Think Tank Calls for Removal of Four from CAFE Reassessment Panel

September 05, 2007
Joesph Bast

An objective analysis of the cost of higher CAFE standards requires that controversial candidates for the new panel be rejected

(Chicago, Illinois - September 5, 2007) Tomorrow, September 6, is the last day for the public to register objections to people nominated to serve on a panel reviewing and updating a 2002 report by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) on the impact and effectiveness of Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. Objections can be filed online at http://www8.nationalacademies.org/cp/committeeview.aspx?key=48843.

CAFE standards require auto manufacturers to produce vehicles with higher fuel economy than consumers have expressed a willingness to buy. Whether those standards should be raised, lowered, or even abolished has become a major bone of contention in the national debates over global warming and energy policy.

"This new panel offers an opportunity to fix errors in the 2002 report, but this won't happen if the panelists are drawn from the same bunch who wrote the original report, or if the panel includes left-wing advocates with little actual expertise in the subject," said Joseph Bast, president of The Heartland Institute. "Four of the individuals nominated to serve on the panel fall into one of these two categories."

Three people--David Greene, Gary Rogers, and John Johnson--served on the original 2002 panel. According to NAS policy, "an individual should not serve as a member of a committee with respect to an activity in which a critical review and evaluation of the individual's own work, or that of his or her immediate employer, is the central purpose of the activity, because that would constitute a conflict of interest." These three individuals should not be seated on the panel, Bast said.

A fourth individual, David Friedman, has qualifications that fall well short of others nominated to serve on the panel. Friedman has mostly worked for the Union of Concerned Scientists as an advocate for mandates on the auto industry. Whatever research he has done has been in the service of his employer's political agenda. According to Bast, " the pro-CAFE side of the debate will be well represented by other members of the panel. It doesn't need a ringer--a professional advocate of higher CAFE standards--to make its points."

Bios of all the individuals nominated to serve on the panel are available here: http://www8.nationalacademies.org/cp/committeeview.aspx?key=48843. For more about CAFE, visit The Heartland Institute's Web site at www.heartland.org and search the site for "CAFE."