By Christina Tarr
Deadline – October 2, 2018
Back in 2012, the Obama administration (remember them? Sniff…) set an ambitious target for emissions standards: Cars and trucks would achieve a standard of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.
There are so many obvious reasons this is a good idea that it seems pointless to even mention them, but here are a few anyway:
- More efficient standards mean cleaner air. Improved air quality is better for public health. (We warned you these were obvious, but stick with us …)
- More efficient standards mean we use fewer fossil fuels, which keeps us more energy independent and less dependent on fuels from unstable areas of the globe,
- and reduces our need to despoil pristine areas of wilderness like Alaska,
- and gives car manufacturers an incentive to develop new, greener technologies,
- and takes us one step closer controlling the climate change that is creating a warmer, drier, more flammable California right before our eyes.
Unfortunately, the current administration hates the environment. On August 2, 2018, the Trump Administration released its long-threatened proposal to weaken antipollution and fuel efficiency standards, revoking the 54.5 MPG goal and freezing standards at about 37 MPG after 2021. But wait, it gets worse: the 1970 Clean Air Act grants a waiver to California allowing us to set our pollution standards at a tougher level than the federal government; 13 other states now follow our lead. Currently, 40% of all car sales in the United States take place in California and the thirteen other states operating under waiver — and California’s tougher standard is now the de facto national standard. Big Oil’s Friend in the White House wants to revoke this waiver, meaning that the new, lower federal standard will be the law of the entire land. This is a direct hit at California.
Here’s a great video from Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) explaining the whole story.
What you can do:
Submit a comment at Regulations.gov:
The Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation are taking comments on this ill-advised rollback until end of day (Eastern time) October 2, 2018; and you can write to them here. Include these points in your comment:
- Climate change is real. We need to reduce our use of fossil fuels.
- The automobile industry needs a goal to work toward. It’s in no one’s interest to move the goalposts.
- Clean air is important for public health.
Take action in California:
Governor Jerry Brown said, “California will fight this stupidity in every conceivable way possible.” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, 16 other states and the District of Columbia already sued the EPA in May in anticipation of this recent action, and now Attorney General Becerra is planning to lead 19 attorneys general in a new lawsuit against the actual proposal.
Write to Brown and Becerra and thank them for taking action to preserve our state and our nation’s clean car emissions standards:
Governor Edmund G. Brown
c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 445-2841
Fax: (916) 558-3160
Or by email
Attorney General Xavier Becerra
California Department of Justice
Attn: Public Inquiry Unit
P.O. Box 944255
Sacramento, CA 94244-2550
Phone: (800) 952-5225
Fax: (916) 323-5341
Or by email
Let your Members of Congress know your thoughts about the need for strong emission standards for automobiles, and the need for California to set its own standards. Include the same points as above:
- Sen. Dianne Feinstein: (email); (415) 393-0707 • DC: (202) 224-3841
- Sen. Kamala Harris: (email); (415) 355-9041 • DC: (202) 224-3553
- Rep. Mark DeSaulnier: (email); (510) 620-1000 • DC: (202) 225-2095
- Rep. Barbara Lee: (email); (510) 763-0370 • DC: (202) 225-2661
- Rep. Eric Swalwell: (email); (510) 370-3322 • DC: (202) 225-5065
Christina Tarr is a local librarian with an interest in birds and wild places.