WARN

Joe Biden, Michael Regan

U.S. President Joe Biden talks to EPA Administrator Michael Regan. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The Attorneys General believe the EPA “points to no textual hook” and lacks a “connection clear enough to support the hefty political and economic issues at stake.”

“The Agency’s cost-benefit assessment is wrong, too, in large part because it leans so heavily on the shaky ‘social cost of greenhouse gases’ metric,” the letter said. “A more careful look at these issues shows why the Proposed Rule, if left uncorrected, would damage our economy, tax our electrical grids and the families and businesses who depend on them, and threaten our national security.  For these and other reasons explained below, the undersigned Attorneys General urge EPA to reconsider the Proposed Rule.”

The attorneys general feel the proposed rules “violates EPA’s statutory limitations in several ways,” including exceeding authority that only allows the agency “to set emissions standards only for classes of new motor vehicles that cause, or contribute to, air pollution.” 

“The Proposed Rule also generates tension with the regulatory efforts of agencies in other areas,” and “runs contrary to Congress’s intent by frustrating the purpose of the Renewable Fuel Standards program,” according to the complaint. 

The Attorneys General blasted the proposed rule as “arbitrary,” “capricious” while declaring it would be “inaccurate” to treat electronic vehicles as zero-emitting vehicles. The complaint also stated the cost-benefit analysis is flawed and the proposed rule ignores “significant hurdles” to the industry transformation that the rule requires. 

“EPA is pushing forward with this proposal at a breakneck pace and in circumstances ill-suited to the aggressive industry transformations that the Agency demands. The electrical grids are neither stable nor safe enough to handle EPA’s proposal. The country will be more energy dependent and less secure because of it.  Automakers will be left without the materials they need to comply,” the letter said. 

“And all the while, consumers—our citizens—will have to deal with empty government promises about vehicle pricing, utilization, and safety.  In short, the Proposed Rule ignores too many aspects of this too-important issue.”

The complaint letter also noted that consumers “are not willing to accept” the proposal. 

“The entire proposal depends on increased—much increased—EV demand. And demand undoubtedly is growing. But it is not likely that sales will ‘rapidly grow’ enough that 67% of new passenger cars, trucks, and SUVs will be electric in the next handful of years,” the letter said. “Many consumers may not be able to afford electric cars even if they want them.”

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

“EPA appreciates the wide range of comments received on this rulemaking. When the agency finalizes the proposal, we plan to post a response to comments in the public docket, consistent with our requirements under the Administrative Procedure Act and the Clean Air Act,” an EPA spokesperson told Fox News Digital. 

AMERICANS STRONGLY OPPOSE BIDEN’S EV GOALS: POLL

The White House said the regulations would “protect public health” by achieving carbon emission reductions of nearly 10 billion tons by 2055 and would save consumers an average of $12,000 over the lifetime of vehicles. But Consumers’ Research executive director Will Hild isn’t a fan of the proposal. 

“The EPA’s proposed rule is an assault on consumers. By forcing car manufactures to focus on producing expensive, unwanted electric vehicles, the EPA is raising the costs for traditional automobiles, lowering the available stock of the most desirable vehicles, and forcing customers to subsidize expensive EV’s for wealthier consumers,” Hild told Fox News Digital. 

Alliance for Consumers executive director O.H. Skinner accused the EPA of weaponizing the rulemaking process. 

“The current EPA proposal is best understood as yet another attempt to weaponize the agency rulemaking process, and the power of the federal government, to wipe away things that every-day consumers overwhelmingly like, use, and rely upon for life’s essential needs,” Skinner told Fox News Digital. 

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Fox News’ Thomas Catenacci and Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report.