Congressman Jared Huffman

Representing the 2nd District of California

Bipartisan Lawmakers to EPA: Don’t Stop California & Other States from Strengthening Auto Pollution Safeguards

Oct 16, 2018
Press Release

Washington, D.C.- After the Trump administration announced a rollback of federal fuel economy and greenhouse gas pollution standards, which would target states’ ability to set their own higher standards, Representatives Jared Huffman (D-CA) and Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) led 68 bipartisan members of Congress in a letter urging Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to uphold the Clean Air Act’s model of federal-state cooperation that has allowed California and other states to set strong clean air protections to clean up air quality, improve public health, and reduce carbon pollution.

The letter outlines a strong bipartisan request to leave in place California’s stronger regulations designed to address regional and local needs and to continue to give other states the same opportunity, as authorized by the Clean Air Act, to adopt these stronger protections and protect their citizens from air pollution.

“We are disappointed that the administration has chosen to replace strong federal standards based on sound science, instead proposing to flatline progress at the state and federal level for nearly a decade. This threatens not only our air, but the very foundation of cooperative federalism enshrined in the Clean Air Act. It is more important than ever that states be allowed to continue driving innovation, consumer choice, and environmental and public health improvements through strong state standards. Instead, the administration is directly undermining states’ ability to protect their residents,” wrote the representatives in today’s letter.

“The purpose of this letter is to convey our strong bipartisan request that you do not revoke California’s waiver or in any other way undermine states’ rights to protect their citizens from air pollution,” concluded the lawmakers.

In addition to Rep. Huffman and Curbelo, the letter was signed by Representatives Barragán, Bass, Blumenauer, Bonamici, Brownley, Carbajal, Carson, Cartwright, Chu, Costa, Clark, Clarke, Correa, Courtney, Susan Davis, DeSaulnier, Doggett, Eshoo, Espaillat, Fitzpatrick, Garamendi, Gomez, Grijalva, Hanabusa, Higgins, Jackson Lee, Jayapal, Krishnamoorthi, Khanna, Lipinski, Lofgren, Lowenthal, Lynch, McCollum, McEachin, McGovern, McNerney, Meng, Moore, Napolitano, Panetta, Perlmutter, Scott Peters, Pingree, Pocan, Quigley, Raskin, Reed, Ros-Lehtinen, Roybal-Allard, Ruiz, Rush, Tim Ryan, Schakowsky, Schiff, Shea-Porter, Sires, Soto, Speier, Stefanik, Takano, Bennie Thompson, Mike Thompson, Tonko, Tsongas, Velazquez, Welch, and Wilson.

You can read the full text of the letter below:

 

RE: The Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule for Model Years 2021-2026 Passenger Cars and Light Trucks

Dear Acting Administrator Wheeler and Assistant Administrator Wehrum,

The undersigned members of Congress write to express our concern with your effort to limit cooperative federalism in your August 2, 2018, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. The proposal impermissibly rejects the long-standing cooperative federalism embodied in the Clean Air Act, for states to set strong air pollution standards to protect air quality, improve public health, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It also flies in the face of the administration’s express commitment to “restor[e] power to the states through cooperative federalism.”[1] We ask you to withdraw your recent proposal to revoke California’s waiver under the Clean Air Act, which allows both California as well as other states to incorporate strong air pollution standards that best address their local and regional needs.

As you know, the Clean Air Act allows California to set air pollution standards for new motor vehicles that are stronger than federal standards, provided that the Environmental Protection Agency grants a waiver. EPA has granted such waivers over 50 times since 1967 and has never revoked a waiver. The Act further provides that other states may adopt the stronger California standards as their own. Twelve states and the District of Columbia have all adopted California’s stronger programs, with Colorado initiating the process this year.[2] Taken together, these states represent 118 million Americans, more than 35 percent of the United States population and 1 in 3 cars sold in America.

The Clean Air Act is a shining example of cooperative federalism—a sharing of air quality implementation powers and duties between the federal government and states. Under the Act the Environmental Protection Agency has worked cooperatively with states for more than 40 years with a track record of cutting dangerous pollution that has prevented hundreds of thousands of premature deaths and hundreds of millions of cases of respiratory and cardiovascular disease.[3] [4]

The existing vehicle standards and federal-state cooperation have produced positive results across the country. Thanks to these high standards, many states have significantly reduced pollutants like health-threatening smog and soot, in addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to help combat climate change. Automakers and their suppliers have risen to the challenge of achieving technology-driving standards, pushing the bounds of American innovation and creating hundreds of thousands of jobs all while the economy grew, mobility increased, and more cars and trucks have been sold than ever before.

We are disappointed that the administration has chosen to replace strong federal standards based on sound science, instead proposing to flatline progress at the state and federal level for nearly a decade. This threatens not only our air, but the very foundation of cooperative federalism enshrined in the Clean Air Act. It is more important than ever that states be allowed to continue driving innovation, consumer choice, and environmental and public health improvements through strong state standards. Instead, the administration is directly undermining states’ ability to protect their residents.

Under the law, states have every right to decide for themselves if they want to follow California’s lead or not. We believe that states who adopt these standards to protect their residents should be allowed to keep them. You must uphold the Clean Air Act’s model of federal and state cooperation that has allowed states to adopt strong air pollution standards to protect air quality, improve public health, and reduce carbon pollution.

The purpose of this letter is to convey our strong bipartisan request that you do not revoke California’s waiver or in any other way undermine states’ rights to protect their citizens from air pollution.

We look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

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