Release date: 10/26/2018
(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein today demanded that the Trump administration’s U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) withdraw their proposal to eliminate the national clean car standards. The current clean car standards require significant and feasible reductions in fuel usage and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from passenger cars and light trucks. The Trump administration’s proposal would throw out these standards, which are supported by scientific research and have been repeatedly proven achievable, in favor of a plan that requires no improvements in vehicle fuel economy or GHG emissions for a period of at least six years.
“North Carolinians have faced the effects of climate change in the past two years in the form of two recent devastating hurricanes and two 500-year floods,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “We need to do more, not less, to protect people’s health, our environment, and our economy. I urge the Trump Administration, the EPA, and the NHTSA to keep our current clean car standards in place.”
The current standards save consumers money, reduce emissions, help reduce the effects of climate change, and protect health. They are expected to prevent up to 2,000 premature deaths, 50,000 cases of respiratory ailments, and reduce asthma symptoms for 24 million Americans, including 6.3 million children. The rule would also save the average consumer $1,620 over the lifetime of a car or truck. The Trump administration’s proposal undermines each of these benefits. It would degrade air quality, put millions of additional tons of climate-disrupting pollution into the atmosphere, worsen respiratory diseases, and cost consumers billions of dollars in additional gasoline to operate less efficient vehicles. The EPA and NHTSA’s plan also blatantly disregards pleas from the scientific community, businesses, and world leaders to regulate GHG emissions.
Experts have warned that rolling back protections such as the clean car standards would aggressively accelerate global warming with wide-ranging consequences including temperature increases, ocean warming, sea level rise, increased hospitalizations and mortality, stress and die-off of animal and plant species, extreme weather events, famine, drought, and forced human migration. The effects of increased greenhouse gas emissions and warming temperatures have already been particularly devastating for North Carolinians.In the letter, the coalition calls on the EPA and NHTSA to immediately withdraw the proposal and identifies important reasons why the proposal is unlawful:
- The proposed standards would require little or no progress on GHG emission standards or fuel economy for a period of six years, replacing technically feasible standards requiring significant reductions in emissions and fuel consumption;
- The proposed rollback veers abruptly onto the road of catastrophic climate change and ignores overwhelming scientific consensus that immediate and continual progress is necessary to avoid irreversible climate change;
- The agencies’ rollback process violates numerous important procedural requirements and is based on an illegitimate mid-term evaluation based on unsound evidence and data;
- EPA’s proposal violates the Clean Air Act by increasing GHG emissions the agency is tasked to reduce;
- The proposed rollback is contrary to the Energy Policy Conservation Act and violates NHTSA’s duty to promote energy efficiency and conservation; and
- The agencies’ proposed rollback relies on flawed technical analysis.
Attorney General Stein is joined in filing today’s comments by the Attorneys General of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Washington, D.C., and the Mayors of Oakland, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, and New York.
A copy of the comments can be found here.
Laura Brewer (919) 716-6484