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Clean Transport

NRDC to Congress: Don’t Pass Pollution Measure That Enables Auto Emissions Tampering

WASHINGTON — A proposed air pollution exemption now before Congress would harm U.S. air quality and Americans’ health and welfare, according to testimony that was delivered to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in a hearing that convened today at 10:00 am ET.

The Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act of 2021 (S.2736) would significantly increase air pollution by creating a dangerous exemption for after-market “defeat devices.” These devices effectively turn off vehicle emissions controls, and many companies have marketed and sold over one million of them for cars and trucks driven on America’s roads and highways. According to an EPA report, defeat devices on 550,000 illegally tampered pickup trucks caused more than 570,000 tons of resulting excess nitrogen oxide (“NOx”) emissions.

Typically, the Clean Air Act’s anti-tampering provisions would bar the manufacture, sale and installation of “defeat devices” for motor vehicle emissions control systems. But the new measure would create a gaping exemption in the Act that, in effect, will encourage bad actors to market and sell them.

Transportation produces more than half of the smog-forming nitrogen oxide emissions, almost a third of the volatile organic compound air pollution, and over one-fifth of the particulate matter air pollution in the United States. Together, these air pollutants aggravate asthma, cause bronchitis, lung disease, heart attacks, strokes, and even premature death.

Following is testimony John Walke, Clean Air Director for NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) delivered before a Senate committee this morning urging it to vote down the dangerous bill:

“[This exemption would] increase dangerous air pollution nationally to a degree that would dwarf the harmful air pollution and health impacts of Volkswagen’s 2015 ‘dieselgate’ cheating scandal.

“EPA data … show that defeat devices and noncompliant vehicles on America’s streets and highways already are rampant, and the cause of one of the country’s largest sources of uncontrolled or badly controlled air pollution that causes smog.”

“S. 2736 would make it far easier to manufacture, sell and install defeat devices for on-road motor vehicles, and far harder—if not impossible—to enforce the Clean Air Act against illegal defeat device practices by companies that pollute America’s skies and harm Americans’ health.

Walke’s full testimony is available here.

Courtesy of NRDC.

Featured image by Francine Sreca from Pixabay

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NRDC is the nation's most effective environmental action group, combining the grassroots power of 1.3 million members and online activists with the courtroom clout and expertise of more than 350 lawyers, scientists, and other professionals.


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