Trump ‘blew it’ on vehicle emissions, now Oregon must step up

President Donald Trump and Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt blew it.

The agency’s decision this week to reverse tailpipe emissions standards is bad news. It’s bad for the environment, bad for business and bad for consumers. In addition to increasing air pollution in two-thirds of the country, this rollback will take the U.S. auto industry backwards at exactly the moment they need to accelerate clean transportation.

Consumers in the left-behind states, those not protected by strong emissions standards, will be saddled with gas-guzzling cars, trucks and SUVs that are more expensive to drive. Those states could become the global dumping ground for dirty vehicles as the world moves away from outdated, polluting technology in favor of cleaner transportation. And while no one voted for costlier driving and more air pollution, that’s what this administration is delivering, as it puts corporate interests above the health and wellbeing of everyday Americans.

In the absence of federal leadership, Oregonians and our leaders must do everything in our power to protect the health of our families. And it turns out, we’re pretty powerful. Because back in 2005, recognizing how important it is to reduce tailpipe pollution, Oregon Environmental Council co-led the campaign that resulted in our state adopting California’s clean car standards. We were joined by more than 100 businesses and more than 5,000 Oregonians in this effort.

That campaign proved to be one of Oregon Environmental Council’s proudest efforts in our 50 years of service to the state. Because we joined 12 other states and the District of Columbia to exercise our state authority to adopt these clean cars standards, Oregonians will continue to have access to cleaner vehicle choices while breathing easy, despite the misguided federal rollback.

Published April 4, 2018. Click here for the second half of this op-ed at the Portland Business Journal’s website.

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