DEP applauds federal support for clean car standards

April 28, 2021

Contact: David Madore, Deputy Commissioner (207) 287-5842

AUGUSTA, April 27, 2021 - Yesterday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to reinstate California's authority to require year-over-year reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases from automobiles and require automakers to sell more electric cars. This action also confirmed the well-established authority of other states to adopt similar measures. In 2013, EPA had granted California a waiver under the federal Clean Air Act allowing it to move forward with new greenhouse gas and zero emission vehicle standards for cars and light trucks. While California is the only state allowed to establish its own motor vehicle standards, other states may adopt the California standards. Maine, along with 12 other states from the northeast to the far west have adopted the cleaner California vehicle standards.

The Department commends EPA for acting quickly to propose restoration of the California waiver. We also applaud the agency for recognizing the authority granted by the Clean Air Act for other states to adopt Californias greenhouse gas emission standards and zero emission vehicle regulations. As a result, states that choose to enact similar regulations and the nation will benefit from the continued reductions in motor vehicle pollution that the California program provides, along with corresponding public health and economic benefits.

Nationally, the transportation sector is the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions and a major contributor to smog, particulate matter, and toxic air pollutants that endanger public health and the environment. Strong vehicle emission standards are a critical component as America addresses threats to air quality and climate stability. At the same time, the authority embedded in the Clean Air Act for California to set more protective standards and for other states to adopt those standards is an important state right, the exercise of which has historically paved the way for stronger national standards to protect public health and the environment.

In partnership with California, Maine and other states will continue to play a vital role in the effort to decarbonize the transportation sector and curb emissions of other harmful air pollutants from cars and trucks. However, strong national standards are also needed to ensure the U.S. automotive industry remains globally competitive in a rapidly changing marketplace and to position our country to be a climate leader. We therefore urge EPA to act swiftly to develop future standards that drive a rapid transition to zero emission vehicles.