(Washington, D.C. – July 28, 2018) The Trump Administration is on the verge of issuing a proposal to slam the brakes on America’s successful program to reduce pollution from cars – and attacking long-standing state authority to maintain clean car programs at the same time – according to news reports.
The New York Times just released a draft of the administration’s proposal to dramatically weaken America’s Clean Car Standards – standards that are in effect today delivering crucial health and economic benefits to all Americans.
“If these news reports are correct, the Trump administration is preparing a proposal to substantially increase pollution while raising families’ costs at the gas pump by hundreds of dollars a year through an attack on our nation’s Clean Car Standards,” said EDF president Fred Krupp. “The administration’s proposal also reportedly contains an attack on states’ rights to protect millions of people against health-damaging air pollution – a move that is flatly illegal. EDF will vigorously defend America’s Clean Car Standards in our courts and in the court of public opinion if this attack on public health, gas cost savings and state leadership is pursued.”
The Clean Car Standards are one of our nation’s biggest environmental success stories. Put in place in 2012 with the support of virtually every automaker, they’ve been providing benefits to all Americans ever since – reducing climate pollution, spurring fuel efficiency gains, and saving families hard-earned money at the gas pump. If news reports are correct, the administration is planning to halt climate pollution reductions and put the brakes on fuel economy improvements from 2020 through 2026. That would result in over two billion tons of additional climate pollution, according to EDF’s analysis.
A new analysis by M.J. Bradley found that if the Clean Car Standards are rolled back American families in each state across the country will spend an average of $200 more each year on gas, and could spend as much as $500 more each year if gas prices continue to rise.
More than two thirds of American voters support the Clean Car Standards, according to a recent American Lung Association poll. Major industry stakeholders, including automakers themselves, have urged the Trump administration not to weaken the protections. Automakers including Ford and Honda have said they do not want a rollback of the existing Clean Car Standards.
The Clean Car Standards are already in full force and effect. They are supported by an extensive record, including an exhaustive multi-year technical analysis that was conducted by multiple state and federal agencies. That analysis concluded that the standards are achievable and that even more technologies are available to meet the standards, at lower cost, than expected when they were finalized in 2012. The newly-published draft proposal reflects a dramatic and dangerous departure from these factual findings.
The draft reportedly also contains an attack on states’ long-standing authority to carry out more protective clean car programs than those implemented by the U.S. government. That authority has been in place for half a century under provisions in the Clean Air Act, has been affirmed in major court cases, and has played a key role in spurring the development and deployment of clean car solutions like smog-fighting catalytic converters. More than a third of U.S. new car sales are covered by the coalition of states that have committed to protective clean car standards: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington, and Vermont.
Documents obtained by EDF through the Freedom of Information Act show that attacking the clean car standards and state leadership on clean cars has been the aim of the administration since President Trump took office.
EDF and its allies are already in court challenging former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s decision to weaken these protections. The groups filed a petition with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit after EPA announced it had made a decision to weaken the standards but failed to provide any meaningful technical analysis.
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Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org), a leading international nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships. Connect with us on EDF Voices, Twitter and Facebook.