Leading California policymakers testified today in strong opposition to the Trump Administration’s proposed rule that rolls back back existing cleaner cars standards. Speaking at a hearing in Fresno, representatives from four state agencies involved in climate and public health policy told the hearing that the proposal would eviscerate current greenhouse gas emission standards for model year 2021-2026 vehicles and put in place weakened emission and fuel efficiency standards at the expense of public health, the economy and the environment.
Instead of adopting maximum feasible standards to increase vehicle fuel efficiency, as federal law requires, the Administration is moving to freeze the standards at the 2020 level through model year 2026. At present, the car industry is on track to meet or exceed the standards at issue. Leading a coalition of 17 states and the District of Columbia, Governor Brown, Attorney General Becerra, and CARB sued the EPA on May 1st over the EPA’s April 13th action. State officials have since vowed to fully defend the existing standards.
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“This proposal to retreat from current national standards is unsupported by science or technology and, if adopted, would ultimately hurt consumers, inject significant uncertainty into the automobile industry, jeopardize public health and undermine our efforts to protect our air and climate. Further, the challenge to California’s authority to develop vehicle emissions standards is illegal and disregards a successful, decades long federal-state partnership that states use to protect their people.” said Matthew Rodriquez, California’s Secretary for Environmental Protection.
On April 13, 2018, the Trump Administration took the first step toward dismantling the national program when it issued a revised final determination that claimed the federal greenhouse gas standards for model year 2022-2025 vehicles were no longer appropriate. The Administration failed to provide appropriate or relevant evidence for this arbitrary and capricious revision of the previous final determination.
Today’s public hearing in Fresno is one of three that U.S. EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are holding around the country after releasing their notice of proposed rulemaking to roll back the vehicle greenhouse gas emissions and corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards for model years 2021-2026 passenger cars and light-trucks in August. Critics liken the hearings to Soviet show trials where the decision to execute had already been made.
“I am here today to ask U.S. EPA and NHTSA to withdraw their incongruously named ‘SAFE’ rule,” said Mary D. Nichols, Chair of the California Air Resources Board. “There is nothing safe about this proposal. It turns its back on decades of progress in cleaning up cars and trucks, ignores available and cost-effective clean vehicle technology, wastes gasoline, and pumps more climate-changing gases into the atmosphere.”
Drew Bohan, Executive Director of the California Energy Commission, told the hearing that the state is making tremendous progress on cleaner cars.
“California already has 450,000 zero-emission vehicles on our roads. And virtually all of those have been added in just the last decade,” he said. “This transition to ZEVs is accelerating, with sales in July and August of this year beating all previous records – a trend we anticipate will continue as consumers continue to see how inexpensive and exciting these cars are to operate.”auto industry commentary, CARB versus Trump, EPA, CAFE, greenhouse gases, CO2, fuel economy standards,