PennFuture Urges Legislature to Stop Dirty Air Bill; House Committee Approval of Stealth Bill Attacking Clean Car Rules Endangers the Health of One Million Pennsylvanians
HARRISBURG, Pa., Oct. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future (PennFuture) today called on the Pennsylvania legislature to protect the health of one million Pennsylvanians by defeating HB 2141, a bill introduced yesterday, and passed by the House Transportation Committee with no public input and moved immediately to the House floor today. The bill would overturn the recent 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 Rendell Administration planned to publish the rules for comment and adoption as law. "This stealth attack against the clean car rules will hurt Pennsylvania - our public health, our competitiveness and the financial well-being of our families and businesses," said John Hanger, president and CEO of PennFuture. "Adopting a cleaner car standard will mean cleaner air, which is desperately needed by the one million Pennsylvanians with respiratory problems - most of them children or the elderly," continued Hanger. "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. But if this new bill passes, the legislature will not only fail to protect the public health of Pennsylvanians, but will also stop a key component to lowering health care bills. "Putting cleaner cars on the road will mean reducing our demand for gasoline, which will lead to price cuts. Are the legislators really ready to go on record against cheaper gas? "If the House Transportation Committee's action prevails with the legislature, we will also severely hurt our chances to attract new business," said Hanger. "Without a cleaner car rule, air pollution will continue to grow, making most Pennsylvania counties unable to meet clean air standards for ozone smog pollution, impeding their ability under the law to recruit new businesses and industries. Are the legislators really willing to cripple our chances for new industries and the jobs that come with them? "We urge the legislature to refuse to be steamrolled once again with bad legislation," concluded Hanger. "We urge them to vote against this dirty air bill." 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 makes a list 14-1/2 feet long in a tiny 7.5 font. It includes American-made and foreign SUVs, luxury sedans and compacts. 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. Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Vermont, Connecticut, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and California already have similar clean car programs.
SOURCE Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future (PennFuture)
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