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March 04, 2010

Automobile Dealers - Nada!

This is a guest post by Ann Mesnikoff, director of the Sierra Club Green Transportation Campaign.

Unfortunately, I can't speak Spanish but I know what NADA means - nothing. An alternative definition for NADA is National Automobile Dealers Association and nada (the Spanish definition here) is what they want to have happen when it comes to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) action on climate change.  On March 1st, NADA sent a letter supporting Senator Lisa Murkowski's resolution to prohibit EPA from regulating greenhouse gas pollution under the Clean Air Act.

Murkowski's resolution, aka the Dirty Air Act, would not only block EPA from taking responsible steps to regulate CO2 and other greenhouse gases which threaten public health and the environment, it would kill EPA's historic greenhouse gas standards which complement new fuel economy rules.

Contrast NADA's "nothing" approach to tackling greenhouse gas pollution for vehicles under the Clean Air Act with what happened last week in California as reported by Megan Norris, Sierra Club California's clean car organizer:
California and the nation have a reason to celebrate. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) voted unanimously to pass a resolution that accepts compliance with federal greenhouse gas emission standards established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) fuel economy program as compliance with CA's vehicle emissions standards.

Sierra Club California's Director, Bill Magavern testified at the hearing applauding CARB for setting the example for the rest of the nation when it comes to setting standards to reduce greenhouse gas emissions spewing from our passenger vehicles. The auto manufacturers showed up, but this time it was to applaud CARB and the US EPA for taking steps to set national greenhouse gas standards. In fact, the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers (AIAM) and Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (AAM) both testified that they look forward to working on setting the next wave of national greenhouse gas standards for model years 2017 and beyond. Sierra Club California will be working hard to hold them to their end of the bargain.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions coming from our cars and trucks across the country could significantly clean up our air for our children and future generations, create new jobs and advance technology by creating a new green vehicle industry. Union of Concerned Scientists research shows that by setting high standards drivers could save tens of billions of dollars, curb US oil usage by 1.3 million barrels each day by 2020, and cut emissions that cause global warming by 217 million metric tons in 2020.

Next steps include the US EPA setting the final national standards by March 31, 2010. 
In addition to what automakers said in California last week, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers - which represents GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota and many other major automakers - has specifically expressed support for EPA finalizing its greenhouse gas standards along with new fuel economy standards: "It's important to manufacturers to have those rules in place so that we can finalize future product plans," said alliance spokesman Charles Territo.

Nada - nothing - is not the answer.

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