Testimony at the Maine Legislature
by Sue Jones, NRCM energy project director
Thank you for the opportunity to submit comments on behalf of the Natural Resources Council of Maine (Council). I am Sue Jones, and am the Energy Project Director for the Council. I live in Freeport. The Council is a public interest, nonprofit organization that seeks to protect and conserve Maine’s environment for now and future generations. As part of the Council’s work, we advocate for clean air and energy measures, including those that reduce air and global warming pollution.
L.D. 1465, the Cleaner Car Sales Goal Resolve, will bring cleaner, less polluting vehicles to Maine sooner. This program requires major vehicle manufacturers to ramp up delivery of super-clean and hybrid vehicles to Maine. No later than model year 2009 (which begins on January 2, 2008), they must deliver at least 4% hybrids (ATP-ZEVs) and 6% super-clean conventional vehicles (PZEVs) as a percentage of their individual total sales in Maine. More than 27 car, truck and SUV models, including the popular Ford Focus, Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, all wheel drive vehicles like the Subaru Outback, and luxury cars such as BMWs and Volvos, currently meet these super-clean standards. Currently, 4 models meet the hybrid standards. Manufacturers have confirmed many more models to be released within the next few years.
As a major substantive rule, this proposed rule (in the form of a Resolve) needs legislative approval before it can be fully adopted.
The Council supports passage of LD 1465 for the following reasons:
1. The Board of Environmental Protection voted unanimously to adopt this rule last December after full consideration of the record. After considering all of the testimony and comments offered into the record, asking questions of testifiers, and after deliberations, it made its position unequivocally clear by making the strongest vote possible. The BEP carefully evaluated all sides of the issues and overwhelming agreed that passage of the Sales Goals was justified and proper. Before taking the final vote, BEP took additional comments on the rule from interested stakeholders, thereby giving all parties “a second bite of the apple” to make their concerns known to it. In conclusion, the BEP’s vote could not be any stronger or clearer in expressing its support for the State’s adoption of this program.
2. The State must comply with federal laws, namely 1) sections 109 and 110 of the federal Clean Air Act (CAA) that require Maine to meet air quality standards for ozone, and 2) section 177 of the federal Clean Air Act that requires the State to adopt an identical vehicle emissions program.
1) Pursuant to sections 109 and 110 of the federal CAA, all states including Maine must meet the ambient air quality standard for ozone. Currently, Maine is in violation of the 8-hour ozone standard. In order to demonstrate compliance with this federal law, Maine must show that it is reducing ozone smog-forming pollution. It does this by adopting and implementing programs that reduce in-state generation of this pollutant and its precursors (nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds). The largest contributor to ozone pollution in Maine is the 1.4 million vehicles driven here.
To reduce ozone pollution, in 1993 Maine first adopted the California Low Emissions Vehicle Program (LEV Program). This is a suite of programs that regulate vehicle emissions, mostly from tailpipes. Today’s Resolve (the Cleaner Cars Sales Goals) is one of the many pieces within the LEV Program.
Maine’s adoption of the LEV Program has brought it superior air pollution reductions over the alternative so-called “federal program”. Most importantly, the air pollution reductions from the LEV Program can be counted toward compliance with meeting the federal ambient air quality standard for ozone. Keeping these reductions in place – continuing with the LEV Program – is critical for Maine to be able to demonstrate compliance with the ozone standard. Without this program in place, Maine would be forced to require other sources of ozone pollution in Maine to make additional reductions. The most likely targets would be Wyman Station (oil-fired) located in Yarmouth, and the numerous pulp and paper mills located throughout the state.
2) To meet compliance with sections 109 and 110 of the federal CAA, Maine can chose the air pollution reduction programs it wishes to adopt. However, in the realm of reducing vehicle emissions, pursuant to section 177 of the federal CAA the State must chose one of only two paths: adopting either the LEV program, or the alternative federal program. It must adopt one of the programs in its entirety and its adoption must be identical. It cannot pick and chose among portions of the programs.
Over a decade ago, Maine embarked on adopting the LEV Program after comprehensive stakeholders meetings, discussion and debate. Since then, DEP has periodically adopted and updated its LEV Program rules to remain in compliance with section 177. In December 2002, DEP repealed the Cleaner Cars Sales Goals rules in anticipation of California revamping its requirements the following spring. California did so, and made major changes to its rule, mostly in direct response to auto manufacturers’ complaints and concerns. In the meantime, last fall 2004, DEP re-analyzed the rule and its impacts to Maine, and proceeded with rulemaking.
The Resolve meets the identicality requirements of the federal CAA. To remain in compliance with the federal CAA, Maine must adopt it. To not adopt it would mean that we would throw away a decade’s worth of good policy and progress in exchange for an inferior tailpipe emissions program. In addition, we would lose the credits for the reductions in air pollution that we earn each year in Maine to demonstrate compliance with the federal CAA. Lastly, DEP would be forced to find the reductions elsewhere, likely at large industrial and electrical generation facilities.
3. Adopting the Sales Goals Program will reduce air pollution generated by Maine’s largest source of air and global warming pollution.
Cars and trucks in Maine are responsible for the following percentages of total emissions:
51% nitrogen oxides (NOx)
38% VOCs (also known as volatile organic compounds or hydrocarbons or toxics)
79% CO (carbon monoxide)
Because of this, even modest changes in the emissions of vehicles driven can have significant improvements to air quality. Studies have shown that, in contrast to other sources of air pollution generated in- and out-of-state, car and truck emissions can directly contribute to federal ozone violations (unhealthy levels of pollution).
Ozone, NOx, VOCs, and CO are all dangerous pollutants:
4. Maine citizens overwhelmingly support the Cleaner Cars Sales Goals Program. Approximately 70% of Maine citizens recently polled indicate that they support the passage of this program. In a poll conducted by Strategic Marketing Services in January 2005, seven in ten (70.3%) of the 400 Maine residents surveyed favor this requirement, while one-fourth (25%) did not believe the state should make this requirement and 4.8% were undecided. The survey found consistent support across the board for “requiring carmakers to provide 10% of the new cars they sell in Maine as low polluting models by 2009.”
5. The Cleaner Cars Sales Goals Resolve represents reasonable, doable goals. As for PZEVs, all major manufactures have at least one PZEV already available on Maine lots and all are making progress in converting additional models to PZEV-certification. The manufacturers are 4 years ahead of schedule in providing Maine consumers with these super-clean superior vehicles.
As for ATP-ZEVs (hybrids), the only manufacture that says it cannot meet the Sales Goals requirements is GM. Every other manufacturer has indicated that it can and will meet the Sales Goals by 2009. GM has options, including buying hybrid technology and incorporating it into its fleet of available makes and models as others have done, including Nissan (who contracted with Toyota). Maine should not reward GM for making no attempt to work toward the hybrid requirements, especially when all other major manufacturers have shown or indicated that they can and will meet them.
We urge you to pass L.D. 1465, the Cleaner Cars Sales Goals.
 See NRCM Factsheets: 1) List of ATP-ZEVs (Hybrids); and 2) List of PZEVs (Super-clean Vehicles).
 DEP/Bureau of Air Quality, “The Influence of Close-Range Pollution on Maine’s Air Quality During the Peak Ozone Episodes in 1997”, where DEP found that car and truck emissions generated in Maine were important contributors to the certain ozone exceedances.