Officials comment on EPA's cleaner fuels and cars standards.

Press Release Summary:

Based on extensive input from auto manufactures, refiners, and states, U.S. EPA proposed sensible standards for cars and gasoline that will significantly reduce harmful pollution, prevent thousands of premature deaths and illnesses, while also enabling efficiency improvements in cars and trucks. An important component of administration’s national program for clean cars and trucks, standards will help avoid up to 2,400 premature deaths/year and 23,000 cases of respiratory ailments in children.

Original Press Release:

Here's What They're Saying about EPA's Proposed Cleaner Fuels and Cars Standards

WASHINGTON – Based on extensive input from auto manufactures, refiners, and states, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today proposed sensible standards for cars and gasoline that will significantly reduce harmful pollution, prevent thousands of premature deaths and illnesses, while also enabling efficiency improvements in the cars and trucks we drive. These cleaner fuels and cars standards are an important component of the administration’s national program for clean cars and trucks, which also include historic fuel efficiency standards that are saving new vehicle owners at the gas pump today. Once fully in place, the standards will help avoid up to 2,400 premature deaths per year and 23,000 cases of respiratory ailments in children.

Martin O’Malley, Governor of Maryland

“The new motor fuel standards proposed today by the Environmental Protection Agency under President Obama’s leadership will help Maryland reach its goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020. Reductions from mobile sources are one of the most important strategies needed to provide clean air to Maryland’s citizens for generations to come. Today’s actions will also provide a significant benefit to the Chesapeake Bay as approximately one-third of its nitrogen issues are caused by air pollution. By proposing these new robust vehicle and fuel quality standards, President Obama and the EPA have made a strong commitment to protecting the public’s health and our environment. Together with our federal partners, we can create a more sustainable future for our children.”

Deval Patrick, Governor of Massachusetts

”I applaud President Obama and the EPA for issuing this new rule, which is a significant step forward in reducing air pollution from vehicles.  This rule means cleaner cars and cleaner fuels, which in turn means healthier communities across the country,” said Governor Deval Patrick.  ”This common sense regulation is a victory for a cost-effective and sensible way to clean our air.”

Dannel P. Malloy, Governor of Connecticut

“EPA’s proposed Tier 3 vehicle standards and cleaner gasoline will give our state immediate air quality benefits, which will only grow over time as new cars enter the marketplace.  In Connecticut, we are taking action to show that we can have a strong economy and a healthy environment, and the new standards for motor vehicles and fuels announced today by EPA are consistent with our approach.  I applaud EPA’s help taking on the most significant source of air pollution – cars, trucks and other so-called mobile sources – and look forward to prompt finalization of the rule so we all breathe cleaner air.”

U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Rhode Island

“Today the Obama Administration took much-needed action to reduce air pollution and protect the health of our citizens.  Rhode Islanders, particularly seniors, children, and those with asthma, have suffered for too long from the so-called ‘bad air days’ that can land them in the hospital.  This new standard means cleaner gasoline and cleaner vehicles, which will help us prevent a major source of the air pollution that causes those bad air days. This is a big step forward for public health.”

Robert M. Pestronk, MPH, Executive Director, National Association of County and City Health Officials

“On behalf of America’s 2,800 local health departments, NACCHO applauds the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed standards for cleaner gasoline and cars. The updated standards prevent illness, preserve health and help reduce health care costs. Standards like these help local health departments keep people healthy and safe by improving air quality.” 

U.S. Sen. Kristen Gillibrand, N.Y. 

“The implementation of Tier 3 emission standards is a big step forward for Americans,” said Senator Gillibrand. “More stringent emission standards would significantly decrease air pollution, create new jobs and increase worker’s economic productivity by reducing the number of sick days they take from lung and heart related ailments.  We’ve cleared a crucial step in the process, and I will continue to urge the Administration to move quickly to finalize the rule this year”

Paul Billings, Senior Vice President, American Lung Association

“Pollution from cars, light trucks, and SUVs kills and makes people sick. Stronger standards that lower sulfur levels in gasoline and cut toxic tailpipe pollutants will pave the way to a healthier future.  Using lower sulfur gasoline in cars currently on the road will reduce as much pollution as taking 33 million cars off the road.  Passenger vehicles are major sources of ozone and particle pollution that pose serious threats to public health. This pollution triggers asthma attacks, worsens lung and heart health and can even lead to early death. Children, the elderly and those with chronic lung and heart health problems are most vulnerable to traffic-related pollution.”

Georges Benjamin, Executive Director, American Public Health Association

“The return on investment of these important standards measured in both health savings and deaths averted is hugely significant and should not be overlooked.  Reducing dangerous tailpipe emissions from cars will deliver between $8 and $23 billion in national health benefits annually by 2030 and prevent tens of thousands of asthma attacks, hospitalizations and early deaths. “

Gloria Bergquist, Spokeswoman, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers

“This is a big step forward for this country to catch up to the clean fuels available in other industrialized nations.  Automakers have already reduced vehicle emissions by 99 percent, and we’re working to go further while also delivering high quality, affordable vehicles to our customers.”

Dan Wyant, Director, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality

“Michigan’s automobile industry continues producing vehicles that are more fuel efficient and better for the state’s air quality. The EPA’s proposed Tier 3 fuel standard will further the goal of cleaner air.” 

Shannon Baker-Branstetter, Policy Counsel for Consumers Union

“Vehicles have gotten cleaner over the years, but unfortunately too many Americans still struggle with health issues like asthma and respiratory problems that come from breathing in air heavy with smog and other pollutants.  These standards are expected to be highly cost-effective in cleaning up gasoline and tailpipe emissions. These minimal costs will be largely outweighed by the savings that come from the huge health benefits we get from cleaner air.”

Bill Becker, Executive Director, National Association of Clean Air Agencies

“The new standard could be ‘the most significant air pollution policy President Obama will adopt in his second term. . . . There is not another air pollution control strategy that we know of that will produce as substantial, cost-effective and expeditious emissions reductions.”

Luke Tonachel, Senior Vehicles Analyst, Natural Resources Defense Council

“These common-sense standards will save lives, save money and clean up our air - all at a minimal cost.  Big Oil companies want us to believe these benefits aren’t worth it. But that’s because they care about profits above all else.”

Frank O’Donnell, President, Clean Air Watch 

“I think this proposal is the single most effective step EPA can take right now to reduce smog.”

Statement from the Emissions Control Technology Association

As the companies who have developed the cutting edge technology to reduce mobile source emissions by more than 90 percent, the Emissions Control Technology Association (ECTA) commends President Obama’s leadership in proposing a Tier 3 regulation that will improve public health and strengthen our domestic manufacturing base. The benefits of Tier 3 will far outweigh the cost.

Michelle Robinson, Director of Clean Vehicles Program, Union of Concerned Scientists

“The path from a car’s tailpipe to our lungs is surprisingly short, and more than 1 in 3 Americans live in areas where air pollution levels exceed at least one federal limit.  Today’s proposal is a common-sense step that will protect our health while growing our economy.”

Michael Brune, Sierra Club, Executive Director

“With these expected cleaner tailpipe standards, President Obama is taking a strong step to protect our public health and secure his clean energy legacy. We have the technology to clean up our fuels and our cars and it’s critical that we put them to work to ensure Americans have the safe, breathable air they deserve.  Cutting smog and other toxic air pollution will help American children breath cleaner air and will save lives. These new standards will save billions annually in health costs and will free American families from some of the crippling effects of respiratory disease, asthma attacks and other severe health problems.”

Michael Stanton, President and CEO, Global Automakers

“We have been anxiously awaiting this rulemaking because it is good for the environment and will help harmonize the federal and California programs for both vehicles and fuels.  With 15 million new vehicle sales a year, automakers need predictable national fuel quality at the retail pump.  Ultra-low sulfur gasoline is already available in California, Europe, and Japan and will enable automakers to use a broader range of technologies to meet the significant environmental challenges facing the industry.”

Mark MacLeod, Environmental Defense Fund

“The new Tier 3 standards will make our cars cleaner, and that means we’ll have cleaner air to breathe.  Reducing tailpipe pollution will provide healthier, longer lives for millions of Americans for less than a penny per gallon of gas. That’s why updating the standards has such broad support from U.S. auto makers, state health commissioners, and health advocates.”

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