Groups Ask Court for Permission to Help Defend Colorado Clean Car Standards

March 11, 2019
Sharyn Stein, EDF, 202-572-3396,

(Denver, CO – March 11, 2019) Environmental Defense Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Sierra Club hope to go to court to support the state of Colorado in its decision to adopt protective state clean car standards.

The groups filed a motion in Denver District Court today asking to intervene in defense of those standards.

“Colorado’s state clean car standards will mean healthier air, a safer climate, and more money in Coloradans’ pockets,” said EDF lead attorney Peter Zalzal. “Colorado has manifest authority to take these common sense steps, and we plan to vigorously defend Colorado’s decision in Court.”

“As Trump threatens to roll back the national vehicle emissions standards, we stand behind Colorado’s efforts to protect local communities from transportation pollution,” said Joe Halso, associate attorney for the Sierra Club. “The freedom of states to adopt clean car standards must be protected in order to build healthier communities, limit harmful emissions, and fight climate change.”

“Colorado has some of the most polluted air in the nation, but the automobile dealers want to take away key measures the state put in place to curb air pollution and address climate change,” said Noah Long, a senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “This is outrageous. We’re intervening to protect the health of state residents.”

In November, the state’s Air Quality Control Commission unanimously voted to adopt Colorado clean car standards that will reduce pollution from passenger cars and trucks and will save families money at the gas pump. Colorado joined a coalition of 13 other states that are already implementing clean car standards, at a time when the Trump administration is trying to roll back our popular and successful national clean cars program.

The Colorado state standards are known as Regulation Number 20, or the Colorado Low Emission Automobile Regulation. The standards are widely supported by Colorado businesses and local governments. They will reduce climate pollution by more than two million metric tons annually in 2030, and by more than twice that by 2040. They will significantly decrease other types of air pollution that cause serious heart and lung diseases. They will also reduce fuel consumption in new cars, which will save Coloradans money – under the state standards, the average Colorado family will see a net savings of almost $2,400 over the six years they own a new car.

The Colorado Automobile Dealers Association filed a lawsuit challenging the state clean car standards in January. EDF, NRDC and Sierra Club filed a motion today to intervene in that suit to defend the standards.

“The legal challenge filed by the car dealers is without merit, rehashing the same arguments already unanimously rejected by the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission. The air commission acted in a thoughtful and deliberate way in adopting these rules,” said Tom Bloomfield at Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell, which is representing the groups in this case.

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