National Clean Car Standards Must Stand

April 6, 2018
S. DoucetteAutomobile pollution

Yet another move to rollback clean air protections by the Trump Administration came Monday April 2nd, 2018, when Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt announced his verdict that our nation’s current clean car standards are “inappropriate,” and that he will seek to revise the previous determination by EPA that they are justified and achievable.  The Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) has long fought for cleaner tailpipes (and smokestacks) to improve air quality for outdoor recreation and to address climate change. We will oppose the EPA’s efforts to weaken this important rule.

Rather than accept the facts and the latest science, Administrator Pruitt is rolling back important clean air protections for all the wrong reasons.  The current clean car standards were set by EPA experts with the support of automakers.  By abandoning these standards, our future will have less efficient vehicles that will pump more greenhouse gases into the air and will cost more at the pump to fill up.

According to Georgia Murray, AMC Staff Scientist, automobiles are the largest emitter of carbon pollution in America, and cleaning up auto exhaust pollution is vital to addressing climate change. These Clean Air Act standards are linked to our wallets, and weakening them means paying for more gasoline to fuel our cars.  Air pollution from cars is also a significant contributor to ozone pollution that can impact the lungs of even healthy outdoor recreationists.

The clean car standards were set in 2012, under the Obama Administration, and were supported by automakers and the AMC. In January 2017, the EPA finalized a review demonstrating that these standards are workable, achievable, and should advance as planned for the model years 2022-2025 for light-duty vehicles.

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Georgia Murray

Conservation and Nature Notes blogger Georgia Murray has been AMC's Air Quality Staff Scientist since 2000. She has an M.S. degree in Earth Sciences from the University of New Hampshire and currently oversees the AMC's air quality and climate monitoring programs.