Colorado Joins California Low Emission Vehicle Program In Rebuke To Trump

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Last spring, when the US Environmental Protection Agency first proposed rolling back the fuel economy standards put in place by the Obama administration on its way out the door, Colorado governor John Hickenlooper saw the handwriting on the wall and decided to take action. He issued an executive order directing the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to establish a Colorado Low Emissions Vehicle program that incorporates the requirements of the program developed by the California Air Resources Board.

Colorado governor John HickelooperUnder the Clean Air Act, only California has been granted a waiver that permits it to impose more stringent vehicle emissions rules than the federal standard. But other states are free to adopt the California rules if they wish to. So far, a dozen states and the District of Columbia have done so. As the result of the governor Hickenlooper’s executive order, Colorado has now become the 13th state to sign on to the CARB initiatives.

At the time his executive order was promulgated, Hickenlooper said,  “As the highest-elevation state in the country, Colorado has unmatched natural beauty and world-class recreational opportunities, but it also creates unique challenges. Our communities, farms and wilderness areas are susceptible to air pollution and a changing climate. It’s critical for Coloradans’ health and Colorado’s future that we meet these challenges head on.” It should be noted that Colorado already has one of the highest EV incentives of any US state — a $5,000 state tax credit.

The governor made it plain his order was aimed directly at protecting the residents of Colorado from the emissions rollback being proposed by the federal government and vigorously supported by US automakers. “Colorado has a choice. This executive order calls for the state to adopt air quality standards that will protect our quality of life in Colorado. Low-emissions vehicles are increasingly popular with consumers and are better for our air. Every move we make to safeguard our environment is a move in the right direction.”

Next Gen Transportation reports the Air Pollution Control Division of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has now completed the necessary public hearings and unanimously approved a new regulation entitled Colorado Low Emission Automobile Regulation (CLEAR) which adopts the provisions of the California low emissions program. That means automakers now will have to build cars that comply with California rules for one more state. Combined, all those states and Washington, DC account for about 40% of the US new car market.

The new rules are a “cost-effective and sensible backstop” for Colorado in the event of the federal rollback actually takes place. It still faces a number of legal challenges from consumer advocacy groups who believe asphyxiating the citizens of the United States with particulates and other toxic pollutants is a poor policy choice. It is also a blatant and deliberate thumb in the eye of Donald Trump, America’s hateful and hate filled alleged president.

The road toward a federal fuel economy rollback just got a tougher thanks to the courage of Governor Hickenlooper and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." You can follow him on Substack and LinkedIn but not on Fakebook or any social media platforms controlled by narcissistic yahoos.

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