MD AG Attorney General Frosh Joins Coalition Urging EPA to Adopt More Stringent GHG Standards for Light Duty Vehicles

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BALTIMORE, MD (September 27, 2021) – Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh today joined a coalition of 21 attorneys general, the cities of Denver, Los Angeles, New York, Oakland, San Francisco, and San Jose, and the counties of Denver and San Francisco in urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to adopt more stringent greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) standards for passenger cars and light trucks.

The transportation sector accounts for nearly one-third of all GHG emissions in the United States. Reducing emissions from this sector is essential to stave off the worst effects of the climate crisis and to confront the inequitable distribution of climate change impacts on low income communities and communities of color. More stringent standards will also decrease fine particulate air pollution and ozone – two pollutants that cause significant adverse health impacts. According to EPA estimates, the proposed standards would result in between $86 billion and $140 billion of total net benefits.

“After several years of emissions rollbacks, we are urging the EPA to reverse course and implement standards that will help fight the climate crisis, not fuel it,” said attorney General Frosh.

Already, Americans are witnessing the catastrophic results of climate change, whether it be wildfires and heat waves, extreme weather events and dramatic precipitation changes, or other changes that affect agriculture and food production. In 2020 alone, there were 22 billion-dollar weather events, the most recorded since the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration began tracking the cost of these disasters. The average number of billion-dollar events since 1980 is seven; the average number since 2015 is more than double at 15.1. More stringent vehicle emission standards like those proposed by EPA can also directly improve health outcomes. Long-term exposure to particulate matter pollution is associated with up to 45,000 deaths annually. Recent studies show that air pollution may increase the vulnerability of individuals to contracting COVID-19 and may increase the severity and mortality risk from the virus.

GHG standards for passenger cars and light trucks are one of the best tools we have to reduce emissions, fight climate change, and protect public health. In today's comment letter, the coalition argues that:
  • More stringent standards advance the objective of Section 202(A) of the Clean Air Act, which requires the EPA to reduce threats to public health and welfare from harmful air pollution;
  • Automakers are well-positioned to meet the more stringent standards, as early as model year 2023, and the lead time is more than ample; and
  • The EPA’s analysis, and the full record, supports the finalization of more stringent standards.
Attorney General Frosh joins the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin, as well as the cities of Denver, Los Angeles, New York, Oakland, San Francisco, and San Jose and the counties of Denver and San Francisco in submitting today’s comments.