PRESS RELEASE: Applauding Clean Cars Standards for CT

CCCA Applauds Announcement of New Vehicle Standards
Adoption projected to avoid 137 million tons of CO2, 3,300 tons of ozone a year, and 22,900 asthma attacks

New Haven, CT—The Connecticut Coalition for Climate Action applauds Governor Lamont’s release of proposed regulations to adopt essential clean vehicle standards that will reduce pollution, improve public health, and strengthen our economy.

The proposed suite of regulations for Advanced Clean Cars II (ACCII) and Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT), and the Heavy-Duty Omnibus regulations establish more stringent tailpipe emission standards and will require an increasing percentage of vehicles offered for sale in the state to be zero emissions vehicles, such as electric vehicles.

The proposals now enter a 30-day public comment period before going before the Connecticut General Assembly’s Regulations Review Committee for final approval.

Save the Sound’s climate and energy attorney, Charles Rothenberger, speaks at a July 26 press conference with Governor Ned Lamont, DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes, state legislators, and climate advocates.

Adopting these standards is critical. Connecticut’s transportation sector currently accounts for 40 percent of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions, far more than any other sector, and heavy‐duty vehicles are responsible for a disproportionate share of those emissions (approximately 25 percent of emissions, despite accounting for only 6 percent of vehicles in the state). Heavy-duty vehicles are also major contributors to nitrogen oxides (NOx) and fine particulate matter (PM). Cleaning up these emissions is particularly important for the health of low‐ and moderate-income populations living in our dense urban communities and along the state’s major transportation corridors.

These regulations are the natural evolution of standards that California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and a dozen other states have been successfully implementing for two decades. The most recent standards have already been adopted by a growing number of states across the country; there are 17 that currently enforce some version of California’s motor vehicle standards.

Multiple reports over the last year have analyzed the benefits that will accrue to Connecticut by 2050 through adoption of these standards.

In 2022, DEEP released An Assessment of Connecticut’s Need to Adopt California’s Medium and Heavy-Duty Vehicle Emission Standards, its analysis demonstrating that adopting the medium-and heavy-duty vehicle standards will “result in annual reductions of ground‐level ozone pollutants of between 2,600 to 3,300 tons a year, and cumulative reductions in greenhouse gas emissions of nearly 1.5 million metric tons. DEEP has estimated that adopting these standards “could save Connecticut residents more than $271 million in healthcare costs by 2040.” By 2050, cumulative savings in healthcare costs are estimated at $413 million.

A report released by Save the Sound in April 2023, in anticipation of the proposed light-duty regulations, indicated that the failure of Connecticut to adopt these clean vehicle standards would jeopardize Connecticut’s clean air and carbon emission reduction goals and the state’s efforts to improve public health. The Connecticut Electric Vehicle Policy Impact Study, conducted by international climate change consulting firm EBP, concludes that the economic and societal benefits of adopting California’s vehicle standards are “compelling and significant.” Among those anticipated benefits are:

  • $25.7 billion of value added to Connecticut’s GDP
  • $40.1 billion increase in net business income
  • 128,200 net new job-years in CT
  • 137 million metric tons of CO2 emissions avoided, the equivalent of planting 3.5 billion trees

Similarly, a report released last month by the American Lung Association, Driving to Cleaner Air, examined the potential health benefits of adopting the ACC II standards and identified the following benefits for Connecticut:

  • $11.5 billion in monetized health benefits
  • 1,060 premature deaths avoided
  • 22,900 asthma attacks avoided
  • 120,000 lost work days avoided

The Connecticut Coalition for Climate Action comprises environmental advocates, health experts, labor and municipal representatives, and others advocating for climate action in Connecticut. Formed in 2023, the Coalition’s central goal is to ensure that Connecticut keeps its promise to cut climate pollution and protect our future. The steering committee is comprised of American College of Physicians – CT Chapter, CT League of Conservation Voters, Conservation Law Foundation, Environment Connecticut/ConnPirg, Mark Mitchell, M.D., aMorhkat LLC, Save the Sound, Sierra Club – CT Chapter, and The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut.

Members of the CCCA responded to today’s announcement:

Charles Rothenberger, climate and energy attorney at Save the Sound: “Two decades ago, Connecticut became a leader on cleaner transportation by adopting the Clean Cars I standards. Now it’s time to take the next step in achieving the kind of emissions reductions that the best available science tells us are essential for the health of people and the planet. Taken together, the regulations introduced today will provide long overdue updates to our vehicle standards, placing Connecticut on the path to transforming and modernizing the transportation sector and providing substantial environmental and health benefits for the citizens of Connecticut.”

Samantha Dynowski, director of Sierra Club Connecticut: “Today marks a win for clean vehicles and clean air for our communities. We applaud the Lamont Administration for advancing these important programs to reduce transportation pollution in Connecticut, which will improve public health and protect the climate.”

Shannon Laun, vice president of Conservation Law Foundation Connecticut: “Tailpipe emissions from cars and trucks overheat the planet and pollute the air in our communities, with the worst impacts in low-income and minority neighborhoods. These new rules are a critical step forward in confronting the climate crisis and cleaning up the air for people in Connecticut.”

Lori Brown, executive director, CT League of Conservation Voters: “The legislation that our state lawmakers and the Lamont administration put together last year to tackle climate change put us on a path to reduce tailpipe emissions from heavy-duty vehicles like trucks and buses. The public comment phase on these proposed regulations will help everyone understand the responsibilities and public benefits that will come with these updated vehicle standards. We don’t need endless debate and more studies to know what a positive impact this will have on every community across Connecticut and the region.”

Nathan Frohling, director of external affairs, The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut: “We are pleased that the Lamont administration is moving forward with adoption of these vehicle standards. These rules will accelerate the necessary, large-scale transition to zero emission vehicles across the state. Such a step is critical towards lowering Connecticut’s transportation emissions.”

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