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On Tuesday, CoPIRG Foundation organized an event for clean car advocates to announce that over 7,600 Coloradans have called on Colorado’s Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) to adopt state emission standards for gas-powered vehicles. The AQCC will be voting on whether to adopt the standards on either Thursday, November 15th or Friday, November 16th, depending on when the hearing on the rule concludes.
“Vehicle emissions are one of the biggest reasons we have so many unhealthy, dirty air days in Colorado, said Danny Katz, CoPIRG director. “By adopting the advanced clean car standards, Colorado can take a big step toward reducing smog and air toxins, cut carbon pollution, and save Coloradans money at the pump.”
At the event, the advocates highlighted the broad support for clean car standards coming in from across Colorado, including environmental groups, public health agencies, cities, consumer groups, and businesses of all sizes.
The list of organizations and public agencies that have submitted comments so far or are parties to the rulemaking include Conservation Colorado, Environment Colorado, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Colorado Public Interest Research Group (CoPIRG), Sierra Club, Environmental Defense Fund, Environmental Entrepreneurs, Ceres, Colorado Moms Know Best, Union of Concerned Scientists, the cities of Aspen, Fort Collins and Longmont, Boulder County Public Health, the City and County of Denver, Eagle County Public Health, Jefferson County Public Health, Pueblo County, and the City of Lakewood Sustainability Division.
Letters of support have also been submitted to the AQCC from over 300 businesses including large businesses and associations like Tesla, National Car Charging, Honeywell, Colorado Ski Country USA, Smartwool, New Belgium Brewing, Black Tie Ski Rentals, Alpine Start Foods, Fishpond, Protect Our Winters, Clif Bar and Company, and Burton Snowboards, and smaller businesses across the state including Republic of Paws, Little Owl Coffee, and Goldmine Vintage in Denver, Yogurt on Union in Pueblo, Judy Davis Pottery in Glenwood Springs, The Blu Cow and Troy’s Ski Shop in Vail, and Silver Sparrow Beads and Squash Blossom in Colorado Springs.
“With this vote, Colorado has a chance to lead the way toward cleaner, greener transportation,” finished Katz. “Colorado’s action should provide a road map for other states to follow our lead -- it’s one of the biggest actions any state can take right now to clean up their air.”
Since vehicle emissions are one of the largest contributors to the dirty and dangerous air days in Colorado, adopting clean car standards for gas-powered vehicles is one of the biggest actions Colorado can take to protect our health and preserve our quality of life.
On Thursday, the AQCC will be voting on whether to adopt the advanced clean car standard’s Low-Emission Vehicle program (LEV). If LEV is adopted, car manufacturers would need to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas pollution their vehicles emit. Adopting LEV would also result in reductions in criteria pollutants that contribute to ground‐level ozone.
The lower emission goals that car companies will need to meet are flexible to the make and model of the vehicle so a small passenger vehicle and a larger pickup truck will not need to meet the same standards. Therefore, Coloradans will not be disproportionately impacted even though we purchase SUVs and pick-up trucks at a higher rate than most states.
A study from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in January of 2017 found that car manufacturers would be able to meet the federal standards, which are currently identical to LEV. To meet the standards, many car manufacturers produce more fuel-efficient vehicles, which not only reduce pollution but save Coloradans money every time we fuel up at the pump.
Thirteen states (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington) and the District of Columbia have adopted LEV. In 2012, with the support of the car manufacturers, the federal government adopted a national standard that mirrors the LEV program, however the Trump Administration is working to roll the standards back. If successful, car companies would be allowed to sell dirtier cars in Colorado unless the state’s AQCC voted to adopt LEV.
After the vote to adopt LEV in November, the AQCC will vote on December 20th on whether to consider adopting the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) program, which sets benchmarks for car manufacturers around electric vehicles. If they vote to move forward, there will be a lengthy public process before making a final decision in March or April. The ZEV program would result in a significant reduction in pollution from the transportation sector as more electric vehicles are offered in Colorado.
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