CLEAN TRANSPORTATION

PRESS RELEASE: Federal Infrastructure Plan Promotes Pollution and Privatization

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Federal Infrastructure Plan Promotes Pollution and Privatization

 Proposal to gut environmental reviews from planning process is shortsighted, won’t save money

 

STATEMENT BY HOWARD A. LEARNER

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ENVIRONMENTAL LAW & POLICY CENTER

 

In response to the Trump Administration’s Infrastructure Plan proposal released today:

“America’s infrastructure needs investment and modernizing, but gutting our environmental laws is the wrong way to get there,” Learner said. “President Trump’s plan promotes pollution and privatization.”

“Smart infrastructure investments including modern higher-speed passenger rail for better mobility and water system improvements that advance healthier clean air and safe clean drinking water for all,” Learner said. “The Trump Administration’s proposal goes in the wrong direction and misses the best opportunities for achieving job creation and environmental progress together.”

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Driverless Cars: Envisioning the City of the Future

by Ellen Partridge 

ELPC has partnered with the Metropolitan Planning Council and the Shared Use Mobility Center to convene a series of three roundtables on autonomous vehicles. Our latest forum on January 30 brought the perspectives of architects, planners, and academics to the subject of how cities will be transformed by the new mobility. Over 90 transportation leaders, advocates, and public agency representatives came together to envision our future cities in the upcoming mobility revolution.

Featured speakers:

Kelley Coyner, Senior Fellow at the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. and founder of  MobilityE3.

Marshall Brown, founder of Marshall Brown Projects architecture and urban design studio and Associate Professor at IIT College of Architecture in Chicago.

Christopher Hall, Urban Strategy Leader in the City Design Practice at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Chicago.

Mary Wisniewski, transportation reporter for the Chicago Tribune, moderated.

The theme that drives the three forums is: “What are the questions that need to be asked about autonomous vehicles?” We surely don’t know the answers yet, but we will not get any closer without asking the questions. Chris Hall noted:  “To get to the promised land, we have to understand what it looks like.”

With no natural order to human transportation, there’s a lot of room for imagination here. This technological revolution is a once-in-a-century decision point. The shift to autonomous vehicles on our roadways will have the same impact as the move from horses to horseless carriages a century ago. The discussion raised some novel framing of questions:

  • “How do we write the future? What kind of urban spaces do we want to live in, and work in, and how do we leverage the technology to get there?” as Marshall Brown put it. With a future that includes driverless cars, the challenge is not just to respond to the new technology – and the fear and uncertainty that come with it – but to envision how it can be an opportunity to address issues of equity, funding for transportation, and environmental restoration.
  • What technology can we remove from the roadway when we add driverless cars to the mix? That might include stripping away signs, striping, stoplights, other traffic signaling apparatus, and the proliferation of roadside clutter.
  • Is the route that the driverless car chooses the best route for the passenger or the best route that considers congestion and other unintended consequences that affect everybody? When we put more of our fate in the hands of technology, are we making a deal about how we want to weigh the overall efficiency of the city’s mobility?
  • How do we create transparency about how the vehicles are designed to operate and how they are tested to ensure they conform to standards? With crashworthiness standards, test dummies can be tested to see how well the vehicle protects them in a crash. With crash avoidance technology, the tests are less straightforward. Kelley Coyner raised the issue that the current regulatory structure is designed to deal with the last hundred years of vehicle design, not the coming era when we need to assess how well the artificial intelligence and multiple sensors are working to keep us safe.
  • What should cities and states do now to get the data that will help plan the physical infrastructure that shapes the vision for the city that includes driverless cars? Land use issues are massive and affect all of us. What we all want is a “short commute, maximum flexibility and nice places,” but how do we get there?

Declarations of what’s needed were noted. Asphalt took a beating from all the speakers, with grim agreement to “get rid of asphalt.” Public transit had a mixed reception. No one foretold the extinction of public transit, but evolution was clearly demanded. All agreed a sufficient investment in the transit system is essential to get the benefits envisioned, and that the idea of “public transit” must be expanded to include a variety of shared uses (shuttles, Uber and Lyft kinds of services) and mixes of public and private operators. Also, the congestion paradox – in which the new mobility promise of both the ability to fulfill previously unmet demand as well as a system that reduces demand – will have to be unraveled.

A key issue is how to turn 20th Century transportation infrastructure into 21st Century human infrastructure. City streets that are less car-centric was a constant theme, with reflections on how the cobblestone streets of Marrakesh, the medieval streets of European cities and the streets of New Delhi share the commonality of having shared multimodal space that moves at “community speed.” Incorporating electric vehicle charging stations into changing infrastructure will boost adoption of electric vehicle technology and reduce air pollution. Parking space and how public space is used for the storage of vehicles will be part of the revolution.

New technologies will transform transportation, cities, and access to places where people live, work, play, learn, and dream. ELPC, MPC and SUMC will continue to further the conversation with the next roundtable on April 5, 2018, to discuss the readiness of our infrastructure for operating with and shaping this new technology.

You can watch the January 30 forum on CAN-TV, as well as the November 2 forum that addressed the public’s role in the mobility transformation.

An additional resource is an article in which Marshall Brown was interviewed for the New York Times Magazine, “Picturing the Self-Driving City” in The Tech & Design Issue: Life After Driving (Nov. 8, 2017).

Press Release: U.S. EPA Report Shows Fuel Economy Standards Saving Americans Money, Cutting Pollution

For Immediate Release
January 12, 2018

Contact: Judith Nemes

EPA Trends and Performance Report:
Fuel Economy Standards Helping Americans Save At the Gas Pump, Cut Pollution That Is Harming Public Health

STATEMENT BY HOWARD A. LEARNER
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ENVIRONMENTAL LAW & POLICY CENTER

Howard Learner, Executive Director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center, said in response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Trends and Performance Reports released Thursday:

“The EPA’s Trends Report shows clean car standards are driving innovation in auto manufacturing and putting fuel saving technologies to work. These standards are helping cars and light trucks to emit less pollution and use less gasoline and oil – that’s good for consumers, good for clean air, good for our climate, and good for reducing our dependence on oil.”

“Keeping strong fuel economy and clean car standards will ensure that American cars and trucks continue to improve with innovation technologies that deliver more and better choices for consumers along with fuel savings and less pollution.”

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Midwest Energy News: ELPC’s Kelter Applauds Indy Airport EV Shuttle Bus Expansion

At Indianapolis Airport, Electric Shuttles Making Holiday Travel a Little Cleaner
By Kari Lydersen

Shuttling between airport terminals on noisy, smelly buses can be one more headache for weary passengers.

It can also be a source of air pollution when fleets of diesel-powered shuttles run around the clock.

At the Indianapolis International Airport, the situation for passengers and the environment has improved with a fleet of electric airport shuttles that officials say will be the nation’s largest — at nine — once three new shuttles arrive next year. There are already six electric shuttles working the airport, and airport executive director Mario Rodriguez said an additional four will be ordered and put into service around 2020, bringing the total to 13.

An electric shuttle bus can cost several hundred thousand dollars more than a traditional diesel bus. Federal grants under the Zero Emissions Airport Vehicle (ZEV) program totaling $3.6 million over two years have helped the airport buy the shuttles. The ZEV program, created under the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, allows airports to use federal airport improvement dollars to buy zero-emissions vehicles.

Rodriguez is hopeful the airport will receive more ZEV grants, and he said they will continue buying electric shuttles regardless.

While the up-front cost difference is large, electric vehicles yield significant savings over time in fuel costs and maintenance, as electric vehicles are much simpler and cheaper to maintain than engines using liquid fuel.

In fact, Rodriguez said the airport expects to save $2 million in maintenance costs and avoid buying 66,000 gallons of diesel over the 10-year lifetime of the buses. Or rather the lifetime of their batteries — buses can usually be refurbished or outfitted with a new battery for a longer life.

“If they prove to be as solid as we believe they are, we probably could use the same buses for years to come, and just change the batteries,” Rodriguez said. “Most of this technology is completely proven. The electric motor is beautiful. It will last forever. The only thing we have to do is change the battery packs.”

Rodriguez considers the shuttles to be largely powered by solar energy since the airport boasts a solar farm capable of generating more than 20 megawatts that sends energy back to the grid.

While there may not seem to be a large amount of consumer choice involved in what airports people pass through, Rodriguez thinks the airport’s ambitious sustainability projects actually influence passengers and local residents enough to affect the bottom line. Among other things, Indianapolis was the first U.S. airport to win LEED certification for an entire terminal campus.

“What do you want out of your public enterprise?” asked Rodriguez. “Do you want them to be good stewards of the environment, do you want them to provide a high level of customer service, do you want them to treat the environment and people who live around the airport correctly? We want to elevate our public value — our stockholders are the public at large. Part of treating them respectfully is making sure we don’t hurt their environment.”

The electric shuttles specifically are also a selling point, he added.

“The passengers, they love it,” he said. “It’s quiet, it’s comfortable, it improves customer service. There’s no jerkiness with acceleration like you would get with a normal bus. It really is an improvement in customer service, it is an improvement for our drivers — our drivers love these buses. You don’t have to start it up, warm it up, do a bunch of things to it, it just starts.”

Many clean energy and transportation experts think it is only a matter of time before electric is the default power source for vehicles large and small. Electric cars are becoming increasingly popular and affordable, Tesla and other companies are developing electric semi-trucks, and school districts and transit authorities are increasingly eyeing and buying electric buses.
Rob Kelter, senior attorney for the Environmental Law & Policy Center, said the Indianapolis electric shuttles are a good example of how federal supports like ZEV grants can help accelerate an electric vehicle transition that will eventually have its own momentum.

“This is what good government programs do,” Kelter said. “They help get something like this started, and as the market develops and the price comes down, these incentives aren’t needed. This is a great new program and we hope it catches on in airports around the country and also that other people who have an opportunity to electrify their buses will take a look at this.”

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Howard’s Crain’s Chicago Op-Ed: Chicago Can Lead the Climate Change Fight

December 08, 2017

OPINION

4 Ways Chicago Can Lead the Climate Change Fight

By: HOWARD A. LEARNER

President Donald Trump has walked away from climate change reality. But, fortunately for all of us, American cities like Chicago are stepping up. The recent North American Climate Summit here brought together 50-plus mayors to sign the Chicago Climate Charter, committing to take initiatives to help meet the Paris Climate Agreement’s pollution reduction goals.

As former President Barack Obama said at the event, cities, states, businesses and nonprofits have emerged as the new face of American leadership on climate change. Chicago’s climate action plan calls for reducing greenhouse gas pollution by 25 percent from 1990 levels by 2020, and new clean technologies provide even more opportunities for progress.

But the hard and most important work comes next: transforming these declarations and sincere aspirations into real actions that reduce carbon pollution in ways that achieve environmental and economic development together. Sooner, not later.

At the summit, Chicago shined brightly under Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s leadership. Here are four ways that Chicago can advance its leadership and transform its public commitments into meaningful and measurable climate actions that benefit all Chicagoans, join with other large cities and set a model for small and midsize cities to replicate.

First, the city of Chicago should procure 100 percent renewable energy for municipal electricity needs by 2022, not wait until 2025. The Midwest has abundant wind power, and solar energy and energy storage capacity is accelerating as prices fall while technologies improve. Chicago and other Illinois cities can work together on coordinated purchases from new Illinois clean renewable projects. Both our environment and Illinois’ 450-plus clean energy supply chain businesses should benefit.

Second, clean up municipal fleets. All new purchases should be electric vehicles except in special cases. Our nation’s transportation sector now produces more carbon pollution than the electric power sector. Cities can create demand to drive the EV market forward while reducing pollution. EVs have fewer moving parts and lower operating maintenance costs than internal combustion engine vehicles. Using wind and solar energy to power EV charging stations accelerates a cleaner transportation system. Chicago and 29 other cities are exploring joint EV procurement. Let’s clean up CTA buses and Illinois school buses, too. Chicago’s on the path—do it now.

Third, use cleaner fuels for existing diesel trucks and buses. At the summit, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee touted how the city and county fleets have switched to renewable biodiesel fuel to reduce carbon pollution. Cleaner fuels warrant a serious look here. Let’s tap the expertise of Chicago’s universities, national labs and engineering firms. These are big pollution savings opportunities for Chicago and other Midwest cities.

Fourth, energy efficiency is the best, fastest and cheapest climate change solution. The Retrofit Chicago program, which focuses on improving buildings’ efficiency, won a C40 Cities Bloomberg award at the summit. (Home court advantage acknowledged.) Let’s accelerate and max out. Why wait? The time has never been better for cities to reduce their energy bills and cut pollution through energy efficiency improvements. What’s more, efficiency creates installation jobs, produces cost savings, keeps money in our neighborhoods and avoids pollution.

What’s the time frame? Soon—climate change is taking its toll with more extreme weather events. Let’s implement these municipal declarations through rapid effective actions to reduce carbon pollution in ways that achieve environmental and economic development goals together. And let’s work together to turn words into tangible actions, accelerate measurable progress and help advance the Paris Climate Agreement goals. Chicago and partner cities can lead while Trump lags.

 Howard A. Learner is president and executive director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center.

 

Detroit Free Press OpEd: Hey Michigan, use VW Settlement Money to Buy EV Buses for Schoolchildren

 

Hey Michigan, Use VW Settlement Money to Buy EV Buses for Schoolchildren

OpEd

By Toby C. Lewis and Janet McCabe

In Michigan, Governor Rick Snyder and state officials have an opportunity to help kids get a healthier start to their school day by purchasing clean electric school buses to replace dirty, diesel-powered school buses that cause asthma attacks. The state is about to get access to $65 million from a Volkswagen settlement that can only be spent on a few items to reduce air pollution, including electric school buses to replace the aging, dirty diesel fleet.

Over the course of nearly seven years, Volkswagen sold close to 600,000 diesel cars in the U.S. with engines programmed to trick emissions standards, contributing many tons of pollution to the environment. As part of a national settlement, the company is providing nearly $3 billion to states to support pollution-reducing projects.

A lot of Michigan kids can benefit from riding cleaner school buses. An estimated 660,000 children in communities across Michigan are climbing onto about 17,000 diesel-powered school buses every day.

There are three reasons why electric school buses make sense:

Healthier children: Children’s lungs are still developing and they breathe more rapidly than adults, making kids particularly vulnerable to the health impacts of exposure to diesel pollution. About 10% of Michigan children currently suffer from asthma, a disease that leaves lungs sensitive to irritation from the complex mix of fine particles, nitrogen oxides and other air pollutants in diesel fumes. These fumes seep into the cabins of school buses. Researchers at the Universities of Michigan and Washington have found that diesel school buses are responsible for millions of missed school days in the U.S. each year.

Healthier communities: A diesel bus driving around our cities and towns emits a chemical cocktail at ground level, near our schools, playgrounds and homes. The average school bus makes 85 stops per day. With an electric school bus, there’s no danger from running or idling engines, because no emissions come out of the tailpipe. In fact, there isn’t a tailpipe at all.

A healthier economy: States understand that a strong economy depends more and more on a healthy environment, which includes shifting to renewable energy resources. Because school buses operate according to school schedules, they can recharge their batteries overnight, when demand for energy is low. Electric school buses can also serve as local battery packs to provide extra juice back to the grid when it’s needed most. That reduces the demand on all energy sources providing power to the grid and creates a more sustainable power system with more clean energy as the source.

Electric school buses are not science fiction. There are already more than 100 on the road in North America, and American companies known for their diesel technology, like Cummins and Blue Bird, have announced investments in electric technologies for school buses.

Funds from the Volkswagen settlement are expected to be released once state agencies submit spending proposals. Governors putting VW money towards electric school buses would drive the market forward and costs down. School buses represent the largest category of mass transportation in our country, larger than transit and rail combined. We urge Michigan to help move this market to zero emissions and demonstrate leadership for health, the environment, our energy future, and most importantly, our children.

Toby C. Lewis is associate professor of pediatric pulmonology and environmental health sciences at the University of Michigan and attending physician at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor.

Janet McCabe served as the U.S. EPA’s acting assistant administrator for Office of Air and Radiation during the Obama administration and is currently a senior law fellow at the Environmental Law & Policy Center.

READ OpEd HERE

Indianapolis Business Journal: Cities can drive climate action with Paris Accord in flux

McCABE: Cities can drive climate action with Paris Accord in flux

November 11, 2017
OP-ED by Janet McCabe

Nicaragua has officially joined the Paris Climate Accord, and Syria just announced it intends to do so. That means the United States is now the only nation in the world outside this important global agreement. But while the federal government steps back, mayors across our country and across Indiana are stepping up.

Bloomington, Carmel, Crawfordsville, Gary, Indianapolis, Kokomo, Logansport and Whiting have made commitments to take meaningful action to address climate change. Mayors and their staffs from 18 Indiana cities attended the Second Climate Leaders’ Summit hosted by Earth Charter Indiana last month in Indianapolis. These cities can lead by example with climate-change solutions that provide a wealth of benefits for public health and the local economy and that save taxpayer dollars.

Clean energy and clean transportation deliver lower carbon and cleaner air. Fewer Hoosier children will miss school from asthma and other respiratory ailments, and fewer people will go to emergency rooms in respiratory or cardiac distress. Heat waves and floods—exacerbated by climate change—threaten lives, damage property, raise public safety costs and threaten Indiana’s agricultural economy. Climate action is a fiscally responsible priority for Indiana’s mayors.

It’s exciting that many Indiana cities say they want to be part of global climate-change solutions. If I were an Indiana mayor, I would ask: What are the best things I can do to serve my city and reduce my city’s carbon footprint? Here are three of the top options:

• Achieve 100 percent renewable energy for municipal electricity needs by 2022. The Midwest has abundant wind power, and solar energy and energy storage capacity are accelerating as prices fall and technologies improve. Cities can achieve 100 percent renewable energy by using locally produced solar energy plus storage, purchasing renewable energy from third parties, and securing renewable-energy credits from new in-state wind and solar projects.
• Clean up municipal fleets. Our nation’s transportation sector now produces more greenhouse gas pollution than the electric power sector. Indiana cities should buy electric vehicles or other zero-emission vehicles for non-emergency fleets. EVs have fewer moving parts and lower maintenance costs and their operating costs are lower and more predictable. Using wind and solar energy to power EV charging stations accelerates an even cleaner transportation system. And cities can help drive infrastructure for EVs that will support increased use of clean vehicles by residents and businesses.

• Rapidly improve municipal-building energy efficiency. Energy-efficiency investments produce cost savings and less pollution. Why wait? Many payback periods are short and the savings come fast. Replacing incandescent bulbs with LEDs is a no-brainer cost-saver and pollution-reducer. Antiquated HVAC systems and old appliances waste money and pollute more. Smart energy-efficiency products, technologies and controls are available. The time has never been better for cities to take stock of their energy use, then reduce their energy bills and cut pollution through energy-efficiency improvements.

• Cities can move forward with these three specific initiatives for clean energy, clean transportation and energy efficiency now and achieve significant pollution-reduction results. We should work together to turn words into deeds, achieve economic and environmental benefits together, and do our part to reduce the risks a changing climate pose to Hoosier communities.

 

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Midwest Energy News: ELPC’s Learner Says Clean Energy Advocates Should Focus More Attention on Clean Transportation

Study: Utilities should get in the drivers seat on electric vehicle infrastructure
By Kari Lydersen

It’s widely accepted that electric vehicles will become increasingly popular and affordable in coming years, and utilities are trying to make sure their grids can handle an influx of vehicles plugged in.

But a recent study by the global consulting firm Deloitte argues that utilities should embrace electric vehicles even more aggressively, treating them almost like power plants and “batteries on wheels,” incorporating them into the fabric of their electricity delivery and generation systems and ideally into their rate-bases.

“We’re really seeing this as a convergence of forces,” said study author Scott Smith, U.S. power & utilities leader for Deloitte LLP. “The technology, government policies, the auto manufacturers, and — we believe — the utilities, have a central role to play in this.”

The study says embracing electric vehicles and their charging infrastructure would help utilities with “three of today’s biggest challenges: stagnant demand, the requirement to integrate renewable and distributed energy resources seamlessly, and the need to engage customers and interest them in new services.”

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Columbus Dispatch Letter to the Editor: Ohio Can Make School Days Healthier with a Jolt from VW Settlement Funds

Letter to the Editor

Governor Kasich and Ohio officials can now choose to help Ohio kids miss less school while reducing air pollution. Ohio will get $75 million from a Volkswagen settlement to reduce air pollution. Replacing diesel-powered school buses with clean electric ones can achieve both goals.

Over seven years, Volkswagen sold 600,000 diesel cars in the United States with engines programmed to trick emissions standards. As part of a settlement, nearly $3 billion in fines is going to states for pollution-reducing projects. On October 2, the clock started ticking for Ohio’s Environmental Protection Agency to determine how it will spend our $75 million share. Replacing Ohio’s aging, dirty diesel school buses with electric buses is one of ten eligible ways Ohio can use this money.

More than 1 million Ohio kids in K-12 who ride the state’s 15,000 school buses would benefit.

Ohio should use this money on electric school buses for three reasons:

Healthier children. About 100,000-plus Ohio kids with asthma ride school buses. Diesel fumes seep into school bus cabins and can trigger asthma attacks. Asthma is a leading reason why kids miss school.

Healthier communities. Diesel buses emit a chemical cocktail near schools, playgrounds and homes. There is no air pollution from idling engines with electric buses because there are no emissions – and no tailpipe.

Healthier energy supply. School buses can tap the growing supply of renewable energy. Their batteries can charge overnight; their extra clean energy can feed the grid when needed.

More than 100 electric school buses are on North American roads. Columbus has committed to electrifying hundreds of its vehicle fleets. Ohio should commit a portion of its VW settlement funds for electric school buses. Governors putting VW money towards electric school buses would demonstrate leadership for health, the environment, our energy future and our children.

Professor and Coordinator
Environmental Health Science program
Department of Social and Public Health
Ohio University
Athens

Celebrating Clean Car Standards’ Five-year Anniversary: Don’t Mess with Success

by Ann Mesnikoff

Five years ago this month, the Obama administration’s Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency, along with California, issued national Clean Car Standards. These standards were meant to ensure that new cars, minivans and pickups sold between 2017 and 2025 would use less gasoline to travel a mile and emit less climate pollution out of the tailpipe.

Setting standards through 2025 was intended to give the auto industry a clear, long-term direction for innovating and putting technologies to work. When those standards were finalized in 2012 they had the support of the auto industry, labor, and public health groups – and ELPC! Unfortunately, these well-designed standards are threatened by the Trump administration’s assault on Clean Cars. ELPC has been working hard over the last month to oppose this rollback.

When EPA started its attack on tailpipe standards in August, we noted that “If fully implemented, the EPA and DOT’s standards would save families up to $122 billion at the pump, save more than 12 billion barrels of oil and keep 6 billion metric tons of dangerous carbon pollution out of the atmosphere.”

EPA held a public hearing in Washington, D.C., and I made sure EPA heard loud and clear that Clean Car Standards matter in the Midwest. They are a key policy in reducing the threats climate change poses to the Great Lakes and the region. They are driving innovation and job growth in the clean car sector. Across the Midwest, there are a total of 151,714 jobs in 480 facilities associated with making cleaner vehicles, according to a recent Blue Green Alliance and NRDC analysis. Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio top the list.

I reminded EPA that “Every action the United States takes to reduce greenhouse gas pollution is critical. Emissions from the transportation sector now surpass those from power plants and EPA has an obligation under the Clean Air Act to protect public health and welfare – this decisively includes action on greenhouse gases.” ELPC made sure EPA heard from our members and supporters across the Great Lakes states and beyond.

The Department of Transportation has also launched its attack on clean cars. Together with EPA, DOT had made clear that it is looking at weakening standards and diminishing the oil savings, consumer benefits and innovations anticipated when they were issued back in 2012.

The Midwest region alone stands to save approximately 55 billion gallons of oil through 2030 with full implementation of the standards. Again, ELPC made sure that DOT heard from our members and supporters that it should continue with strong Clean Car Standards.

It is not surprising that the auto industry weighed in, complaining that the standards whose fifth anniversary we celebrate this month are now too strong. One of the groups representing a large swath of the auto industry, the Auto Alliance, whose tagline is ironically “driving innovation,” submitted lengthy comments on all the reasons the standards now demand too much of them. The industry is saying it needs more “flexibility” and  “credits” that make it easier for them to comply but actually undermine the goals of oil savings and climate and public health benefits.

Their complaints today are a complete about-face considering the auto industry helped formulate the 2012 standards. And, when DOT and EPA, again with California, compiled a detailed report about how the industry was advancing technologically, they found automakers were adopting fuel-saving technologies at an “unprecedented rate.” And recently, in the Detroit News, the International Council for Clean Transportation, based on their own analysis, confirmed just that — that automakers continue  “to play technology leapfrog at an astounding rate.”

Celebrating Clean Car standards is just as important as fighting to protect them. It gives us an opportunity to remind the current administration’s disrupters that these standards are pushing the industry to innovate and we are all benefitting from the resulting oil savings and reduced pollution. Urging EPA and DOT to keep their standards strong is essential.

At the EPA’s daylong public hearing last month, officials listened to overwhelming support for keeping standards strong. The voices ranged from environmental and public health groups to retired generals and religious leaders. Representatives of today’s youth spoke up too.   I was proud that one of them was my daughter.  She spoke about the future and the cars she and her peers may one day buy. Weakening standards, she told them, would be insane.

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