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MA Set to Sue EPA to Maintain Fuel-Efficiency Standard

Environmentalists say raising fuel-efficiency standards helps slow climate change that causes severe weather, flash floods and extreme temperatures. (Schwoaze/Pixabay)
Environmentalists say raising fuel-efficiency standards helps slow climate change that causes severe weather, flash floods and extreme temperatures. (Schwoaze/Pixabay)
August 3, 2018

MEDFORD, Mass. – State, city and business leaders say the EPA's plan to freeze the fuel-efficiency standard is bad for public health, the environment and consumers.

After months of wrangling, the EPA on Thursday released its plan to freeze the fuel-efficiency standards for cars and light trucks for six years. It was set to increase to an average of 54 miles-to-the-gallon by 2025 but will remain at about 35, the standard set for 2020.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey says the Bay State will be joining 19 other states in suing the Trump Administration to stop the rollback.

"We've seen a lot of stupid, harmful decisions by Trump administration and the EPA, but this has to go down in the books as one of the dumbest ever when you think about the harm to the air quality, to the health of our children and communities, the harm of consumers at the pump," says Healey.

The administration claims freezing the fuel standard will cut more than $2,000 off the price of new cars and result in fewer highway deaths, but opponents contest those findings.

Medford Mayor Stephanie Burke believes the rollback could jeopardize the environment and the health of Bay State residents. She notes that from expanding public transportation and renewable energy to joining the Paris Climate Accord, Massachusetts has put a lot of time and effort into cleaning up the air.

"This would be going backwards,” says Burke. “It's going the opposite direction and we don't think that the federal government should be putting us in a worse condition than we are now."

Burke says after 18 months of attacks on environmental regulations, it's time for the EPA to live up to its name by really protecting the environment.

"They should look at the big picture and see how it impacts citizens, health, asthma, all of the conditions that we're experiencing, and to stop and let the states do what they need to do because we know what's happening on the ground level and they certainly do not," says Burke.

The EPA plan also would eliminate California's right to set higher mileage requirements than the EPA. Massachusetts and about a dozen other states now use the higher California standard.

Andrea Sears/Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - MA