In the wee hours of November 28, the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board and the Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board adopted California Clean Car emissions standards for cars, SUVs, and light trucks, making New Mexico the thirteenth state to do so. Only new cars that meet these standards will be sold in the state starting with model year 2011.
The Sierra Club's Rio Grande Chapter partnered with a coalition of public health, conservation, and faith-based groups in supporting the clean car standards at public hearings before the two boards, charged with choosing between the California standards or the weaker federal tailpipe standards.
Testifying against the tougher standards were the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the New Mexico Automobile Dealers Association, Farm and Livestock Bureau, and Cattle Growers Association, who argued that the standards were too difficult to meet and would hurt their respective industries.
Sierra Club attorney David Bookbinder led a panel of coalition witnesses and cross-examined auto industry testimony. Among the Rio Grande Chapter volunteers who testified in favor of the California standards were Norma McCallan, Dexter Coolidge, and Eva Thaddeus, pictured above at a Step It Up climate action rally in Albuquerque earlier this year.
With Canada also on board, more than forty percent of the North American auto market is now covered by clean car standards. Want your state to be next? Learn what you can do to get on the clean car bandwagon.