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Tonko critical of weak Trump Administration vehicle pollution standards

Top Democrat on key subcommittee notes high standards generate consumer savings, safer emissions

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Washington, August 2, 2018 | comments

WASHINGTONCongressman Paul D. Tonko, the top Democrat on the Energy & Commerce Environment Subcommittee, issued a strong rebuke of the announcement this morning that the Trump Administration will roll back previously agreed-upon vehicle emissions standards for Model Year 2021-2026 light-duty vehicles. The new proposal would freeze standards at the 2020 levels through 2026 and seek to revoke California’s waiver, which allows California to avoid federal preemption and set its own vehicle standards. Under Section 177 of the Clean Air Act, other states are able to adopt California’s standards, which has been done by a dozen states including New York.

“When Americans go to the pump to fill up their vehicles with gasoline, they should expect to get the biggest bang for their buck. Today’s announcement is a step in the wrong direction. The EPA once again is showing that they are captured by industry, not science or public health. Even more troubling is the attempt to force states to follow their weak leadership. Our children deserve to breathe clean air. I know our automotive industry can achieve lower emissions while also producing next generation vehicles and technology and turn a profit all at the same time. Their track record over the past few decades proves exactly that.”

According to recent analysis by Energy Innovation, “freezing these standards would damage the U.S. economy, costing a total of $450 billion through 2050. It would also cause the deaths of over 13,000 Americans due to increased particulate pollution through 2050.” This rollback is expected to increase U.S. transportation sector greenhouse gas emissions 11% and gasoline consumption 20% by 2035.


  • POLL: Nearly 7 in 10 voters want to leave the existing standards in place, 65 percent of voters are broadly favorable toward the Clean Air Act, and 61 percent toward EPA's efforts to enforce stricter limits on air pollution.
  • Light-duty vehicles accounted for 59.9% of U.S. transportation emissions and approximately 16.5% of total U.S. emissions in 2015.
  • Model Year 2022-2025 standards were projected to save consumers nearly $92 billion in fuel costs, reduce emissions by more than 230 million metric tons by 2050 and nearly 540 million metric tons over the lifetime of these vehicles.


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