BOSTON — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released for public comment their proposal to roll back the federal clean car standards. The clean car standards require automakers to limit the amount of pollution emitted by the vehicles they produce. The administration’s preferred proposal keeps vehicle standards flat beyond 2020, which is a reversal from the original program design that steadily increased the standards through 2026. At the same time, EPA is proposing to revoke the right of states to adopt more stringent vehicle emission standards set by California, which allows them to better protect their citizens by limiting pollution within their borders.

In response, Acadia Center has released the following statement:

“Today’s proposal from the EPA launches a two-pronged attack on Americans. The proposed rollback of federal clean car standards would do nothing but increase pollution and raise costs for consumers. It is compounded by a direct assault on the ability of states to protect the health of their citizens by adopting stricter vehicle emission standards – forcing states to swallow this dangerous rollback,” said Daniel Sosland, president of Acadia Center. “States combatting pollution must have the right to reduce tailpipe emissions within their boundaries, as the Clean Air Act intended. For over 40 years, states have had this explicit authority to protect their citizens’ health by reducing vehicle pollution.”

Under the Clean Air Act, states suffering from air pollution have the authority to put in place stronger limits on tailpipe pollution when federal standards fall short. Thirteen states, including most of the Northeast, and the District of Columbia are already exercising this right. Colorado just announced their intention to adopt more stringent clean car rules too. That means that states representing more than 118 million people and over a third of the automotive market are exercising this right.

“Today’s decision goes against the conclusion from experts that stringent clean car standards are in the best interest of all Americans, protecting them from unnecessarily high fuel costs, respiratory and other health problems caused by pollution, and climate change from greenhouse gas emissions,” said Emily Lewis, policy analyst at Acadia Center. ” Americans across the country are breathing easier because the clean car states’ commitment to delivering cleaner, more efficient cars to consumers.”

The Obama Administration approved the latest clean car standards in 2012, with the support of automakers and California. In January 2017, the EPA concluded that these standards are working, achievable, and should not be rolled back.

“Reducing pollution from the transportation sector was difficult before EPA undermined state efforts. The challenge is even greater now, but leadership states are up to the task,” said Jordan Stutt, Acadia Center’s Carbon Programs Director. “Last week eight Northeast states and Washington, D.C., convened a listening session, as part of an ongoing series of stakeholder meetings, to explore opportunities for regional collaboration to modernize and decarbonize the transportation sector. Given the federal rollbacks, it is more important than ever that these states advance ambitious policies to reduce pollution and enable investment in clean transportation.”

Media Contacts:

Emily Lewis, Policy Analyst, 860-246-7121 x207

Krysia Wazny, Communications Director, 617-742-0054 x107