PennFuture Praises House for Sending Dirty Air Bill Back to Committee
HARRISBURG, Pa., Dec. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future (PennFuture) today praised the members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for sending HB2141, a bill that would repeal Pennsylvania's Clean Vehicles Program, back to the Environmental Resources and Energy Committee for deliberation and hearings. The bill would overturn this fall's unanimous Environmental Quality Board (EQB) vote to allow the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to move forward with regulations requiring cars sold in the Commonwealth to meet more protective pollution standards beginning with the 2008 model year. The regulations were first proposed by the DEP under then Governor Tom Ridge, but were delayed. The committee assigned control of the clean car program repeal by today's House action is chaired by Representatives William F. Adolph, Jr. (R-Delaware) and Camille "Bud" George, (D-Clearfield), both of whom voted for the program in their capacity as members of the Environmental Quality Board. "We are truly pleased that the members of the House refused to be railroaded into passing bad legislation," said Jan Jarrett, vice president of PennFuture. "The proposed cleaner car standard passed by the EQB will mean cleaner air, which is desperately needed by the one million Pennsylvanians with respiratory problems -- most of them children or the elderly. With less pollution being released, we should see fewer asthma attacks, other breathing problems and cardiac problems, all of which are exacerbated by pollution from cars and trucks. And putting cleaner cars on the road will reduce our demand for gasoline, which will lead to price cuts, meaning more money in the bank for all Pennsylvanians." "It isn't just the families of Pennsylvania that were put at risk by HB2141, the bill attacking clean car rules," continued Jarrett. "Businesses and industries across the Commonwealth were also on the chopping block. Without a cleaner car rule, air pollution will continue to grow, and existing and new businesses and industries will be required to clean up more and more to help Pennsylvania to meet federal clean air standards. Clearly, the legislators got the message about this job-killing bill and decided that cooler heads needed to prevail. "The members of the House recognized what a really bad idea this dirty air bill is and did the right thing today," concluded Jarrett. "This is a big win for public health and Pennsylvania's environment and economy. Once this bill is seriously studied, we are confident that the legislators will support the clean car program." The clean cars program unanimously approved by the EQB requires automakers to reach an average pollution standard for vehicles offered for sale in Pennsylvania. In other words, automakers must ensure that sales of vehicles that emit more pollution are balanced out by sales of those that emit much less pollution. For new car sales beginning with the 2008 model year, only those vehicles certified by the California Air Resources Board could be sold and registered in Pennsylvania. The list of cars certified and available for sale this year includes American made and foreign SUVs, luxury sedans and compacts. And vehicles sold in New York, which already has a similar clean car program, are exactly the same average price as those currently sold in Pennsylvania. In 1998 during the Ridge Administration, Pennsylvania adopted the California car program in order to be able to participate in the National Low Emission Vehicle (NLEV) Program. Under the terms of the NLEV program, which expires in 2006, the state was supposed to fully implement the program starting with model year 2006 -- this year. However, changes to the clean car program and other considerations made it necessary for Pennsylvania to move implementation back to the 2008 model year. In addition to New York and California, Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Rhode Island already have similar clean car programs.
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