Wieckowski, 199 lawmakers urge auto industry to support vehicle fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards

February 20, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the Trump administration is poised to roll back federal clean car standards, 200 legislators from 14 states joined together today in calling on the auto industry to oppose the rollback and instead support the lifesaving and money-saving standards. A letter signed by the lawmakers was sent to 20 automakers and appeared in an ad in The Hill.  

Fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards, also known as clean car standards, took effect during the Obama administration and already have made the air cleaner and saved consumers at the pump. But as soon as President Donald Trump took office, automakers lobbied him to roll them back. It appears that Trump will comply; his administration issued a proposal last year to dramatically roll back the standards and revoke states' authority to set their own more stringent pollution standards to protect public health.

The letter notes, "Preliminary analyses indicate that the administration's proposal will result in an additional 2.2 billion metric tons of global warming emissions by 2040. Increasing emissions at a time when scientists are warning us that we must do everything we can to prevent the worst impacts of climate change, is a reckless U-turn that poses a grave threat to the health and future of the constituents we were elected to serve. What's more, in exchange for increased pollution, Americans will face increased expenses at the gas pump – up to $500 more each year."

The lawmakers are calling on automakers to publicly oppose the Trump administration's proposal and to discontinue its lobby efforts for loopholes that would yield more pollution and higher gas bills. The letter also urges the automakers to remove themselves as parties (via membership in The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers) to a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration's Final Determination, that was based almost entirely on auto industry statements, without any independent analysis.

In the letter, lawmakers also voiced concern at the Trump administration's proposal to revoke the California waiver, which gives California and 13 other states the ability to enact stronger safeguards than the federal government. The state lawmakers said that Trump's plan "directly attacks our states' authority to protect our citizens by proposing to revoke the right of states to put in place stronger safeguards to address harmful air pollution from vehicles. This directly threatens the 118 million people living in our states and assails the Clean Air Act's longstanding recognition of state leadership on clean cars."

"Any move to revoke our ability to enforce higher standards would be an unprecedented act and eliminate over 50 years of bipartisan cooperation on clean air policies that reduce pollution," said California state Sen. Bob Wieckowski, chair of the California Senate's Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee on Resources, Environmental Protection, Energy and Transportation.  "We have received more than 145 waivers from Republican and Democratic administrations.  Revoking the state's ability to enact these standards would lead to more pollution and increased health problems, not just for Californians, but also for all the other states that follow our standards."

The letter was signed by state legislators representing California and all 13 of the states that have elected to impose more stringent standards (Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington). It was sent to Aston Martin, BMW, FCA, Ferrari, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Maserati, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan, Porsche, Subaru, Toyota and Volkswagen as well as Global Automakers and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.

Added Madeline Page, Public Citizen's clean cars campaign coordinator, "Over the past year, hundreds of thousands of Americans, 150 members of Congress and 20 state attorneys general have spoken out about the folly of rolling back our clean car standards. But the Trump administration is poised to undo the rules regardless, doing the bidding of the auto industry. We applaud the 200 state legislators who are publicly challenging the industry to change course and choose American families over America's polluter-in-chief."

The full text of the letter and signatories can be found here.

Senator Wieckowski represents the 10th District, which includes southern Alameda County and parts of Santa Clara County.