SACRAMENTO July 9, 2019 – Continuing to step up on climate as the federal administration steps out, California and Governor Gavin Newsom today joined a bipartisan coalition of 24 governors representing more than half the U.S. population in calling for a strong, national clean car standard and preserving state authority to protect their residents from auto pollution.
“Flawed federal policy is forcing motorists to pay more at the pump, get worse gas mileage and breathe dirtier air,” said Governor Newsom. “California will join with allied states to fight this recklessness at every turn.”
The statement, titled “The Nation’s Clean Car Promise,” is the latest broad demonstration of opposition to the Trump administration’s radical rollback of federal vehicle emissions standards that threatens air quality and health for millions of Americans and promises to further set back U.S. efforts to combat climate change.
Even the world’s major automakers are opposed to the rollback, which would freeze emissions standards at the 2020 level through the 2026 model year. In a letter last month, 17 worldwide automakers appealed to the White House to work with California on a single national standard, warning of uncertainty for the auto market and noting that auto industry jobs are at stake.
And last month, the California Air Resources Board signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Canada committing both governments to work together on developing their respective regulations to cut emissions from light-duty vehicles, such as those currently in effect in Canada, California and the 13 U.S. states that have adopted California’s standards.
In “The Nation’s Clean Car Promise,” the governors called for a commonsense approach that protects the role of states at the negotiating table and establishes a strong, national standard.
“We must unite to ensure a strong, science-based national standard, in California and across the country, that increases year-over-year, provides certainty for automakers and consumers, reduces greenhouse gases, and protects public health,” the 24 governors said.
The statement is signed not just by the 13 states that follow California’s clean car standards, but by 10 additional states led by both Republican and Democratic governors. Together, this bipartisan coalition represents 57 percent of the U.S. economy and more than half of U.S. annual auto sales.
The Trump administration’s proposed rollback threatens to pump billions of tons of climate-altering greenhouse gases (GHGs), as well as millions of tons of particulate matter and ozone-causing pollutants into the atmosphere. By the U.S Environmental Protection Agency’s own estimates, health-related costs from the rollback could be as much as $12 billion nationally by 2025.
The California Air Resources Board estimates that increased particulate matter emissions alone will cause thousands of premature deaths. About 10 million Californians already live in areas that fail to meet national ambient air quality standards.
Vehicle emissions are the leading source of GHGs in the nation. In California, vehicle emissions account for nearly 50 percent of GHG emissions and are the leading source of air pollutants.
Today’s action follows a lawsuit filed in April against the Trump administration for withholding data on efforts to weaken vehicle emission regulations that place the health of millions of kids, families and communities at risk.