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October 02, 2013

Delaware Needs Clean Car Standards Now

Traffic2It's finally fall in Delaware, the air feels fresh and crisp and we have left behind the bad air quality days of summer. Thankfully, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) is moving forward with clean car standards that can help us make code red days a thing of the past. Last week, at a public hearing in Dover, Sierra Club delivered the message that DNREC must finalize these clean car standards as soon as possible.

Cars and trucks remain the leading source of smog-forming pollution in Delaware, contributing to health-threatening high ozone days. In a recent report, the American Lung Association awarded air quality in Delaware's three counties two F's (New Castle and Sussex) and one D (Kent) due to the frequency of high ozone days. The proposed standards will reduce smog-forming pollution from our passenger cars and trucks by 75%, preventing premature death, reducing asthma attacks, and giving Delawareans cleaner air to breathe.

At the same time, DNREC is proposing to move forward with an incentive program to increase the number of electric vehicles within the state. While this is a strong step forward, DNREC must work with stakeholders to ensure that the public has a voice in how such an incentive program is structured.

To put a serious dent in our dependence on oil and significantly reduce tailpipe pollution, Delaware must move forward with the process of adopting the state-level Zero Emission Vehicle program as soon as possible. This program would set a clear goal for the adoption of plug-in electric vehicles within the state and ensure that Delaware consumers have cleaner choices at the showroom.

DNREC is accepting public comments on its proposal to reduce air pollution with clean car standards. I urge you to send the department a quick email and tell them to finalize clean car standards as soon as possible. With your help, we can put bad air quality days in the past.

-- Stephanie Herron, Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator, Sierra Club Delaware

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