Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is considering adoption of the Advanced Clean Cars II (ACC II) and Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT) rules. Today, advocates organized to urge the Board to adopt the life-saving rules.
Today, Mainers from across the state spoke at a public hearing in Augusta to urge the Department of Environmental Protection to swiftly adopt stronger standards for clean cars and trucks. If adopted, the new rules would give consumers in Maine more opportunities to buy zero-emission vehicles and slash toxic tailpipe pollution that is harming human health and making climate change worse.
The transportation sector in Maine is the most polluting, accounting for nearly half of the state’s climate emissions from fossil fuels. Communities located near major roadways and trucking routes are suffering from high exposure to tailpipe and diesel pollution that is extremely harmful to public health and is known to cause asthma, lung disease, and cancer. Exposure to air pollution is not equitable, and low-income communities of color are disproportionately impacted. The ACT and ACC II would cut this harmful pollution by selling an increasing percentage of clean cars and trucks.
The Advanced Clean Trucks rule would accelerate Maine’s participation in the transition to clean trucks already underway around the world, by setting increasing zero-emission and near-zero-emission targets for new medium and heavy-duty vehicle sales.
Currently, Maine is considering adopting a curtailed version of the ACC II. As proposed, the ACC II would ramp up sales of clean personal cars and trucks, maxing out at 82% of new vehicle sales in 2032. If Maine instead adopted the full version, the regulation would gradually increase through 2035, ultimately requiring 100% of all new vehicles sold to be zero-emission or hybrid. Some advocates are pushing for full adoption because of the extra years of health, climate and economic benefits. Every state that has adopted the regulation so far has adopted the full version, including neighboring states like Vermont and Massachusetts.
In response to today’s hearing, Maine clean air advocates released the following statements:
“As the climate crisis worsens and the effects become even more prevalent, it is clear that immediate action is needed to rapidly transition away from fossil fuel,” said high school student and climate activist Audrey Hufnagel. “As transportation is Maine’s largest source of fossil fuel emissions, it is crucial that we transition to cleaner automobiles for Maine to do its part in addressing climate change.”
“Harmful emissions from gas-powered cars and trucks are driving the climate crisis and polluting the air in our communities,” said Conservation Law Foundation Senior Attorney Emily Green. “Maine has an opportunity to tackle climate change while cleaning up the air, and we’re ready for these critical standards. There’s no time to delay: the state must adopt both rules now and go all the way to 100% clean cars by 2035.”
“Adopting this reasonable proposal will ensure that automakers meet the rising demand for lower-cost zero-emissions cars and trucks in Maine, giving people and businesses across the state the choice to purchase a zero-emissions car or truck if they want to,” said Jack Shapiro, Climate & Clean Energy Director at the Natural Resources Council of Maine. “Maine has chosen to adopt high standards for efficiency and tailpipe pollution for decades, to save Mainers money, lower pollution, and make our air healthier, and we hope the Board will continue to follow this common-sense approach.”
“Tailpipe pollution from cars and trucks worsens our air quality and threatens the health of all Mainers,” said Matt Cannon, State Conservation and Energy Director at Sierra Club Maine. “By adopting ACC II and ACT, the State will significantly slash dangerous tailpipe pollution and curb GHG emissions from our high-emitting transportation sector. Our neighbors across New England have already fully adopted the ACC II standards. It’s Maine’s turn to commit itself to 100% new zero-emission vehicles by 2035 and set ourselves on a path to a clean transportation future.”
“Every day, fossil fuel-powered cars, trucks, and buses emit pollutants that intensify global warming and contribute to toxic air pollution,” said Kevin Shen, Policy Analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists. “Zero-emission vehicle technologies are here today, and full adoption of both of these rules through 2035 will ensure that these vehicles are available for Mainers to save on fuel and maintenance costs.”
“There are over 800 models of commercially available zero-emission trucks, vans, and buses worldwide,” said Jordan Stutt, Senior Director, Northeast Region at CALSTART. “Adopting the ACT rule will ensure that Maine businesses and residents have access to these increasingly popular and affordable vehicles, along with the clean air and economic benefits they deliver.”