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Colorado AG Ready to Fight for Strong Emission Standards

Colorado's attorney general wants to keep the state's standards for vehicle emissions, which are higher than federal standards. (AdobeStock)
Colorado's attorney general wants to keep the state's standards for vehicle emissions, which are higher than federal standards. (AdobeStock)
October 8, 2020

DENVER -- On the heels of another summer plagued by dangerous heat, drought and fires, some of Colorado's top leaders are speaking out against the rollback of clean-car standards.

Just as the COVID-19 pandemic took over the country, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a rule reversing course on Obama-era vehicle emission standards, which aimed to reduce vehicle emissions that contribute to climate change.

Phil Weiser, Colorado's attorney general, contended the move rejects sound science and undermines Colorado's authority to set standards higher than the federal government's.

"Under lots of administrations, people played by the rules, you could plan on the rules and you could make decisions," Weiser argued. "But now they're seeking to change the rules in the middle of the game for us to put us and our land, air and water at risk."

Weiser said that's why Colorado is among the nearly two dozen states challenging the rollback in federal court.

The EPA said the revamped policy sets reasonable targets for the auto industry while protecting the environment.

State Sen. Jeff Bridges implored now more than ever, Colorado has to remain serious and vigilant about addressing climate change.

"The pollution that we have outside, the brown cloud that we now see hovering over Denver has negative health impacts for people in our state," Bridges asserted. "We know what we need to do to fight it and we just need the federal government to let us do what we've already been doing and get out of our way so we can help fix this problem."

Weiser noted the clean-car standards were entered into at a time when the automobile industry was on the ropes, and there was a federal bailout of the industry to save jobs and pave the way for a clean-energy future.

"They needed a bailout, they needed a helping hand," Bridges recalled. "And our federal government gave them that and there were expectations that they would step up their mileage standards, they would address their emissions."

It's estimated if the standards stay put, Coloradans would save $2,700 dollars on average at the gas pump and the state could add 7,300 new jobs by 2030.

Mary Schuermann Kuhlman, Public News Service - CO