Bad for Coloradans Health, Climate, and our Wallets
DENVER, CO — The Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration today finalized the rule to rewrite the federal clean car standards. The clean car standards were first established in 2010 and are projected to double fuel economy and to cut global warming pollution in half for cars sold in 2025. The weaker standards could result in more than 1.5 billion additional metric tons of global warming pollution in our atmosphere by 2040, contributing to Colorado’s existing problems with dirty air.
This is the second phase of the Trump administration’s clean cars rollback. The rollbacks began when the Trump administration attacked the authority under the Clean Air Act of states, including Colorado to adopt stronger tailpipe pollution limits than those set by the federal government—a move that would take away states’ rights to protect their own residents from harmful pollution.
Air pollution has been linked to higher rates of lung disease like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Multiple studies have found that high levels of air pollution have also been linked to larger numbers of people hospitalized with pneumonia. Additionally, rolling back clean car standards could cost Colorado $4.9 billion in net consumer losses. Without these standards, fuel costs for an average new vehicle increase by $3,200 and the cost of ownership for the average new vehicle increases by $2,100.
Following are statements in opposition to today’s rollback from Colorado clean car advocates including CoPIRG, Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, Environmental Defence Fund, Colorado Sierra Club, Environment Colorado, NRDC, E2-Environmental Entrepreneurs, Protect Our Winters, and Conservation Colorado:
Danny Katz, CoPIRG Director: “Clean car standards are a proven way to reduce air pollution while saving people at the pump. The advancements we’ve seen in fuel-efficient cars show these standards do not need to be changed. The Trump administration should drop their proposal to throw clean air efforts into reverse and should focus instead on protecting our health now and into the future.”
Emily Gedeon, Colorado Sierra Club: “Shame on the Trump Administration for exploiting the cover of a pandemic to roll back the clean car standards, which are crucial public health safeguards. As families face a growing health and economic crisis, Donald Trump and Andrew Wheeler’s action endangers communities, exacerbates the climate emergency, and takes money out of people’s wallets. The Sierra Club commends Governor Polis and Attorney General Weiser for their work pushing back against this dangerous rollback.”
Hannah Collazo, Environment Colorado: “The administration’s action on this issue is an abandonment of science, reason and responsibility. When the coronavirus crisis subsides, the climate crisis will still be with us and will continue to accelerate every day that we postpone proactive measures. The administration should focus its energy on protecting the health and well-being of Americans.”
Alice Henderson, Environmental Defense Fund: “The gutting of our nation’s most significant protections against climate and air pollution is unconscionable at any time, but especially now, in the midst of a health crisis. This rollback will increase air pollution, resulting in asthma attacks, other respiratory ailments, and premature deaths – all while costing us more at the gas pump. Coloradans, and Americans, deserve better.”
Travis Madsen, Southwest Energy Efficiency Project: “Now is not the time to retreat on fuel efficiency. Automakers can and should make vehicles that go further on a gallon of gas, or use no gas whatsoever. This rule would unnecessarily waste energy and money. We thank Governor Polis and Attorney General Weiser for standing up for Colorado’s authority to choose a better path.”
Sam Gilchrist, Natural Resources Defense Council: “Clean car standards protect the air we breathe, reduce costs for drivers, and help us tackle the climate crisis. According to the EPA’s own data, these standards have prevented 455 million metric tons of climate-polluting emissions—equivalent to the annual emissions of 100 million vehicles—since President Obama put them in place in 2012. The Trump administration’s illegal and dangerous rollback is an attack on our health and climate, but the fight isn’t over yet. We’ll see the Trump administration in court.”
Susan Nedell, E2 – Environmental Entrepreneurs: “This rollback represents a self-inflicted wound to our economy right in the heart of an economic crisis. Across America, 740,000 jobs, including thousands in Colorado, depend on workers making cleaner and more fuel-efficient vehicles, saving families and businesses money at the gas pump. The COVID-19 crisis is already straining this sector and this decision will only double down on the economic damage. It made no sense before coronavirus upended our daily lives. It makes even less sense now.”
Lindsay Bourgoine, Protect Our Winters: “At Protect Our Winters, we work to protect the places and lifestyles passionate outdoor people love from the impacts of climate change. The outdoor community of Colorado inherently understands the need for systemic policy change to address our warming winters, and that includes drastically reducing emissions from the transportation sector. The Administration’s continued rollbacks of critical policies to slash climate-driving emissions is an attack on our state’s $28 billion dollar outdoor recreation economy.”
Curtis Edwards, Conservation Colorado: “At a time when public health is foremost in Coloradans’ minds, the Trump administration’s push for dirtier, less efficient vehicles is more offensive than ever. This rollback will pump more pollution into our air and threaten the health of our most vulnerable communities – especially children, the elderly, communities of color, low-income communities, and those already suffering from pollution and climate change. With transportation emissions growing to become the top source of carbon pollution in Colorado, we call on our elected leaders to stand up for cleaner air, climate action, and an end to the Trump administration’s harmful and irresponsible rollbacks.”