Colo. toughens car rules

Source: Maxine Joselow, E&E News reporter • Posted: Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) today signed an executive order to adopt California’s clean car rules, even as the Trump administration prepares to weaken the federal standards.

E&E News reported earlier today that some environmental groups in Colorado had anticipated the move from Hickenlooper, who is seen as a potential presidential candidate in 2020 (Climatewire, June 19).

The move could crank up the pressure on the Trump administration to reach a compromise with California and the other states following its standards.

It comes as the White House Office of Management and Budget is meeting today with automaker groups and the California Air Resources Board about finding a path forward on the rules.

The executive order instructs the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to develop a rule establishing a low-emission vehicle (LEV) program.

The department will then propose the rule to the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission during its August meeting, for possible adoption by December.

“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,” Hickenlooper said in a statement.

“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.”

National green groups praised the move.

“Governor Hickenlooper’s announcement today will be a win-win for all Coloradans,” Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund, said in a statement.

“It will help provide cleaner air and climate security, and will save Colorado families hard-earned money at the gas pump,” Krupp said. “At a time when the Trump administration is attempting to throw our most effective pollution control measures into reverse, Colorado is showing that states can step up and maintain the protections we need.”

Dominique Browning, senior director of Moms Clean Air Force, said in a statement, “Cleaner, more efficient vehicles not only save our families money at the pump; they also help reduce air pollution and combat climate change — preventing harmful health impacts such as asthma attacks that keep our kids indoors and out of school for too many days each year.”

Conservation Colorado is holding a press conference this afternoon featuring an 18-foot-tall inhaler to emphasize the move’s impact on public health.

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) also expressed support for the decision, saying in a statement, “Federal fuel economy emission standards are on track to save American families money at the pump, create jobs, and boost manufacturing — the Trump administration should not block this progress.”