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    White House Begins Review of Tier 3 Fuel Standards

    The OMB is expected to complete the process in March.

    NEW YORK -- The White House could bring the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) automobile pollution regulations to fruition this year. The Office of Management and Budget conducted a review of Tier 3 emissions and fuel standards late Tuesday, and is expected to complete the review in March. At this pace, the standards could be finalized by the end of 2013.

    "The pollution reductions achieved by the standard result in huge health benefits, estimated at over $5 billion per year by 2020 and $10 billion per year by 2030," said Luke Tonachel, a vehicle analyst for the Natural Resources Defense Council. "It's time to move quickly to adopt common sense Tier 3 standards and make breathing easier for us and for future generations."

    According to a report by Law360, the standards have been contemplated since 2008 and are part of the EPA's efforts to boost vehicle fuel efficiency and reduce emissions. Two years ago in May 2010, President Barack Obama ordered the agency to review rules limiting nongreenhouse gas emissions for new vehicles and fuels; toxic emissions from tailpipes; and sulfur standards for gasoline.

    In addition, the EPA was required to develop new rules if the existing regulations did not adequately protect public health. So far, the EPA has not formally proposed a rule after issuing its pre-proposal in February 2011.

    As CSNews previously reported, governors of six states and the mayor of Washington, D.C. wrote last week to the president to adopt the standards as soon as possible.

    The measures have also won support from public health groups including the American Heart Association, which cited the health benefits for roughly 159 million people living in areas where vehicle emissions are a major pollutant.

    Twelve Democrats led by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, also wrote to the President, arguing that the Tier 3 rule is expected to cut carbon monoxide emissions by 38 percent, and nitrogen oxide emissions and volatile organic compound emissions by more than 25 percent.

    According to Gillibrand, equipping new vehicles with advanced catalytic converters would add less than $150 to the costs of the vehicles and would not change gas prices.

    Trade groups such as the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America and Petroleum Marketers Association of America oppose enacting Tier 3 because they allege it would force gas prices to rise at the pump.

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