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Philadelphia City Council, Community Groups Hold Hearing on Trump Rollback of Auto Pollution Standards

PennEnvironment, Moms Clean Air Force, join Councilwoman Reynolds Brown to oppose proposed rollback.
Flora Cardoni

[Philadelphia, PA]  – More than 50 citizens, doctors, nurses, parents, local elected officials, and non-profit advocates gathered at City Hall today to have their voices heard about the Trump administration’s proposal to rollback critical federal fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks.

Put into effect in 2012, these standards would nearly double the fuel economy of new cars and light trucks by 2025, reducing  oil consumption and pollution, and saving consumers millions of dollars at the gas pump.

“These standards are instrumental in ensuring a safe planet, protecting human health, and spurring the innovation that fuels our economy,” said Flora Cardoni, Climate Defender Campaign Director for PennEnvironment. “Pennsylvanians are seeing the benefits already and the citizens gathered here today make it clear that Pennsylvanians want these standards to stay in place.”

In the absence of a Federal hearing in Pennsylvania, concerned citizens took matters into their own hands and were joined by elected officials from the local, state, and federal level in voicing opposition to these short-sighted rollbacks.

“This Administration’s effort to repeal clean cars standards is tone deaf and consistent with the disconnect and indifference to the wishes of the American public echoed by the withdrawal from the Paris climate accord,” said Senator Sharif Street (D-Philadelphia). “It’s my responsibility and intent to ensure fair and consistent access to affordable fuel prices and uncontaminated air for constituents throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”

“I am disheartened that the Trump Administration has chosen to categorically put the public health of millions of Americans at risk by redoing very successful clean air standards.  It is some consolation that Pennsylvania is one of the 13 states who have maintained state-level clean car standards and I am poised to continue working with Governor Wolf and other responsible leaders who wish to maintain high standards and ensure that industry has the certainty they deserve. Let’s be clear that public health is threatened, climate change hastened, and our overall economy is put at risk when technology and science are ignored to lower vehicle standards,” said Congressman Dwight Evans (D-PA 02)

Transportation is a major contributor to smog and is now the top source of climate pollution. Recent studies show that 1 in 4 days in the Philadelphia area are “bad air” days with dangerous levels of air pollution. These conditions result in increased asthma attacks, cardiac problems, and other health issues for children, the elderly, and other vulnerable populations with respiratory ailments.

“My children’s health, the health of their friends and classmates, and the health of our city as a whole depends on the clean car and fuel efficiency standards that have already been determined to be attainable and effective,” says Mollie Michel, South Philadelphia resident and Field Organizer for Moms Clean Air Force.

“By dramatically reducing air pollution, more fuel efficient cars are a winner for our health and the planet,” said Dr. Walter Tsou, Executive Director for Philadelphia Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Beyond protecting public health and the environment, the current fuel efficiency  standards also benefit consumers, businesses, and the economy. For example, Pennsylvanians have already saved over $1.2 billion at the gas pump from these fuel efficiency standards, and the average Pennsylvania household will save $1,650 by 2030.

"According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, changes in the greenhouse gas concentrations and other drivers alter the global climate and bring about a myriad of human health consequences. Stronger clean car standards will help reduce the degraded air quality that affects the health of our most vulnerable citizens", said Councilwoman Reynolds Brown. "The importance of clean air cannot be underestimated especially for the safety of our children, who will one day inherit the keys to our environment."

The coalition of groups and elected officials agreed to continue working together to defend the nation’s existing fuel efficiency standards from rollbacks and attacks in Washington DC.

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Moms Clean Air Force is a community of over 1,000,000 moms and dads nationally with 60,000 members in Pennsylvania united against air pollution to protect our children’s health.  

PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center  is a statewide, citizen-based environmental advocacy organization working for clean air, clean water, and protecting our natural heritage. To learn more, visit www.PennEnvironmentcenter.org