Wednesday, July 25, 2018

DEP, AG, Health & Environmental Groups Oppose EPA Plan To Weaken Car Emission Standards

Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Patrick McDonnell, Attorney General Josh Shapiro and leaders from the health and environmental communities Wednesday expressed their opposition to the Trump administration’s plan to weaken federal vehicle efficiency standards.
Secretary McDonnell was joined by representatives of Physicians for Social Responsibility and Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania to condemn the proposed weakened rules.
“If EPA follows through with these planned changes, it will hurt Pennsylvanians’ lungs and their wallets,” said Secretary McDonnell. “Pennsylvania has made great strides in improving our air quality, and these rules would undercut that progress, as well as hamstring economic growth in new technologies.”
Transportation contributes nearly a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions in Pennsylvania, and 37 percent of emissions of nitrogen oxides.
Pollution from car exhaust can trigger asthma attacks, especially in children, and lead to an increase in ground-level ozone, which can cause dangerous conditions for children, elderly residents, and people with breathing disabilities.
Asthma-related illness costs the Pennsylvania economy $2.6 billion every year, according to a Department of Health estimate.
“The Wolf administration is not going stand idly by while President Trump and the EPA try to make our air quality worse. DEP and Attorney General Josh Shapiro have both signed on to a lawsuit challenging these rules, and will keep fighting for cleaner air,” said McDonnell.
"Pennsylvanians have a constitutional right to clean air and pure water,” said Attorney General Josh Shapiro. “Right now, over 6 million Pennsylvanians are breathing harmful air. I strongly oppose the Trump administration’s plans to roll back clean car standards, which are critical to protecting Pennsylvanians’ health.”
Pennsylvania does not have the authority to set fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks, but can and does incorporate the emissions regulations of California, which does have that authority. The Trump administration has recently announced it would formally challenge California’s ability to set its own emissions regulations.
"Clean cars are a triple win for Pennsylvanians because they're good for our health, save us money in our pocketbooks, and protect our environment," noted PennEnvironment Executive Director David Masur. "We need to be putting the pedal to the metal and promote more clean cars and fuel efficiency, not putting the brakes on a successful and time-tested policy."
While DEP cannot set fuel-efficiency standards, there are several programs aimed at reducing emissions from transportation.
The Alternative Fuel Incentive Grants (AFIG) [grant application deadline December 14] and Alternative Fuel Vehicle Rebate program encourage businesses, local government, and consumers to choose vehicles that reduce emissions.
The new Driving PA Forward initiative includes a grant and rebate program for electric vehicle charging infrastructure as well.
(Photo: Secretary McDonnell.)
AP: PA Officials Attack EPA Plan To Relax Vehicle Mileage Rules
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