Colorado Attorney General Fights EPA Rollback on Emissions Standards

Weiser says he will challenge the federal government to protect ‘our land, air and water’

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation unveiled its new rule that creates a single national fuel economy standard for cars and trucks. And the rule is already receiving pushback from states and individuals across the nation, including from Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser.

Under the rule, fuel economy and emission standards will increase by 1.5% annually, as opposed to the 5% increases from the 2012 rule under the Obama administration. Also, all new vehicles will be subject to the pollution standards of the Clean Air Act, and those vehicles will be subject to higher pollution standards than older vehicles retired because of the rule. In terms of fuel economy, the projected overall industry average required in 2026 will be 40.4 mpg. Under the 2012 standards, the projected requirement was 46.7 mpg, according to the EPA.

“The EPA’s misguided rollback is at odds with the agency’s own science and data, which show that the weaker fuel economy standards will increase air pollution, cost consumers more at the pump, and fail to make the nation’s roads safer,” Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said in a press release. According to the press release, this rule will reverse years of progress which states have made to improve air quality and public health.

The overall impact of the rule, according to the EPA is “lower costs, thousands of lives saved, and minimal impact to fuel consumption and the environment.” In addition, the impacts include a $200 billion reduction in total costs of vehicle lifetimes through 2029, $100 billion in regulatory costs, $1,400 reduction of total consumer cost of ownership per new vehicle, more than $1,000 reductions in sales price and 2.7 new vehicles sold.

“We are delivering on President Trump’s promise to correct the current fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards,” EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said. “Our final rule puts in place a sensible one national program that strikes the right regulatory balance that protects our environment, and sets reasonable targets for the auto industry. This rule supports our economy, and the safety of American families.”

This sentiment is echoed by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao. “Today, President Trump is keeping his promise to autoworkers made three years ago that he would reinvigorate American auto manufacturing by updating costly, increasingly unachievable fuel economy and vehicle CO2 emissions standards, and that is what the Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient Vehicles Rule accomplishes.”

Weiser said the rollback will harm public health and air quality. Further, the rollback is “at odds” with automakers who support annual increase in fuel economy standards to meet the demand nationally for low-emission, affordable and zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) which combating air pollution and climate change.

Weiser called the rollback an attack on the Clean Air Act, as well as the authority of states, such as Colorado, to place stronger “tailpipe” pollution limits than those set by the federal government. This further threatens thwarting Colorado’s ZEV program, which was put in place to reduce ozone pollution, decrease fuel costs, improve air quality and increase customer choices when buying an electric vehicle.

“Protecting our land, air, and water is one of my top priorities, and the state will challenge the federal government’s rollback of our clean car standards,” Weiser said. “I will continue to fight for clean air and public health in Colorado.”

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