EDF Experts Testify in Support of EPA Proposals to Reduce Tailpipe Pollution from Cars, Mercury Pollution from Power Plants

May 11, 2023
Sharyn Stein, 202-905-5718, sstein@edf.org

(Washington, D.C. – May 11, 2023) Experts from Environmental Defense Fund testified in support of critically important climate and health safeguards at two EPA public hearings this week.  

Andy Su testified on EDF’s behalf during EPA’s three-day-long public hearing about its proposed multipollutant tailpipe pollution standards for passenger cars and trucks and medium-duty vehicles. EPA’s proposal would slash billions of tons of climate pollution, would significantly reduce other deadly pollution from the U.S. transportation sector, and would help ensure that an estimated two-thirds of all new cars and passenger trucks sold in America in 2032 would be zero-emission. Hundreds of people packed the agency’s public hearing to weigh in on the proposal.

“EPA’s proposal is feasible, cost-effective and a vital step forward,” said Su in his testimony today. “Standards at this level are eminently achievable thanks to manufacturer and fleet investments and commitments, historic federal investments, rapidly declining ZEV costs, and state policies like the Advanced Clean Cars II and Advanced Clean Trucks rules, which have already been adopted by half a dozen other states … We urge the agency to finalize the most protective multipollutant standards possible that are consistent with and build from the proposals.”

Su also noted that historic investments in the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law have been driving momentum for protective national safeguards. Rapidly declining costs for zero-emission vehicles, accelerated by the Inflation Reduction Act’s consumer and commercial vehicle credits, will save families and fleets thousands of dollars in avoided fuel costs. In addition, a new report by EDF and WSP found that more than $120 billion in electric vehicle manufacturing investments have already been announced in the last eight years, along with 143,000 new U.S. jobs in the sector – with more than 40% of those announcements happening since the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act. The analysis also found that already announced U.S. production facilities will be capable of manufacturing 4.3 million new zero-emission vehicles annually by 2026, which is about one-third of all new vehicles sold last year.

EPA has also proposed protective new standards for heavy-duty vehicles like freight trucks, delivery vans and buses. EDF experts also testified at the agency’s multi-day public hearing about that proposal earlier this month.

And yesterday, Richard Yates testified for EDF at a public hearing about EPA’s proposal to modernize the landmark U.S. Mercury and Air Toxics Standards. The proposal would strengthen pollution limits and increase monitoring for toxic air pollution released by coal-fired power plants – some of the most hazardous and persistent air pollutants afflicting Americans.

“In the Clean Air Act, Congress required EPA to set standards reflecting the maximum achievable emissions reductions for hazardous air pollution because Congress understood the importance of protecting the public from this especially dangerous class of pollutants,” said Yates in his testimony. “EDF strongly supports the proposed rule’s advancements, which will protect the health of all Americans, but especially the sensitive populations impacted by EGU hazardous pollution who are disproportionately communities of color, Indigenous communities, and low-income communities.”

Mercury emissions from power plants are linked to deadly heart attacks and hypertension in adults and to neurological effects in children – including lost IQ points and delayed development of memory, language, and motor skills. Other toxic pollutants from power plants include nickel, arsenic, and hexavalent chromium, which cause cancer, lead, and arsenic. The Mercury and Air Toxics Standards have slashed levels of these pollutants since EPA first adopted them in 2012 and did it for less than one-quarter of what EPA originally estimated it would cost, but many coal plants in the U.S. are still emitting high levels of toxic pollution. It has been more than a decade since EPA last updated the standards.

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One of the world’s leading international nonprofit organizations, Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org) creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. To do so, EDF links science, economics, law, and innovative private-sector partnerships. With more than 3 million members and offices in the United States, China, Mexico, Indonesia and the European Union, EDF’s scientists, economists, attorneys and policy experts are working in 28 countries to turn our solutions into action. Connect with us on Twitter @EnvDefenseFund