A coalition of 21 state attorneys general on Monday urged the Biden administration to consider tighter vehicle tailpipe emissions standards than what the administration has currently proposed.
Last month, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to ratchet up vehicle tailpipe emissions limits after the Trump administration weakened the standards.
In its proposal, the agency outlined three alternatives, a “preferred alternative” and two others that are less stringent and more stringent, respectively.
The Democratic state lawyers, alongside lawyers representing the cities of Washington, D.C., New York and Los Angeles, said that the EPA should consider the strictest alternative.
“We urge EPA to adopt the most stringent standards for which the statutory requirement to provide adequate lead time is satisfied,” they wrote in comments filed on the proposal.
They specifically cited the impacts of pollution on human health and the changing climate.
“There is no time to lose in acting to avoid the catastrophic impacts of the climate crisis. We, therefore, urge EPA to expeditiously adopt rigorous GHG standards for model years 2023 through 2026,” they wrote.
The EPA standards, alongside a separate set of vehicle milage standards from the Transportation Department, are expected to push the market towards electric vehicles.
In addition to these shorter-term standards, which will begin in the model year 2023 for the EPA and model year 2024 for the Transportation Department, the administration is also expected to pursue longer-term standards.
In the U.S., the transportation sector is responsible for more climate-warming emissions than any other sector.