COLUMBUS, Ohio - Groups concerned about air quality, climate change and local control are speaking out to oppose the Environmental Protection Agency's plan to impose a lower federal standard for vehicle emissions, and prevent states from requiring more pollution controls on cars.
The administration claims this will lower the price of new cars and boost sales. But Paul Billings, national senior vice president for public policy at the American Lung Association, says it will lead to dirtier tailpipe emissions that hurt human health directly - and indirectly by worsening climate change.
"Climate change makes air quality worse, says Billings. "We have more hot smoggy days, more droughts that drive wildfire, more extreme weather events. So not taking action to address carbon pollution makes air quality worse and threatens health."
The administration is revoking a Clean Air Act waiver that allowed California and 13 other states plus Washington D.C. to enact higher tailpipe emissions standards. Vehicle emissions have been linked to higher rates of asthma and premature death.
Lakewood Mayor Mike Summers says Ohioans want cleaner air and more fuel-efficient cars - and don't want the federal government to stand in their way.
"It's pathetic," says Summers. "I think it's enormously hypocritical of President Trump to be arguing some issues of local control such as immigration and then pull this one-size-fits-all on energy. It's just appalling."
The change goes into effect in about two months but is certain to be challenged in court. The administration is expected to release a new set of lower emissions standards sometime in the next few months.
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