California Agencies Testify Against Administration's SAFE Vehicles Rule

"There is nothing safe about this proposal. It turns its back on decades of progress in cleaning up cars and trucks, ignores available and cost-effective clean vehicle technology, wastes gasoline, and pumps more climate-changing gases into the atmosphere," said Mary D. Nichols, chair of the California Air Resources Board.

Leaders of four California state agencies, including the California Air Resources Board, strongly criticized the Trump administration's proposed rule rolling back existing cleaner cars standards on Sept. 24 while testifying at a hearing in Fresno, Calif. They said the proposal would eviscerate current greenhouse gas emission standards for model year 2021-2026 vehicles, putting in place weakened emission and fuel efficiency standards at the expense of public health and the environment.

"This proposal to retreat from current national standards is unsupported by science or technology and, if adopted, would ultimately hurt consumers, inject significant uncertainty into the automobile industry, jeopardize public health, and undermine our efforts to protect our air and climate. Further, the challenge to California's authority to develop vehicle emissions standards is illegal and disregards a successful, decades long federal-state partnership that states use to protect their people," said Matthew Rodriquez, California's secretary for environmental protection.

"I am here today to ask U.S. EPA and NHTSA to withdraw their incongruously named 'SAFE' rule," said Mary D. Nichols, chair of the California Air Resources Board. "There is nothing safe about this proposal. It turns its back on decades of progress in cleaning up cars and trucks, ignores available and cost-effective clean vehicle technology, wastes gasoline, and pumps more climate-changing gases into the atmosphere." Leading a coalition of 17 states and the District of Columbia, Gov. Jerry Brown, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, and CARB sued EPA on May 1 after the Trump administration on April 13, 2018, took the first step toward dismantling the national program when it issued a revised final determination that the federal greenhouse gas standards for model year 2022-2025 vehicles were no longer appropriate. The public hearing in Fresno is one of three EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are holding around the country after releasing their notice of proposed rulemaking to roll back the vehicle greenhouse gas emissions and corporate average fuel economy standards for model years 2021-2026 passenger cars and light trucks.

Drew Bohan, executive director of the California Energy Commission, said the state is making tremendous progress on cleaner cars. "California already has 450,000 zero-emission vehicles on our roads, and virtually all of those have been added in just the last decade," he said. "This transition to ZEVs is accelerating, with sales in July and August of this year beating all previous records – a trend we anticipate will continue as consumers continue to see how inexpensive and exciting these cars are to operate."

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