ASP CEO, Brigadier General Stephen Cheney USMC (Ret) testified as one of the expert witnesses at the EPA Hearing on the Reconsideration of Final Determination of Mid-term Evaluation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards for Model Year 2022-2025 Light duty-Vehicles; Model Year 2021 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards, in support of the greenhouse gas emissions standards. In his testimony, General Cheney highlighted the importance of these standards for national security. The full testimony and media coverage is below.
TESTIMONY BEFORE THE EPA HEARING ON THE
RECONSIDERATION OF THE FINAL DETERMINATION OF MIDTERM EVALUATION OF GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS STANDARDS BY
BRIGADIER GENERAL STEPHEN CHENEY USMC(RET)
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF THE AMERICAN SECURITY PROJECT
6 SEPTEMBER 2017
“Thank you for the opportunity to testify before the Environmental Protection Agency about the Reconsideration of the Midterm Evaluation Final Determination. My name is Brigadier General Stephen Cheney USMC (Ret) and I represent the American Security Project. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt recently announced that the EPA would reopen the midterm review of greenhouse gas emission standards, which was completed in January 2017 during the final days of the Obama Administration. The decision to reopen the midterm review of the standards is unnecessary, wasteful, and harmful to American interests.
ASP wrote in support of these standards when they were first announced in 2011, noting that “setting strong standards represents an opportunity to secure our national security by reducing our reliance on oil, to create jobs, unleash investment in the U.S. automotive sector, spark innovation, and save consumers money at the gas pump.” That remains true today.
One of the primary benefits of these standards is their impact on diminishing the security threats from climate change. The Department of Defense has stated that climate change is a direct threat to our global and national security. Increasingly extreme storms, droughts and floods due to climate change are leading to greater instability both at home and abroad. If we lower these standards and continue to emit at the same levels, the United States will undermine the security of the country and world.
Sadly, Hurricane Harvey’s impact on Houston, Texas was a perfect example of these threats. The devastation from Harvey caused the largest oil refiners in the country to go off line. The U.S. was forced to withdraw oil from the Strategic Oil Reserve to fend off fuel shortages. In addition, the storm required the deployment of U.S. troops to help with disaster relief. With Hurricane Irma barreling towards the Caribbean and Florida, our resources will likely be stretched even further. Clearly, our dependence on oil and resulting impacts of climate change is a weakness to U.S. national security. The greenhouse gas emission standards may not completely protect the U.S. from the fluidity of oil markets or stave off the “baked-in” impacts of climate change but they certainly help lower those threats into the future.
In addition to addressing the threats from climate change, these standards are also critical for broader energy security. The U.S. dependence on oil hinders U.S. leverage abroad and “entangles America with unstable and hostile actors.” These standards will lower U.S. reliance on oil, and the related hostile actors abroad, building energy security at home and U.S. leverage abroad.
The military itself is also incredibly reliant on oil. While a commander in Iraq, now-Secretary of Defense General Mattis is quoted as saying “unleash us from this tether of fuel.” There have been numerous casualties in both Iraq and Afghanistan simply due to the transportation of oil. While these standards don’t apply to the military, in the future, the improved technology within the civilian sector could be applied within the military. This would lower fuel needs, making our military more efficient and resilient.
From the business side, US consumers already benefit from the standards and will continue to into the future. By 2025, these standards are expected to nearly double fuel efficiency, save 6 billion metric tons of dangerous tail-pipe pollution, and save Americans billions over the lifetime of the vehicles. As the country continues to bounce back from the Great Recession, such savings should be common sense.
Finally, the proposed new review would create a huge amount of unnecessary waste. A review of these standards is unnecessary in large part due to the comprehensive review already completed less than a year ago. That review took over a year and thousands of man-hours of research and analysis. Only after that extensive review was a decision made to keep standards as they were. To reopen this review, after the earlier review, implies that the Administration has made the pre-determined decision to weaken standards already planned. This new review would be a colossal waste and outside the scope of the requirements, making this an unnecessary overreach with disastrous consequences for our environment, our economy, and our security.
The greenhouse gas emission standards enhance American energy, economic, and national security. Last year’s review proved that the standards are well within reason. We should trust those thousands of hours of work and keep the benefits of these standards in place.”
Additional media coverage of General Cheney’s Testimony
EPA to hold hearing on Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards by Ben Wolfgang / The Washington Times