Selected category: Cars and Pollution

EPA Has the Responsibility and the Tools to Address Climate Pollution Under the Clean Air Act

(EDF Attorney Ben Levitan co-authored this post)

It’s barely a week since Scott Pruitt was confirmed as EPA Administrator, and he has already provided yet another indication of why he has no business leading the agency.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Pruitt says he wants to undertake a “careful review” as to whether EPA has the “tools” to address climate change under the Clean Air Act. Pruitt further states that EPA should withdraw the Clean Power Plan – a vital climate and public health measure to reduce carbon pollution from the nation’s power plants – and instead wait for Congress to act on the issue of climate change.

Those statements are contrary to the law and disconnected from reality. As Pruitt surely knows, the federal courts – including three separate decisions of the Supreme Court – have made it abundantly clear that the Clean Air Act requires EPA to protect the public from dangerous pollutants that are disrupting our climate. The courts have repeatedly rejected Pruitt’s theory that climate pollution is an issue that only Congress can address through new legislation.

Over the last eight years, EPA has demonstrated that the Clean Air Act is an effective tool for addressing the threat of climate change — by putting in place common sense, highly cost-effective measures to reduce climate pollution from cars and trucks, power plants, oil and gas facilities, and other sources. These actions under the Clean Air Act are saving lives, strengthening the American economy, and yielding healthier air and a safer climate for our children.

Pruitt’s casual willingness to abandon that progress based on a discredited legal theory demonstrates deep contempt for the laws he is charged with administering and the mission of the agency he now leads.

EPA Is Legally Obligated to Address Climate Pollution

The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that EPA clearly has the authority and responsibility to address climate pollution under the Clean Air Act:

  • In Massachusetts v. EPA (549 U.S. 497, 2007), the Supreme Court held that climate pollutants plainly fall within the broad definition of “air pollutants” covered by the Clean Air Act. The Court ordered EPA to make a science-based determination as to whether those pollutants endanger public health and welfare (a determination that EPA ultimately made in 2009, and that has been upheld by the federal courts).
  • In American Electric Power v. Connecticut (564 U.S. 410, 2011), the Supreme Court held that the Clean Air Act “speaks directly” to the problem of climate pollution from power plants.
  • In Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA (134 S. Ct. 2427, 2014), the Supreme Court held that the Clean Air Act obligated EPA to address climate pollution from new and modified industrial facilities.

In Massachusetts v. EPA, the Bush Administration’s EPA made — and the Supreme Court rejected —Pruitt’s same argument that EPA lacks the authority and tools to address climate pollution.

The Supreme Court said in no uncertain terms that:

The statutory text forecloses EPA’s reading … Because greenhouse gases fit well within the Clean Air Act’s capacious definition of ‘air pollutant,’ we hold that EPA has the statutory authority to regulate the emission of such gases from new motor vehicles. (emphasis added)

The Supreme Court went on to explain that – contrary to what Pruitt is now saying – Congress intended to provide EPA with the tools it needed to address new air pollution challenges, including climate change:

While the Congresses that drafted [the Clean Air Act] might not have appreciated the possibility that burning fossil fuels could lead to global warming, they did understand that without regulatory flexibility, changing circumstances and scientific developments would soon render the Clean Air Act obsolete. The broad language [of the Act] reflects an intentional effort to confer the flexibility necessary to forestall such obsolescence. (emphasis added)

The Court also found that nothing about climate pollution distinguishes it from other forms of air pollution long regulated under the Clean Air Act. It rejected the Bush Administration’s attempt to argue that climate pollution is somehow “different,” saying that theory was a “plainly unreasonable” reading of the Clean Air Act and “finds no support in the text of the statute.”

That was the law under the Bush Administration – and it remains the law today. It is a binding, rock-solid precedent regardless of who is running EPA at any given time.

Pruitt ought to know all this, because he was one of the Attorneys General who joined polluters and their allies in challenging EPA’s determination that climate pollution endangers public health and welfare.

That 2009 determination was in response to Massachusetts v. EPA, and it was based on an immense body of authoritative scientific literature as well as consideration of more than 380,000 public comments. Yet in their legal challenge to the determination, Pruitt and his allies again argued that EPA should have declined to make an endangerment finding based on the supposed difficulty of regulating climate pollution under the Clean Air Act.

A unanimous panel of the D.C. Circuit rejected those claims, finding that:

These contentions are foreclosed by the language of the statute and the Supreme Court’s decision in Massachusetts v. EPA … the additional exercises [state and industry challengers] would have EPA undertake … do not inform the ‘scientific judgment’ that [the Clean Air Act] requires of EPA … the Supreme Court has already held that EPA indeed wields the authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the CAA. (Coalition for Responsible Regulation v. EPA, 684 F.3d 102, D.C. Cir. 2012, emphasis added)

The Supreme Court did not even regard further challenges to the endangerment finding as worthy of its review. (See Order Denying Certiorari, Sub Nom Virginia v. EPA, 134 S.Ct. 418, 2013)

Pruitt’s suggestion that EPA should stop applying the Clean Air Act’s protections to an important category of pollutants – greenhouse gases – amounts to a repeal of Congress’s core judgment that all air pollutants that cause hazards to human health and the environment need to be addressed under the Clean Air Act. It is an audacious and aggressive effort to alter the Clean Air Act in a way that Congress has never done (and has specifically declined to do when such weakening amendments have been proposed).

EPA Has Established a Strong Record of Successful Climate Protections

Pruitt’s statements also ignore the pragmatic way in which EPA has carried out its legal obligations to address climate pollution. Since Massachusetts v. EPA was decided, EPA has issued common sense, cost-effective measures for major sources of climate pollution – including power plants; cars and trucks; the oil and gas sector; and municipal solid waste landfills.

These actions demonstrate that Pruitt is flatly wrong to suggest that EPA lacks the “tools” to address climate change under the Clean Air Act. They include:

  • The Clean Power Plan will reduce carbon pollution from the nation’s power plants to 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, while providing states and power companies with the flexibility to meet their targets through highly cost-effective measures – including shifting to cleaner sources of generation and using consumer-friendly energy efficiency programs that would reduce average household electricity bills by $85 per year. The Clean Power Plan will protect public health too, resulting in 90,000 fewer childhood asthma attacks, 300,000 fewer missed school and work days, and 3,600 fewer premature deaths every year by 2030. The value of these health benefits alone exceeds the costs by a factor of four, and the climate benefits are roughly as large.
  • EPA’s standards for cars and other light-duty vehicles, will save the average American family $8,000 over the lifetime of a new vehicle through reduced fuel costs – while saving 12 billion barrels of oil and avoiding 6 billion metric tons of carbon pollution. A recent analysis by EPA and the U.S. Department of Transportation found that manufacturers are reaching these standards ahead of schedule and at a lower cost than originally anticipated.
  • The most recent Clean Truck Standards, which were finalized in August 2016, will save truck owners a total of $170 billion in lower fuel costs, ultimately resulting in $400 in annual household savings by 2035 – while also reducing carbon pollution by 1.1 billion tons over the life of the program. These benefits are one reason why the Clean Truck Standards have broad support from manufacturers, truck operators, fleet owners and shippers.
  • EPA’s methane emission standards for new and modified oil and gas facilities, finalized in June 2016, will generate climate benefits equivalent to taking 8.5 million vehicles off the nation’s roads – while having minimal impact on industry.

When Scott Pruitt suggests that the Clean Air Act is a poor fit for regulating climate pollution, he overlooks the clear command of the statute, as confirmed repeatedly by the Supreme Court. He also ignores EPA’s successful history of issuing regulations that protect the environment while promoting significant health and economic benefits.

Pruitt might try to distort the truth in an effort to wipe climate protections off the books — subjecting our children and grandchildren to the dire health, security and economic effects of unlimited climate pollution in the process. But the law and the facts are not on his side.

EPA must address climate pollution under the Clean Air Act, and it has the tools to do so effectively.

Also posted in Clean Air Act, Clean Power Plan, EPA litgation, News, Policy| Leave a comment

Investments to Meet Emissions Goals are Driving Innovation and Growth in U.S. Auto Industry

15261010832_b13a8d395c_kThe past couple of weeks have seen a whirlwind of announcements related to the U.S. auto industry.

The century-old industry has been hailed as the fastest U.S. job creator – expanding payroll by “nearly 35 percent” in recent years. Manufacturers have introduced dozens of new, fuel-efficient models. Technology companies and automotive manufacturers are collaborating more than ever to add features, and to get the world ready for self-driving vehicles.

The need for climate action has been a critical driving factor in each of these trends.

The Clean Car Standards have been focusing auto industry investment and innovations since they were finalized in 2010. Over that time, the automobile industry has made a dramatic return to profitability and added jobs – all while exceeding the Clean Car Standards. The industry has also started to bring to market a new generation of fuel-saving solutions.

Confirmation of these trends could be found at the recent Consumer Electronics Show and the Detroit Auto Show, where manufacturers paraded out their latest developments.

  • Ford stated that it expects sales of electric vehicles will overtake sales of gas-fueled vehicles within 15 years. Ford showcased its ability to improve conventional vehicles by unveiling the 2018 model Ford F150 – the best selling vehicle in the U.S. – with options for a more fuel efficient 3.3 liter six cylinder engine and automatic stop-start technology. It also announced new hybrid versions of the F-150 and Mustang by 2020. The company promised a new fully electric SUV vehicle with 300-mile range by 2020.
  • General Motors (GM) celebrated having the fully-electric, 238-mile range Chevy Bolt awarded the North American Car of the Year or Truck of the Year. The Chevy Bolt was previously awarded Motor Trend Car of the Year. The Bolt, which came to market last month, is also at the center of GM’s work on self-driving vehicle technology
  • Nissan announced a new generation of its LEAF electric vehicle, with “autonomous drive functionality" for highways.
  • Honda publicized its plan to introduce a new, U.S.-made hybrid vehicle in 2018 and roll out its Clarity Electric and the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid vehicles.
  • Toyota appointed its president (grandson of the company’s founder) to lead their newly formed electric car division, in an effort to “speed up development of electric cars.” 
  • Volkswagen – unveiled a prototype electric van capable of a 270-mile range and with room for eight-passengers. The company has committed to have at least 25 percent of its global sales be electric vehicles by 2025.
  • Samsung introduced a new lithium-ion battery cell for electric vehicles. The battery promises over 350 miles of range and a 20-minute fast charge. The battery is slated for production in 2021.
  • Tesla declared that its gigafactory for battery production was open for business. The Reno, Nevada facility already employees almost 3,000 workers, and is ultimately expected to employ 6,500 in full-time positions.
  • Mercedes announced in Paris last year that electric cars would account for 25 percent of the company’s deliveries in 2025, backed by plans to invest $1.1 billion in battery technology.

As these developments show, automakers and their suppliers are investing and bringing to market clean vehicle solutions beyond what even the Clean Car Standards require.

These companies are making these investments because there is a robust domestic market for clean cars. Electric vehicle sales in the U.S., for example, were up more than 50 percent in the second half of 2016 (compared to 2015).

Companies are also making these investments to stay competitive in a global race that will define the next chapter of mobility. GM, for example, had a third of its global sales in China in 2016. China is the largest market worldwide for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and if U.S. automakers want to be competitive there they will need to stay on the leading edge of the technology curve. Autotomy and electrification will be the hallmarks of this new, global chapter.

By driving more investment in future offerings, the Clean Car Standards help position U.S. manufacturers to win this race at home and abroad.

This perspective was recently voiced by the United Auto Workers, which noted:

“Our competitors around the globe are working to strengthen environmental standards and it would be counterproductive to enact policies that provide disincentives for investing in advanced technologies and improving efficiency. History has taught us that a diverse fleet is essential for strong export sales and keeping jobs in the United States. Efficiency and emission standards can and must continue to be a win-win for the environment, working families, domestic manufacturing and the overall economy.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Also posted in Clean Air Act, Jobs, News, Partners for Change, Policy| Comments are closed

5 Things You Should Know About America’s Clean Car Standards

By Nicholas Bianco & Hilary Sinnamon, EDF Consultant

This month EPA released a Proposed Determination that the protective greenhouse gas emissions standards finalized in 2012 for model year 2022-2025 passenger cars and lights trucks remain appropriate under the Clean Air Act. This proposed determination found that auto manufacturers can meet the model year 2022-2025 standards at a lower cost than previously predicted, providing net savings for families, significant benefits to public health and welfare, and enhancing energy security.

Americans overwhelmingly want more fuel-efficient and less polluting vehicles because they help families make ends meet by saving them money at the pump.

EPA had previously estimated that consumers purchasing new vehicles in 2025 would spend up to $8,200 less on fuel over the lifetime of those vehicles.

The Clean Car standards have already helped drive innovation and deployment of the technologies and vehicles that customers are embracing – to the point where manufacturers have beat the standards in each of the last 4 years while setting new sales records.

U.S. manufacturers have returned from the brink of collapse in 2008, making a dramatic return to profitability while selling cleaner and more fuel efficient vehicles than ever before (see figure). Continuing these standards will help ensure that manufacturers retain their competitive edge and remain a vibrant force for the American economy in the years ahead.

1. Clean Car Standards Save American Families And Businesses Money

The Clean Car standards are already delivering benefits to American families and businesses, and these savings are expected to grow in the years ahead. Consumers purchasing new vehicles in 2025 are expected to spend up to $8,200 less on fuel over the lifetime of those vehicles. The 86 percent of Americans who finance their vehicle with a 5-year loan are expected to immediately realize the cost savings from cleaner more efficient vehicles. This is true even with today’s low gas prices.

Over the duration of the Clean Cars program, American families and businesses will avoid up to $1.7 trillion in fuel expenditures, which is more than double the funds injected into the economy by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (aka, the stimulus package). When businesses reduce fuel costs, it allows them to invest more money and create more jobs in local communities.

Oil prices may have fallen recently, but everyone knows that oil prices can be volatile. It wasn’t long ago that oil was trading at more than $100 per barrel, and that gasoline prices were roughly 50 percent higher than they are today. Thus, it should come as little surprise that consumers continue to rate fuel economy as one of their top criteria when shopping for a new car – 81 percent said they support the Clean Car standards. More efficient vehicles provide protection against volatility in fuel prices. For example, each Ford F-150 bought in 2015 will use about 180 fewer gallons of gasoline a year than those manufactured before the Clean Cars program went into effect, saving owners $300 to $700 per year. Ford reports that these fuel savings come at the same time as improvements to vehicle strength, pulling power, acceleration, and handling.

2.  Clean Car Standards Will Improve Climate And Energy Security

The Clean Car standards are also a crucial component of U.S. efforts to reduce carbon pollution and help avert the most damaging effects of climate change. The program will eliminate an estimated 6 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide over the life of the vehicles subject to the standards, which is more than a year’s worth of U.S. carbon emissions. Without the standards, emissions from the sector would rise considerably.

Nearly half of the oil consumed by Americans every year is used driving our passenger cars and light trucks. The Clean Car standards will enhance our nation’s energy security by reducing oil consumption by 2 million barrels per day by 2025. This is almost as much oil as we import from OPEC countries (net imports were 2.65 million barrels per day in 2015). Security experts agree that our nation’s dependence on oil is a threat to security and more efficient cars and trucks will help reduce that threat. According to Retired Lt. General Richard Zilmer:

"Over-reliance on oil ties our nation to far-flung conflicts, sends our troops into harm’s way, and endangers them once they’re in conflict zones. Ensuring that the cars and trucks we drive every day go farther on every gallon of gas makes our nation stronger.”

3. The Automobile Industry Has Made A Dramatic Return To Profitability And Added Jobs – All While Exceeding The Clean Car Standards

During the height of the economic recession in 2008, the American auto industry was on the verge of collapse. This prompted the Obama Administration to develop a bailout package for the industry, which provided the boost the industry needed to help rebound.

Last year drivers in the United States bought more cars than ever before – roughly 70 percent more vehicles than during the recession – as fuel economy rose to its highest levels yet. In total, the auto industry has added nearly 700,000 direct jobs since the recession, supporting several million indirect jobs throughout the economy. In fact, auto manufacturing jobs accounted for 40 percent of all net jobs added in U.S. manufacturing since the recession. Today, the auto industry directly employs nearly 3 million Americans and employment at auto dealerships is at its highest levels ever. Meanwhile, sustained innovation continues to bring new fuel-efficient technologies to the marketplace while creating new jobs throughout the industry.

Source: EPA

Source: EPA p.iii

All this has occurred while the auto industry as a whole has exceeded the climate pollution standards in each of the last four years (i.e., model years 2012-2015 – see figure). These efficiency improvements have come while other metrics of vehicle performance have continued to improve, including acceleration times and durability. In addition to the industry as a whole exceeding today’s standards, a number of individual vehicle models meet standards all the way out to 2025. Today there are already more than 100 car, SUV, and pickup models on the market that meet standards set for 2020 and beyond.

4. Clean Car Standards Have Played A Vital Role In Driving Innovation And Deployment Of Cost-Effective Efficiency Technologies

Automakers and suppliers are developing and deploying innovative technologies faster than EPA anticipated when the standards were finalized. Since the Clean Car program began in 2012, there has been roughly a doubling in: the number of SUVs that achieve 25 miles per gallon or more; the number of cars that achieve 30 miles per gallon or more; and the number of cars that achieve 40 miles per gallon or more (MY 2011 vs. MY 2016 – see chart).

cars-blog-pic3a

Source: EPA, p.ES9

We see this playing out with a number of very popular models like the Ford F-150, Toyota Rav 4, and Honda Civic, where improved efficiency through powertrain innovation, deployment of downsized and turbocharged engines, and use of more advanced materials such as high-strength lightweight steel and high-strength military-grade aluminum, have allowed these vehicles to deliver greater performance while improving fuel economy at a rate greater than required by the standards.

The standards have also helped spur sustained innovation. In 2015 alone, hybrid and electric vehicle technologies combined were granted nearly 700 patents. The majority of these patents were granted to large automakers, including GM, Ford, Toyota, and Honda.

Moving forward, a new generation of zero emission vehicles has the potential to transform the sector. Chevrolet’s all-electric Bolt is just beginning to hit show rooms. Motor Trends has already declared it the vehicle of the year, writing that Chevy “has made electric-powered transport for the masses a reality…[the Bolt] is the car of tomorrow, today.” Chevy is hardly alone. The Tesla Model 3 is set to begin rolling out in 2017, and has already racked up pre-orders for approximately 400,000 vehicles. These advancements have been powered by a remarkable decline in the price of batteries – about 70 percent between 2007 and 2014. These price declines are expected to continue in the years ahead, further reducing the costs of electric vehicles.

5.  Clean Car Standards Can Help Ensure The Auto Industry Retains Its Competitive Edge And Remains A Vibrant Force For The American Economy In The Years Ahead

Improvements in vehicle efficiency and reductions in climate pollution have coincided with a period of steady growth in the auto industry. Drivers in the United States bought more cars in 2015 than ever before. In total, about 17.5 million cars and trucks were sold last year, overtaking the 17.3 million sales in 2000 and far outpacing the 10.4 million sales in 2009, when taxpayers paid billions to bail out the automakers.

The Clean Car standards are essential to ensuring that this resurgence endures, and that American autoworkers have a strong position in the years ahead. These standards insulate the auto market from fuel price shocks, and that market stability translates into employment stability. The Clean Car standards have led U.S. automakers to offer a more diverse and more efficient mix of vehicles. As a result, their fleets will remain attractive to consumers in the years ahead, even if fuel prices spike again.

Analysis by Ceres found that profits by the three largest U.S. automakers (Ford, GM, and Chrysler) would plummet more than $1 billion per year in response to fuel price shocks without the Clean Cars program. Meanwhile, suppliers would lose up to $1.42 billion, costing American automakers and suppliers billions per year and putting many jobs at risk. Their analysis further showed that by driving deployment of cleaner and more fuel efficient vehicles, the Clean Cars program can insulate these 3 manufacturers from high fuel prices, and that pre-tax profits would remain robust under a wide range of high and low gasoline price scenarios.

Source: ICCT

Source: ICCT

Clean Car standards are also essential if the American auto sector is going to keep pace with global trends. Many other nations have adopted standards that will drive improved performance of passenger vehicles in a manner comparable to those standards established by the Clean Cars program here in the United States, and some nations are planning to go farther faster.

This includes, but is not limited to: Canada, the European Union, China, India and South Korea (see chart). These trends are particularly notable when one considers that the largest market growth will occur in China and India, which together could add nearly 15 million in additional vehicle sales each year in 2025 above and beyond today’s sales. This is almost as much as total U.S. passenger vehicle sales in 2015. As a result, any backtracking on the 2025 standards would therefore risk leaving U.S. manufacturers behind.

 

The Clean Cars program has been an enormous success, delivering savings at the pump to families while providing significant benefits to public health and welfare. Manufacturers have repeatedly demonstrated that they are capable of meeting the standards. They have exceeded the Clean Cars standards in each of the last 4 years, while continuing to deploy new technologies at cheaper costs than previously anticipated.

Meanwhile, the next generation of clean vehicles is beginning to hit the streets, including models that far surpass the standards set through 2025. These vehicles offer the promise of even lower fuel bills, cleaner air, and energy independence. Now is not the time to run from progress. Now is the time to embrace the future, to embrace American innovation, and to reaffirm our commitment to a clean transportation system.

Posted in Cars and Pollution| Comments are closed

Congressman Gives Trump a Plan to Erase Health, Safety, And Environment Safeguards

At Risk: The Air We Breathe, Water We Drink, and Food We Eat

The conservative House Freedom Caucus has provided President-Elect Trump a “recommended list of regulations to remove.” Congressman Mark Meadows (R-NC), chair of the all-Republican Freedom Caucus, identified 228 federal rules they hope Trump will help eliminate.

Thirty-two of the proposals would roll back safety, health and environmental standards that protect the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, and our nation’s infrastructure (from pipelines to airports). By rolling back these regulations, the plan would essentially prevent the agencies responsible for protecting us from doing their job.

Another 43 proposals are aimed at undermining America’s progress on clean energy and climate change, pushing us away from energy efficiency and renewable energy sources toward more reliance on fossil fuels. This includes eliminating two dozen Department of Energy energy efficiency standards that save families money on energy bills, reduce energy waste, and prevent pollution.

Environmental Defense Fund has posted a copy of the Freedom Caucus document online (first obtained by the Washington Post) and added highlights to show the 75 health, safety, environment, and energy rollbacks.

The leading targets for these attacks are the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy, but other agencies targeted include the Federal Aviation Administration, the State Department, the Department of Interior and others.

Trump’s Pick to Lead EPA Is An Added Threat

The danger of this regulatory ‘kill list’ is compounded by Donald Trump’s picks for key cabinet positions that would traditionally be the first to defend their agencies from political interference. Many of the recommendations are favorites of the fossil fuel lobby, which will have unprecedented power in Trump’s cabinet.

Trump’s decision to entrust Scott Pruitt with running the Environmental Protection Agency is especially dangerous. EPA is responsible for protecting our families from air and water pollution as well as toxic chemicals. Pruitt, however, has repeatedly and systematically teamed up with fossil fuel companies to sue the Environmental Protection Agency to prevent EPA action on regulating toxic mercury, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. In a 2014 investigative report, the New York Times exposed Pruitt’s “secretive alliance” with oil and gas companies while Attorney General of Oklahoma.

Breaking Down the Regulations at Risk

Here is a summary of some of the most alarming Freedom Caucus proposals that Pruitt and others in Trump’s cabinet will be looking over. The Freedom Caucus list has inaccuracies, and it seems to be based on the premise that Trump can erase rules with a stroke of the pen in the first 100 days. For most of these, he cannot, because the agencies have responsibilities to implement laws and are subject to oversight by the courts. But that does not mean that these regulations are safe from diversion of funds, lack of enforcement, legislative attacks, and other efforts to weaken them.

In the following list, the numbers in parentheses match the numbers in the House Freedom Caucus plan.

  • Eliminate air pollution standards for smog-forming ozone (174), lung-damaging soot (fine particles, 178), and rules to reduce air pollution from tailpipes (175, 181) and smokestacks (182, 183)
  • Reverse course on climate change, including: erasing carbon pollution regulations for power plants (173, 182, 183), tailpipes (175, 181), and airplanes (194); cancelling the Paris agreement (161); and eliminating the Green Climate Fund (172).
  • Roll back Clean Water standards that protect the Great Lakes (186), Chesapeake Bay (185), and to prevent pollution of wetlands (13) and rivers (199) across the nation.
  • Block regulations to prevent dangerous chemical accidents that release toxic chemicals into surrounding communities (189).
  • Jeopardize Worker safety, including repealing standards to prevent lung cancer among workers exposed to silica dust (135).
  • Repeal two dozen energy efficiency standards for appliances and industrial equipment (28-53).
  • Repeal natural gas pipeline safety standards passed in response to gas pipeline disasters, including the 2010 San Bruno disaster in California (153).
  • Repeal fuel economy and tailpipe standards for cars that are saving consumers money at the pump, reducing our dependency on oil, and reducing air pollution (175, 181).
  • Eliminate food safety regulations, including fish inspections (3).
  • Strip FDA’s authority to regulate the tobacco industry (55).
  • Repeal an FDA rule to safeguard our food supply against tampering by terrorists (83).
  • Eliminate the State Department agencies responsible for environmental science, protecting our oceans, and addressing climate change (162, 170, 171).
  • Block FAA regulations aimed at improving the safety of air traffic management at airports (156).
Also posted in Clean Air Act, Clean Power Plan, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, News, Policy, Science| Comments are closed

Open Road Ahead for Clean Trucks

rp_iStock_000002312011Medium2-1024x768.jpgOur nation is making great progress in reducing the environmental impact of trucking.

This is tremendous news, of course, as trucking – the main method of transporting the goods and services we desire – is critical to the fabric of our society.

Consider these facts:

We’re making major progress because of a team effort from truck and equipment manufacturers, fleets, policymakers, and clean air and human health advocates. With protective, long-term emission standards in place, manufacturers are investing in developing cleaner solutions and bringing them to market. Truck fleets are embracing new trucks because of lower operating costs and improved performance.

(For a more detailed picture of the widespread support for cleaner trucks, see EDF’s list of quotes supporting recent national Clean Truck standards.)

We must continue this team effort to make further necessary improvements in the years ahead.

Despite our recent progress, diesel trucks continue to be a leading source of NOx emissions, which is why a number of leading air quality agencies across the nation, health and medical organizations, and more than  30 members of Congress are calling for more protective NOx emission standards.

Trucks are also a large and growing source of greenhouse gas emissions. Thankfully, the new fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas standards mentioned above – which were released this past August and just published in the Federal Register today – will cut more than a billion tons of emissions.

Trucking fleets are embracing cleaner trucks. UPS, for example, is expanding its fleet of hybrid delivery trucks. PepsiCo, Walmart, Kane and others have applauded strong fuel standards for trucks.

Manufacturers are developing solutions to further improve the environmental footprint of trucking.

In the past few weeks alone:

  • Cummins unveiled a 2017 engine that cuts NOx emissions 90 percent  from the current emission standard.
  • Volvo Trucks North American showcased its entry to the DOE SuperTruck program, which is  a concept truck capable of surpassing 2010 efficiency levels by 70 percent and exceeding 12 miles per gallon.
  • Navistar also revealed its SuperTruck, the CatalIST, which hit a remarkable 13 mpg.

The progress we’ve made to date does more than just improve conditions within the U.S. Our strong standards push U.S. manufacturers to develop solutions that will resonate with international markets. For example, the European Union, Brazil, India, Mexico, and South Korea all are exploring new fuel efficiency and greenhouse standards for big trucks. U.S. manufacturers will be well positioned to compete in markets that put a premium on fuel efficiency.

In the coming years, we will need to continue to advance protective emission standards to protect the health of our communities and safeguard our climate. When the time comes, we will be building upon an impressive record of progress and cooperation.

Also posted in Economics, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, News, Policy| Comments are closed

Praise for the New Standards for Cleaner Freight Trucks

Earlier this week the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Transportation announced new greenhouse gas emissions and fuel efficiency standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, and they’ve been winning praise and support ever since.

The extraordinary and far-reaching support for the new Clean Truck standards ranges from leading public health organizations to the companies and workers who manufacture these vehicles, the businesses that depend on fleets of these vehicles, and the consumers who rely on goods and services delivered by these fleets.

Here are a few examples:

The continued focus on improving fuel efficiency will unlock new innovations that protect our environment and spur economic growth… The steps we have taken to boost the efficiency of our fleet across PepsiCo have significantly reduced emissions while lowering our operating costs, and we are committed to doing much more. We thank the Administration for its leadership on this issue and believe these new standards set the stage for continued progress.

– Indra K. Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo.

In our opinion, the phase two standards are balanced, with the EPA and NHTSA having done an excellent job of incorporating feedback from multiple stakeholders including manufacturers, fleet operators, private operators and environmental NGOs.

– Frito-Lay North America supply chain senior director Michael O’Connell (Frito Lay is a division of PepsiCo)

This new set of regulations will encourage innovation and has the potential to spur domestic economic growth … In the long-run, these regulations will make trucking operations in the United States stronger by reducing its dependence on oil and making our economy less vulnerable to the fluctuations of a single global commodity.

– Mike Britt, Director of Advanced Engineering for United Parcel Service (UPS) and Chair of the CALSTART Board of Directors

Eaton recognizes the importance of providing environmentally responsible solutions, so we are pleased with the new Phase II standards for medium and heavy duty commercial vehicles which will deliver significant fuel consumption and emissions reductions … These new standards ensure that we both satisfy customers and protect the environment.

– Craig Arnold, Eaton chairman and CEO

What the rule does is it brings clarity to the entire industry. … It helps us pace and justify our investments, an investment we are doing anyway.

– Mihai Dorobantu, director of technology planning and government affairs for Eaton

Our goal in this process was to work collaboratively with the agencies to simplify compliance while maximizing environmental benefits and overall cost savings for the fleets. I think we’ve achieved that.

– Dick Giromini, President and CEO of Wabash National

We’ve long supported standards that reduce emissions and improve the environment, particularly in the communities where we operate. That’s why we support the new Phase II standards for medium and heavy-duty trucks. It’s a win-win for our industry, our customers and communities – reducing emissions and saving fuel and money.

– David Steiner, CEO, Waste Management

[The standards] provide a long-term road map to make sure we develop the technology we’ll need in the marketplace … That’s a positive for us.

– Brian Mormino, Cummins executive director of environmental strategy and compliance

Many businesses view the term ‘good regulation’ as the ultimate oxymoron. But the latest fuel efficiency standards are a good example of government and industry working together to address a critical societal challenge.

– Alex Stark, Kane is Able, Modern Marketing Expert | Supply Chain Collaboration Evangelist

This is great news for the trucking industry and companies that are concerned about reducing their shipping costs. Because these vehicles are so large, even small improvements in fuel economy yield significant cost-savings through reduced oil use. This is yet another area where stronger environmental performance is better for businesses and the economy, too.

– Carol Lee Rawn, director of Ceres Transportation Program

We applaud the EPA, NHTSA and CARB for listening to public and industry input and raising the GHG emissions standards. This new rule will spur continued innovation in the transportation sector. We've seen again and again that regulation is useful – perhaps even essential – to drive the industry to embrace innovative technology to improve fuel economy, reduce petroleum consumption, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

–  David Johnson, president and CEO, Achates Power 

The vehicle efficiency standards released today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are a critical move forward in the fight for healthy air … We thank President Obama, the EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for this important step to save lives and safeguard Americans’ health.

American Lung Association

The new rules are long-term, technology- and product-neutral, address the needs of consumers and industry, and promote healthy competition that benefits consumers, manufacturers and the economy overall. The trucking industry will benefit. Consumers will save. And the economy will thrive. It’s a win-win-win.

– Mark Cooper, Director of Research for the Consumer Federation of America

Under these vehicle standards, working in concert with sound manufacturing policy, American companies and workers are demonstrating that the nation can lead in combating climate change while creating American jobs and making America’s auto sector one of the most technologically advanced and competitive in the world. We are committed to seeing this trajectory continue.

– Kim Glas, Executive Director of Blue Green Alliance

There's no doubt the whole world will look at these standards and use them as a benchmark.

– Nic Lutsey, International Council on Clean Transportation

Also posted in Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Policy| Comments are closed
  • About this blog

    Expert to expert commentary on the science, law and economics of climate change and clean air.

  • Get blog posts by email

    Subscribe via RSS

  • Categories

  • Meet The Bloggers