San Francisco joins coalition in support of EPA proposal to restore California waiver for clean car standards

“We stand with science, and we will not relent in our fight to protect the environment for our children and the generations to come.”

SAN FRANCISCO (July 6, 2021) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera today joined a coalition of 22 attorneys general, as well as the cities of Los Angeles, New York City, Oakland and San Jose, in support of the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to restore California’s waiver under the Clean Air Act for its greenhouse gas and zero emission vehicle programs. The coalition also supports the EPA’s proposal to rescind its previous determination that Section 177 of the Clean Air Act does not authorize other states to adopt California’s greenhouse gas standards for passenger cars and light trucks. California’s standards, which already result in emissions reductions of hundreds of thousands of tons annually, are essential components of San Francisco’s plans to fight climate change and protect public health.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera

“Reducing vehicle emissions is essential in the fight against climate change,” Herrera said. “California’s clean car standards are vital to that mission. We’re urging the EPA to restore California’s Clean Air Act waiver and allow other states to adopt California’s progressive standards. We need to act urgently to protect public health and our environment. We stand with science, and we will not relent in our fight to protect the planet for our children and the generations to come.”

Sixty years ago, California was a pioneer in adopting vehicle emission standards — long before any federal vehicle emission standards even existed. Since then, California has been granted more than 100 waivers, including in 2013 when the EPA granted California a waiver for its Advanced Clean Car program. Six years later, under the Trump Administration, the EPA withdrew California’s waiver to set its own greenhouse gas and zero emission vehicle standards, which a California-led coalition swiftly challenged in court. In November 2019, City Attorney Dennis Herrera joined California and a coalition of cities and states suing the EPA. The coalition filed a lawsuit challenging the EPA’s attempt to block California’s clean car standards. Litigation in that case is currently stayed to permit the current EPA to reconsider.

California’s clean car standards have been adopted by thirteen states representing more than one-third of the U.S. automobile market and are currently under consideration in a number of others. These standards, which have been implemented in some states for more than a decade, are essential components of state plans to reduce emissions and attain federally mandated National Ambient Air Quality Standards for particulate matter and ozone — two pollutants which cause significant adverse health impacts. According to California Air Resources Board’s analysis, California’s Advanced Clean Car Program, of which it’s greenhouse gas and zero emission vehicle standards are critical components, is expected to result in a 75% reduction in smog-forming pollution and a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions for an average car sold in 2025 as compared to 2012, when the program was adopted. These standards are not only crucial for reducing emissions now to mitigate the threats San Francisco resident’s face from climate change — they also drive technological innovation that will enable deeper emissions reductions of all of these harmful pollutants in the future.

City Attorney Herrera joins the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, Hawaii, and the District of Columbia, as well as the cities of Los Angeles, New York City, Oakland and San Jose in filing the comment letter.

A copy of the comment letter can be found here.

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