(WASHINGTON, D.C.)—The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) applauds EPA’s proposal taking the first step toward restoring states’ authority to adopt tougher clean vehicle standards than the federal government requires in their fight against transportation emissions and climate change.
The Clean Air Act allows California to set more stringent standards for cars and trucks than EPA and permits other states to adopt those standards. The Trump administration attempted to illegally revoke this authority in September 2019.
Five of the six Bay watershed states (Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Delaware, and New York) and the District of Columbia follow, or plan to follow, aspects of California’s Clean Cars program, including standards for emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) and zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) sales. GHG limits and ZEV requirements are important tools for tackling the climate change impacts, such as warming waters, sea level rise, and more frequent, intense storms, that are already threatening the watershed.
The stricter standards help move toward a cleaner fleet of vehicles in the watershed, which will reduce nitrogen emissions harming the Bay and the local rivers and streams that feed into it. Roughly one-third of the nitrogen pollution in the watershed comes from the air, much of it in the form of nitrogen oxides released from vehicle exhaust and power plants. Auto emissions from vehicles in the watershed are especially damaging to local waterways because they do not travel very far.
Chesapeake Bay Foundation Interim Federal Executive Director Denise Stranko made the following statement about the proposal:
“CBF applauds the Biden administration for taking this promising step. Today’s action will move toward restoring watershed states’ right to adopt the most protective vehicle pollution standards possible to protect this national treasure from climate change and restore it to good health.
“We are pleased EPA is working to ensure that Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Delaware, New York, and the District of Columbia don’t lose this vital tool for stemming the climate change impacts they already experience and achieving Bay cleanup goals.
“CBF is ready to help the administration craft the most effective final rule possible to safeguard states’ ability to aggressively fight dirty air and GHG emissions from cars and trucks. We also encourage President Biden to raise the bar nationally by proposing stronger federal standards that put us back on track to reaching our climate goals and saving the Bay.”