Several Colorado leaders are vocally defending the state’s ability to protect air quality through vehicle regulation. “We need to remember that policies made at the federal level impact …
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The Colorado Air Quality Control Commission will discuss the proposed low-emission vehicle standards during its August meeting, which is open to the public. Anyone can address the commission during the public comment period or provide written comments.
The meeting begins at 9 a.m. Aug. 16 in the Sabin/Cleere Conference Rooms at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 4300 Cherry Creek Drive South, in Denver.
Comments may be sent to email@example.com. For information about the meeting, contact the AQCC at 303-692-3478 or 303-692-3476.
Several Colorado leaders are vocally defending the state’s ability to protect air quality through vehicle regulation.
“We need to remember that policies made at the federal level impact communities across our country,” said Maria De Cambra, Westminster’s mayor pro tem. “The Trump administration’s rollbacks would undermine our efforts. We must protect the progress we’ve made, and that means leaving the clean car standards in place.”
De Cambra was one of five community leaders and elected officials who spoke at a July 31 press conference in Lakewood opposing the Trump administration’s EPA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration rollback of clean car standards. She was joined by Lakewood City Council member Dana Gutwein; Elizabeth Babcock, the manager of air, water and climate for the city and county of Denver; Jen Clanahan with Colorado Moms Knows Best, an activist group consisting of a network of parents with a mission to help protect Colorado’s outdoors, quality of life and clean air; and Jacob Smith, the executive director of Colorado Communities for Climate Action, a coalition of Colorado governments that advocates for state and federal policies to protect Colorado’s climate.
On Aug. 2, President Donald Trump’s administration announced plans to roll back emissions and fuel-economy standards for car model years 2022-25 and attempt to override the ability for states to set their own stricter standards to protect clean air. The administration argues that halting fuel-efficiency “could save $500 billion in ‘societal costs,’ avert thousands of highway fatalities and save Americans an estimated $2,340 on the cost of each new car,” according to an Aug. 2 article published in the Washington Post.
However, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed an executive order on June 19 titled “Maintaining Progress on Clean Vehicles.” It directs the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to develop a rule that establishes a Colorado Low Emission Vehicle program, then propose the rule to the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission for possible adoption by Dec. 30 into the Colorado Code of Regulations.
“Basically, the Low Emission Vehicle standards currently under discussion would keep Colorado … on the current standards, even if the federal standards are weakened,” Smith said. If these advanced clean car standards are adopted, he added, they would “protect Colorado from whatever happens in D.C. from these rollbacks.”
America’s clean car standards were finalized in 2012 under then-President Barack Obama. These standards require automakers to ensure that motor vehicles — cars, pickup trucks and SUVs, for example — are more fuel efficient and achieve ongoing improvements.
The Obama administration’s rules “mandate an average fuel economy of 54.5 miles per gallon for the 2025 model year,” while the Trump administration’s proposal “would freeze the increase of average fuel economy standards after 2021 at about 37 miles per gallon,” according to the Washington Post.
Speakers at the July 31 press conference noted that clean car standards protect public health and clean air in local communities, while driving innovation and saving consumers money.
“Ozone pollution damages developing lungs, potentially causing health issues that can last their whole lives,” Clanahan said. “In order to keep our children healthy, we need clean car standards that reduce air pollution and all the damage it does to our children.”
Colorado is one of 12 states and the District of Columbia that have followed California’s lead to set its own tailpipe restrictions to try to curb greenhouse-gas emissions — protected by a legal waiver granted under the 1970 Clean Air Act.
“Maintaining our Colorado way of life as our population grows is a challenge,” Gutwein said at the press conference. But air quality is “something that matters now and into the future.”
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment website states that Hickenlooper’s “executive order does not direct CDPHE to propose a zero-emission vehicle program or to mandate the sale of electric vehicles.”
However, Smith believes that zero-emission vehicle standards could give Colorado consumers more options for electric vehicle purchases and help push down the cost as the volume of sales increases.
This would “further contribute to reduced air pollution and carbon pollution,” Smith said, “and accelerate the build-out of Colorado’s 21st century electric vehicle infrastructure.”
The Air Quality Control Commission will discuss the low-emission vehicle standards during its regular August meeting, scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Aug. 16 in the Sabin/Cleere Conference Rooms at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 4300 Cherry Creek Drive South, Denver.
“Poor air quality affects everyone who breathes,” Babcock said. “Colorado can be a leader in protecting public health by pushing back against the (Trump) administration’s ill-advised rollback of America’s clean car standards.”
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