Ann Carlson, who has been the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s acting director since September 2022, will not be the NHTSA’s permanent director.
President Joe Biden nominated Carlson to the full-time position in March but withdrew her nomination Thursday.
Carlson faced unanimous opposition from Senate Commerce Committee Republicans. The group, led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), sent a letter to the president May 1 expressing their concerns.
Republicans expressed concern Carlson would promote stringent EPA emission standards.
“Your work at NHTSA and past career suggest NHTSA intends to mimic the EPA’s draconian EV mandate,” the letter said. “According to the White House, while serving as NHTSA’s chief counsel, you ‘oversaw the issuance’ last year of NHTSA’s controversial 2024-26 fuel economy standards. That rulemaking led West Virginia, Montana, and multiple other states to allege in a lawsuit that NHTSA exceeded its statutory authority in issuing those standards by impermissibly taking into consideration EVs. As chief counsel, you had a responsibility to ensure that NHTSA’s proposed regulations complied with the law. However, you instead took actions that were consistent with your long career as an environmentalist without traffic safety experience.”
The letter concluded with the Republicans strongly urging NHTSA to reject the EPA’s “attempt at central planning and not proceed with a wholesale remake of the auto sector.”
In addition to serving as acting NHTSA director, Carlson is the agency’s chief counsel. Before joining NHTSA in January 2021, Carlson served on the faculty of the UCLA School of Law. She also served as the California Assembly’s representative to the Independent Emissions Market Advisory Committee.