Trump Administration To Carjack EPA Clean Car Standards, Attempt To Eliminate Ability of New Jersey & Other Clean Car States To Set Stronger Emission Standards

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Environment New Jersey Research & Policy Center

Trenton – This morning, the Trump administration announced new vehicle emission guidelines which roll back the existing Clean Car Standards, betraying the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA)’s stated mission of protecting human health and the environment.

If fully implemented, this regressive move would eliminate our nation’s best climate change mitigation program, which is cutting future carbon emissions more effectively than any other federal policy. Preliminary calculations indicate that weaker standards could increase global warming emissions by 2.2 billion metric tons by 2040. Using the EPA’s own calculator, that’s about the same amount of pollution that all the passenger vehicles in the United States emit over 21 months.

Doug O’Malley, Director of Environment New Jersey, released the following statement:

“This is a direct attack on New Jersey lungs and one of the most successful programs to reduce global warming pollution. The Trump Administration is waging a full-frontal assault on New Jersey’s ability to set stronger car emissions than the rest of the country. We are confident this is a short-sighted maneuver, but we can’t depend solely on the courts. The public wants stronger environmental laws to clean up our air, and this rollback is going to receive tremendous pushback. New Jersey led the way on Clean Cars legislation more than 15 years ago, and we’re not going to let the Trump Administration undermine our ability to set stronger car emissions standards.

This latest move by the Trump administration means that our cars will continue to pump billions of metric tons of carbon pollution into the atmosphere, further destabilizing the climate and sparking increasingly severe impacts of global warming. At our current carbon pollution level, humanity is facing conditions not seen on our planet for more than 400,000 years.

Back in November, the Trump administration released the National Climate Assessment, in which the nation’s top scientists once again confirmed fossil fuels’ contribution to global warming. Given that transportation emissions are now the number one source of global warming pollution, we should be accelerating progress on clean cars, not hitting the brakes.

Adopting this short-sighted and irresponsible proposal would exacerbate the global warming that now turbocharges weather systems ranging from always-dangerous tropical cyclones to once-benign rainstorms. Extreme weather is leaving a trail of tragedy, from the ongoing wildfires across the Western states this summer, to the massive hurricanes that struck Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico last fall, to the proliferation of tick-borne and other illnesses stoked by hot, humid conditions. Polls show that 50 percent of Americans believe that global warming will harm them personally, and 75 percent think it will harm future generations.

We need national leaders to look forward, not backwards. That means recognizing how critical a stable climate is to a strong and healthy America. Thirteen states have stepped forward to lead the transition to cleaner cars by adopting stronger vehicle emission standards as permitted under the Clean Air Act. If we roll back clean car standards, we will negate their efforts and we’ll shirk our responsibility to preserve our quality of life for future generations. We must vigorously push back on this wrong-headed move and instead demand continued steady and swift progress in tackling car emissions.”