Is there anyone out there who has the ear of President Trump? Anyone who might get through to the administration to try to dissuade them from some pending decisions that will harm the people of Utah?
Anyone? Hatch? Lee? Bishop?
Well, if there is anyone, here are a couple of things that they might mention.
The bureaucracy previously known as the Environmental Protection Agency has announced that it is going to ease off on the tougher automobile fuel efficiency standards that had been announced late in the Obama administration.
The official reason for the decision to set aside rules that would raise average fleet efficiency to 50 miles per gallon by the year 2025 and replace them with — well, something — is that the standard would be too hard to reach and that it would make cars and trucks more expensive.
The first reason is another example of the Republican Party’s stunning lack of faith in the ability of U.S. industry to meet technical challenges. The second is deliberate ignorance of the value of using less fuel and causing less pollution.
EPA boss Scott Pruitt probably thinks turning tail on the Obama regulations is a good way to stick it to Democrats, East Coasters and, most of all, California, which has long led the way in anti-pollution efforts.
But someone with some knowledge of life along the Wasatch Front should tell the EPA that good ol’ red Utah also suffers from some pretty foul air. Foul enough that even the Republicans who run things around here are worried about it, if not because of the lives it shortens then because of the business recruitment it damages.
What success there has been in fighting our local air quality problems is largely due to federal efforts, specifically EPA rules governing refineries, auto efficiency and the formulation of motor fuels. Gov. Gary Herbert has honestly and reasonably done what he can to push owners of valley refineries to shift their production to what’s called Tier 3 fuels, so that local cars can burn gasoline that produces less sulfur and other noxious chemicals.
Meanwhile, the Census Bureau says it will add a question on citizenship status to the 2020 version of the constitutionally mandated headcount. There can be little question that the result of this will be an undercount of immigrants — legal and illegal — who will have cause to fear telling the truth and to fear telling a lie.
This is a constitutionally ignorant plan. The document commands “counting the whole number of persons in each state.” And anything that leads to making that count less accurate won’t only hurt blue states like California and New York. It will also damage the political power of — and federal funding for — states such as Utah.
Rep. Rob Bishop is correct to push for the Census to count LDS missionaries (among others) during their overseas sojourns. Every little bit helps.
While he is at it, Bishop ought to put a bug in the ear of some powerful people, reminding them that Utah will suffer if not every Utah resident — native, legal, illegal, whatever — is counted.
Among the things at risk is federal funding for highways and transit. Which will make it harder, still, to clean up our air.