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Proposed Federal Rule Could Undermine California’s Eco-Friendly Laws

Proposed Federal Laws Could Negatively Impact California’s Eco-Friendly Laws

On August 02, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a notice of proposed rulemaking called the Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule for Model Years 2021-2026, Passenger Cars and Light Trucks (SAFE Vehicles Rule). This proposed rule is designed to reconfigure national automobile fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards by suspending previously established anti-pollution manufacturing restrictions for automobiles. While the SAFE Vehicles Rule hasn’t yet been ratified as official policy, if approved, it would ultimately deprive individual states of the prerogative to maintain tailpipe pollution standards which are stricter than the federal government’s – a scenario that would drastically impede nationwide eco-friendly auto-manufacturing.

Opponents of the SAFE Vehicles Rule argue that it is detrimental to the cause of environmental conservation. This is because the rule essentially absolves automakers of the obligation to produce fuel-efficient cars, thereby encouraging them instead to abandon eco-friendly engineering practices. For example, previous regulations direct automakers to amplify the fuel economy of passenger vehicles to an average of 54 miles per gallon by 2025. Under the SAFE Vehicles Rule, this objective to work towards improving fuel-efficiency will no longer be prioritized. The rule will also eliminate mandatory requirements that automakers dedicate resources to develop greener vehicles such as electric cars and hybrids.

If any of the changes proposed by the SAFE Vehicles Rule sound objectionable to you, there is still an opportunity to make a difference on the final version of this proposed regulation. Full-text of the rule itself is available on the EPA’s website, and the rule has also been tabled for public comment via (Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2018-0283). The EPA and NHTSA will hold joint public hearings on this rule in Washington D.C., Detroit, MI and Los Angeles, CA. Dates and locations for these hearings will be announced in supplemental Federal Register Documents by each of these agencies. If you care about breathing clean air and creating a safer environment for futu! re generations, take a stand and make your voice heard. We each have an important part to play when it comes to conserving our planet.

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