Testimony From EPA Hearing on Strengthening Clean Car Standards

Jun 2, 2021

LCV Government Affairs Advocate for Climate and Clean Energy Darien Davis

In case you missed it, today, LCV Government Affairs Advocate for Climate and Clean Energy Darien Davis testified at EPA’s public hearing regarding its reconsideration of withdrawal from California’s Advanced Clean Car Program, rescinding the action taken by the Trump administration. Read Davis’ full testimony below:

“Hello and thank you for giving me the opportunity to testify on the SAFE 1 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’d like to speak in support of this administration’s proposal to reinstate state’s authority to set stronger clean car standards and urge this administration to move forward on setting ambitious federal clean car standards.

Growing up in central New Jersey, riding in a car was always a new adventure and very much a part of the culture. I’d spend hours in the car going down to the shore each summer and visiting friends in New York and Philadelphia. I was acutely aware, however, of the fact that this same vehicle that allowed me to travel across the state with ease, that would bring me the bliss of a Country Kettle Fudge, also contributed to the harmful air pollution. This pollution disproportionately impacts low wealth communities and BIPOC communities, leading to increased rates of asthma and respiratory illness. It is clear that in order to tackle this problem, we need to support regulations to curb tailpipe pollution.

New Jersey is just one of several states that has adopted stronger pollution standards than the federal government. It did so under section 177 of the Clean Air Act, but this authority was in jeopardy when the previous administration moved to gut this critical waiver. Now, we have the opportunity to reinstate the waiver so that states like New Jersey — and more recently, Minnesota — can forge ahead with more ambitious clean vehicle regulations.

Comprehensive clean car standards make it possible for states — and in turn, the whole country — to drive down emissions and electrify the transportation sector. Specifically, these standards help to advance the manufacture and sale of electric vehicles across the country. Domestic clean car manufacturing has the potential to drive manufacturing back to the U.S. and provide good-paying jobs to workers.

Reinstating the SAFE 1 rule would be huge for transitioning from dirty vehicles to pollution-free ones. Now President Biden must finalize restoration of state authority and set strong federal clean car rules to ensure we achieve our climate goals. These include:

  • Restoring national standards at least to levels set during the Obama-Biden administration;
  • Establishing a 2030 standard for cars and light-duty trucks that achieves fleet average greenhouse gas emissions 60 percent or more below today’s average;
  • Putting the nation on a trajectory to make all new cars and light-duty trucks zero-emission vehicles no later than 2035;
  • Ensuring all new trucks and buses are zero-emission no later than 2040. 

Once again, I support the proposal to reinstate state authority to set strong standards because they are working. We should maximize their benefits by making our cars and light-duty trucks more efficient, and I urge you to go back to the Obama/Biden federal standards. It’s time for the cars that brought me summers of memories — and fudge — to make their pollution a thing of the past.

Thank you for the opportunity to testify.”