Arizona Adopts Clean Car Standards
By a 5-2 vote, the Arizona Governor's Regulatory Review Council on May 6 approved adoption of the California Low Emission Vehicle program, or Clean Car standards, making Arizona the fourteenth state to do so. Starting on January 1, 2011, manufacturers of passenger cars and light-duty trucks sold in Arizona must meet tougher average emissions standards for greenhouse gases than federal standards now mandate.
The Sierra Club's Grand Canyon Chapter has been promoting the Clean Car standards for years. Last year the chapter collected hundreds of postcards thanking Governor Janet Napolitano for signing an executive order establishing a statewide goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to the 2000 level by 2020 and 50 percent below that level by 2050. Sierra Club intern Stephanie Russo then shaped the postcards into a car to present to the governor. Above, Club organizer Tiffany Sprague, chapter director Sandy Bahr, Russo, and Lori Faeth, the governor's Natural Resource Policy Advisor, display the postcard car.
"Most of Arizona's pollution comes from cars and trucks, and about 39 percent of our greenhouse gas emissions come from vehicles," says Bahr, below, who served on the state Climate Change Advisory Group in 2005-2006. "Adopting Clean Car standards was one of our recommendations to the governor, and now we're finally there."
Automobile manufacturers said the standards would add at least $6,000 to the cost of new light cars and trucks, and a lobbyist for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers argued that the state Department of Environmental Quality lacks the legal authority to adopt the standards, saying state laws covering regulation of air "contaminants" do not include carbon dioxide. But the Regulatory Review Council rejected these contentions. At the hearing, Bahr quoted a 1973 claim by Chrysler that mandating catalytic converters on vehicles would put 800,000 people out of work and decrease tax revenues by $5 billion. "The car companies survived, and so did our economy," Bahr said.
Bahr cites the efforts of Grand Canyon Chapter Energy Chair Jon Findley for his work on the campaign, and thanks "a bunch of volunteers," including chapter leaders Danny Ruppert, Dan Steuter, and Sarah King for attending the hearing.