Environmental Defense Fund joined more than 100 experts and concerned citizens from around the country to urge the Environmental Protection Agency to reverse the Trump administration’s unlawful attack on California’s long-standing authority to set greenhouse gas and zero-emission vehicle standards for cars, trucks and SUVs.
The Clean Air Act directs EPA to grant California a waiver of federal preemption to set more protective standards for vehicular air pollution, and allows other states to adopt California’s standards. In 2013, EPA granted a waiver for California’s greenhouse gas and zero-emission vehicle standards. Then in 2019, the Trump Administration took the unprecedented and unlawful step of revoking that waiver.
This April, EPA proposed to reverse the Trump action and reinstate the waiver for California’s Advanced Clean Car standards. EDF senior attorney Alice Henderson testified for EDF at the agency’s public hearing on the proposal.
“Reversing that action is an important step toward reducing the air pollution burden that disproportionately impacts low-income communities and communities of color, and toward avoiding some of the immense damage that climate change will continue to inflict on human health, the economy, and our environment,” said Henderson in her testimony.
California has served as a testing ground for innovation in emissions control because of its protective standards. The state’s programs have incentivized the development of technologies that have been deployed across the world. California’s Air Resources Board is now considering proposing new multipollutant standards that would ensure all new cars sold in the state are zero-emitting vehicles by 2035. EDF estimates that action would prevent more than 7,400 premature deaths by 2050, and eliminate 1.2 billion tons of climate pollution from our air.
“The Trump administration’s attack on state authority under the Clean Air Act was unlawful and undermines a vital tool that Congress granted to states to protect us from vehicular air pollution,” said Henderson in her testimony. “EDF respectfully urges EPA to swiftly finalize its reconsideration and reinstate the waiver so that California can resume its traditional role in setting vehicle emission standards – including greenhouse gas standards – that move the whole country forward.”
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