Augusta – Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt has indicated his intent to deem America’s cleaner car standards “inappropriate,” reversing the agency’s previous determination that they should continue as planned. The standards require increasingly less-polluting cars for model years 2022-2025 and were adopted with support of automakers and after intensive analysis.
“With this cleaner car rollback Scott Pruitt has once again set aside sound science, including from EPA’s own experts, and put short-sighted interests of industry over clean air and the health of Americans,” said Dylan Voorhees, Clean Energy Director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine. “
“As a healthcare provider I see people suffering from air pollution and recognize that the benefit of cleaner air is measureable and can have a real impact,” said Dr. Tony Owens, an emergency room doctor at Maine Medical Center. “I am profoundly disappointed that there is a move to step back from achievable improvements in air quality that were previously agreed upon. This is like telling our children, especially our sickest children, that their health is not one of our highest priorities. This is truly unnecessary and shameful.”
“Air pollution is especially dangerous to the vulnerable: children, older people, and those suffering from lung disease,” said Becca Boulos, Executive Director of the Maine Public Health Association. “Cars and trucks are a major source of air pollution and it is essential that we keep our reasonable, fact-based clean car standards. Maine people suffer with among the highest rates of asthma nationwide. That is one reason that more than a decade ago Maine joined with 12 other states to adopt more protective clean car standards.”
“The cleaner car standards are achievable and working, and automakers are on track to meet them at lower cost than originally anticipated,” says Adam Lee, co-owner of Lee Auto Mall. “Setting these standards was the right decision five years ago, and they remain the right thing today. Carmakers are capable of tremendous innovation if we have clear standards, but this kind of regulatory yo-yo is bad for business in a globally competitive industry.”
In 2012, the Obama Administration approved the latest cleaner car standards, with the support of automakers. Completing a “mid-term review” in January 2017, the EPA concluded that these standards are working, achievable, and should not be rolled back. Although there has been no change in the facts, Pruitt is reversing that decision, ignoring the years of work and thousands of pages of research and analysis that support keeping the standards in place.
Recognizing the air pollution threat from cars and trucks, Maine is one of 13 states that adopted clean car standards that were stronger than the national standards. Combined, these states represent 113 million Americans and more than one-third of the auto market. In recent years, the national standards have been made consistent with these California standards. But if this proposed rollback takes place, Mainers will suffer from increased air pollution as those in upwind states drive more polluting cars.
“Air pollution knows no boundaries,” said Voorhees. “Under this rollback, millions of Americans will be saddled with more polluting, less efficient vehicles. In the absence of federal leadership, it’s more important than ever that the nation’s coalition of clean cars states, including Maine, does what is needed to safeguard the health of our residents.”
Experts identify the Clean Power Plan for power plants (which Pruitt’s EPA is attempting to scrap) and the 2012 Clean Car Standards as the two most significant actions to reduce U.S. carbon emissions enacted during the Obama Administration.
NRCM factsheet on cleaner car standards: https://www.nrcm.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Clean-Car-Standards-factsheet.pdf