The Ecology Center was one of twenty-five Great Lakes and Midwest environmental and conservation organizations to co-sign a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) commenting on the agency’s proposed greenhouse gas emissions standards for model year 2023-2026 cars and light trucks. The proposal is part of the Biden administration’s reversal of several important clean air and water rulemakings that were weakened or scrapped by the previous administration.
The letter urges the EPA to go beyond their proposed emission standards, adopt the more stringent Alternative 2, and remove “flexibilities” that would allow auto manufacturers to reduce their level of compliance to the standards. The groups noted the EPA’s duty to issue Clean Air Act regulations that protect public health and made appeals to the importance of aggressively combating climate change.
The Ecology Center and the twenty-four other organizations -- including the Environmental Law & Policy Center, Respiratory Health Association, and RENEW Wisconsin, three fellow ChargeUp Midwest partners -- focused on the threat that rising temperatures pose to agriculture, fresh water supply, and fishing, among other Midwest and Great Lakes industries and resources that sustain our health and the economy. Stricter standards would also promote clean car innovation, which would bolster the Midwestern auto industry and bring more green jobs to Michigan.
“The Biden EPA’s proposed rules for cars and light trucks is a welcome reversal of the previous administration’s ridiculous and technically challenged attempt to undermine the public’s health, but they could still be stronger,” stated Charles Griffith, the Ecology Center’s Climate and Energy Program Director. “Thankfully, they did offer a more stringent Alternative 2 that should be adopted instead, along with the elimination of certain flexibilities that would further weaken the overall emission reductions that would be provided by the rule.”
The Ecology Center has had a long history of advocacy on federal fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards for vehicles, having campaigned in Michigan and across the Midwest for changes in the Clean Air Act that would finally strengthen the standards after a 30-year hiatus. The Energy Policy Act of 2007 then set the stage for the Obama administration to develop new vehicle greenhouse gas standards, in cooperation with the State of California, which were one of its most important and successful climate policies. Unfortunately, progress was then stalled as part Trump administration’s “regulatory reform” agenda.