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Tri-Caucus Members Oppose Weaker Clean Car Standards, Warn of Disproportionate Impact on Communities of Color

Aug 7, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.—  Members of the Tri-Caucus sent a letter to Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao in opposition to the Trump Administration’s recently announced plan to weaken federal clean car standards. The bicameral letter, which was led by U.S. Reps. Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44), Doris Matsui (CA-06), A. Donald McEachin (VA-04), expressed Members concerns that the new standards will result in an increase of air pollution, climate change impacts, and fuel costs that will disproportionately affect low-income communities and communities of color.

“Tailpipe pollution has been linked to a variety of health problems, including asthma and other respiratory and cardiovascular conditions that can lead to premature death, as well as low birth weight and impaired fetal brain development, with lasting health and cognitive impacts. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognizes this fact, stating that ‘economically disadvantaged and minority populations share a disproportionate burden of air pollution exposure and risk’ and ‘experience higher residential exposure to traffic and traffic-related air pollution than nonminorities and persons of higher socioeconomic status,’” wrote the Members of Congress.

They added, “climate change, like air pollution, disproportionately affects low-income communities and communities of color. From coastal towns suffering from more severe tropical storms, to urban neighborhoods suffering from increasing heat waves, our communities are hit earliest and hardest by climate change. With transportation surpassing the energy sector as the largest source of greenhouse gas pollution, federal vehicle emissions standards are the most effective policy we have on the books to combat climate change.”

The Natural Resources Defense Council and Green for All applauded the lawmakers for their effort:

“Our nation’s clean car standards work to protect low-income households and communities of color who bear the brunt of harmful tailpipe pollution and suffer most from paying more at the pump,” said Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Members of Congress who represent frontline communities should join with these leaders to prevent the Trump administration from driving these protections into a ditch.”

Michelle Romero of Green For All said, “Tailpipe pollution is a huge health and safety issue, and the Trump Administration is playing fast and loose with it. Recent studies have shown that traffic related pollution results in more death than traffic related accidents. Attempting to weaken fuel economy and emissions standards while forcing working families to foot the bill in increased gas prices and medical costs, is unconscionable.”

Text of the letter here: