Vermont Business Magazine Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan has joined a coalition of states to oppose President Trump’s directive for federal agencies to reconsider vehicle emission standards. The coalition includes the Attorneys General from Vermont, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington State, the District of Columbia, as well as the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. The coalition issued the following statement:
“President Trump’s action represents a dramatic wrong turn in our nation’s efforts to fight air pollution from passenger cars and trucks, and protect the health of our children, seniors, and all communities.
Weakening these commonsense standards would undermine successful efforts to combat the pollution emitted by vehicles - emissions that cause widespread, substantial harm to public health and are one of the largest sources of climate change pollution. An extensive technical study by the Environmental Protection Agency already found that the standards are fully and economically achievable by the auto industry. Relaxing them would increase the air pollution that is responsible for premature death, asthma, and more – particularly in our most vulnerable communities.
We will vigorously oppose attempts by the Trump Administration to weaken our vehicle emission policies and put our public health at risk, and we won’t hesitate to stand up for the right of our states to adopt stricter pollution standards that provide critical protections to the health of our residents and our environmental resources.”
Internal combustion engines from motor vehicles emit a variety of air pollutants harmful to human health and the environment. The Clean Air Act requires EPA to establish national emission standards for new motor vehicles. Section 209 of the Act authorizes the State of California to adopt emission standards more stringent than the federal standards, and Section 177 of the Act authorizes other states to adopt those same standards for new motor vehicles sold within their states.
In 2012, EPA adopted emission standards limiting greenhouse gas emissions from new passenger cars and light-duty trucks for model years 2017-25. California has adopted parallel vehicle emission standards limiting greenhouse gas emissions for those same model years, which Vermont and several other states have adopted as state law. The combined emission standards are expected to result in substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, dependency on foreign oil, and consumer fuel costs. The standards are expected to cut greenhouse gas emissions by two billion metric tons—the equivalent of the annual emissions of 422 million cars currently on the road—and save $1.7 trillion in fuel costs.
In January 2017, EPA determined, in its “mid-term review,” that the federal standards applicable to cars and light duty trucks for model years 2022-25 are readily achievable by the auto industry. The agency concluded that while the record supported making the standards even more stringent, it decided “to retain the current standards to provide regulatory certainty for the auto industry.”
Vermont and the other coalition states have a longstanding history of working with California to adopt and enforce vehicle emission standards to combat air pollution. For example, in 2007 the Vermont Attorney General, with the assistance of other states, successfully defended the first vehicle emission standards for greenhouse gases issued by California. This case was tried in Federal District Court in Vermont. Subsequently, Vermont and other states joined California in successfully defending EPA’s 2009 decision to grant California a waiver to adopt its greenhouse gas emission regulations. Several of the coalition states, including Vermont, also brought the landmark Massachusetts v. EPA case in which the Supreme Court held that EPA has the authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles that endanger public health and welfare.
Source: Vermont AG March 16, 2017