LCV’s Darien Davis Testifies for Strong Clean Car Standards

On Wednesday, LCV Government Affairs Advocate Darien Davis gave a powerful testimony before an EPA hearing on clean cars standards.

Read Darien’s full testimony below:

Testimony of Darien Davis,
Government Affairs Advocate for Climate and Clean Energy at the League of Conservation Voters,
before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
at the Public Hearing for
Revised 2023 and Later Model Year Light-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards;
August 25, 2021

Hello and thank you for giving me the opportunity to testify on the SAFE 2 rule today. My name is Darien Davis, and I am a Government Affairs Advocate for Climate and Clean Energy at the League of Conservation Voters, or LCV.  I’m here today on behalf of LCV’s more than 2 million members and network of 30 state partner organizations across the country. 

I appreciate the Biden administration’s swift action on clean cars standards — it is clear that undoing the harmful rollbacks of the previous administration has been a top priority since day one. Now that the proposed rule is out, I urge the EPA to create the strongest possible limits on vehicle pollution – the EPA should seek to finalize “Alternative 2”, the strongest standards the EPA analyzed in the proposal. In order to tackle the climate crisis at the speed and scale that science demands, we need standards that will reduce 60% of carbon emissions from new cars by 2030.

On the heels of a glaring IPCC report, it is clear that climate change is directly contributing to more severe and frequent wildfires, hurricanes, and flooding around the world. The most recent report is especially salient because it shows specific regional climate impacts. Here in California, where I’m currently visiting my family, wildfires have been raging at an unprecedented rate. These wildfires both threaten the safety of families like mine, while also contributing to hazardous air quality. In recent years, there have been days where the smog from fires was so thick, my parents would have to leave work early and stay indoors to safeguard their health. 

There is, however, a practical way to begin tackling climate change; focusing on clean transportation. Since the transportation sector is the largest source of emissions, bold car standards can help accelerate the transition from cars with internal combustion engines to pollution-free vehicles. 

Now, the EPA has the opportunity to both reinstate and strengthen clean car standards. In addition to fighting climate change, robust regulations would protect communities from vehicle pollution and save drivers money at the pump. This is especially critical because Black and Brown communities and low-wealth communities experience disproportionate harm from dirty vehicle pollution. This environmental injustice leads to increased rates of asthma and other respiratory illnesses.

Once again, I urge this administration to set the strongest standards possible because they are practical and meet the moment that we’re in – the EPA should finalize standards at least as strong as Alternative 2 presented in the proposed rule. These standards can put us on the path to upholding our NDC of 50-52 percent net economy-wide greenhouse gas emission reductions below 2005 levels in 2030. Ultimately, standards set through 2026 can lay the groundwork for eliminating pollution from new vehicles by 2035. It is clear that we have no time to waste. Thank you for the opportunity to testify today.

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