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Howard A. Learner

Trump’s Tone-Deaf Rollback of Sensible Clean Car Standards

The backyard view from my kitchen isn’t as inspiring as the view from ELPC’s riverfront offices in downtown Chicago, but our staff’s effective advocacy continues in these challenging times, now from 46 connected remote home offices.

The backyard view from my kitchen isn’t as inspiring as the view from ELPC’s riverfront offices in downtown Chicago, but our staff’s effective advocacy continues in these challenging times, now from 46 connected remote home offices.

While most of the world’s leadership is laser-focused on addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, on March 31, 2020, the Trump Administration took time to roll back federal clean car standards. The sensible existing standards have been spurring vehicle innovation, modernizing the auto industry and creating jobs for the future, and reducing pollution that will save lives and alleviate respiratory ailments. We should be protecting Midwest jobs and public health right now, not putting them at risk, what a backwards sense of priorities.

Like the cheap carnival magician who implores people to look at his left hand while the right hand is doing the real action, the Trump Administration is hoping people won’t notice its misguided rollbacks. Even Trump’s own team admits the new car standards will result in more damaging pollution that creates more public health harms.

This dangerously misguided action by the Trump EPA and National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration could cost 45 of 50 states at least $1 billion in net consumer losses. It could cost all Americans a total of $300 billion in net losses according to a recent analysis by Consumer Reports.

That’s not even counting the public health costs of increased air pollution, which contributes to more asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Multiple studies have also found that higher levels of air pollution are linked to larger numbers of people hospitalized with pneumonia.

In the midst of a public health crisis, the Trump Administration is taking actions that will result in more pollution and worse public health. In the midst of an economic downturn, the Trump Administration is advancing inefficient cars, which means that drivers will pay more at the gas pump.

ELPC and our colleagues are paying attention, and we will challenge this legally flawed and misguided Trump rule in federal court. Please read our press statement here. ELPC is fighting back and playing to win – that sure has not (and will not) change.

Howard A. Learner,

President and Executive Director, Environmental Law & Policy Center

Howard Learner is an experienced attorney serving as the President and Executive Director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center. He is responsible for ELPC’s overall strategic leadership, policy direction, and financial platform.

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