Mayors condemn EPA's proposed freeze on auto emissions standards
- Mayors from across the United States condemned the Trump administration’s proposal to freeze automobile emission standards at 2020 levels and revoke California's authority to set its own rules.
- The group, a national coalition that calls itself the Climate Mayors, denounced the proposed rule by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to keep efficiency standards at about 37 mpg after 2020 — averaging between cars and heavy duty vehicles — rather than ramping up to more than 46 mpg by 2025 under rules proposed by President Obama.
- "We cannot sacrifice the future of our planet on the altar of short-sighted and dangerous policies that serve narrow interests," Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement. "Their proposal directly threatens to stall the progress we have made in Los Angeles to take toxic fumes out of our air."
The Climate Mayors coalition includes the likes of Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and represents a city-level promise to uphold the terms of the Paris Climate Agreement, which Trump withdrew the United States from last year. In a statement, the group said the EPA’s plan is an "unprecedented attack on both the environment and states' rights." They joined more than 20 state attorneys general in denouncing the proposal, with those attorneys general promising to take legal action against the EPA.
In light of Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement, cities have emphasized their desire to be leaders on combating climate change. It remains a top concern for many mayors, which have plans from the likes of the America’s Pledge initiative on how to take meaningful action. And Seattle has been especially strong in its efforts to fight climate change, with Mayor Jenny Durkan releasing a climate action plan in April.
"Now is the time to double down — not pull back — on policies like fuel economy standards that save money, protect our children’s health, preserve our environment, and create economic opportunity today and long into the future," Durkan said in a statement after the EPA plan was unveiled.
In separate statements, various mayors emphasized their own initiatives in helping reduce auto emissions and pollution, including using more electric vehicles (EVs), and pledged to do more to be leaders in fighting climate change. With legal action likely to follow this latest move by the EPA, there is sure to be plenty more debate and renewed onus on cities to take up the mantle of protecting the environment as the federal government continues to step back.
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