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April 22, 2024 11:27 pm

Local News

Advocates back tougher EPA emissions rules for cars, trucks

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Danielle Smith, Public News Service

The Environmental Protection Agency has set new air pollution standards under the federal Clean Air Act for cars and light/medium vehicle models from 2027 through 2032 and beyond.

Pennsylvania ranks 43rd among states for average exposure of the public to airborne soot of 2.5 microns or less, according to America’s Health Rankings.

And the Pittsburgh and Weirton area is on the American Lung Association’s list of cities with the most year-round particle pollution.

Cara Cook, director of programs at the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, said nurses are seeing firsthand the effects of tailpipe pollution on community health, as more people end up in hospitals and doctor’s offices suffering from asthma and other diseases linked to breathing in dangerous air pollutants found in soot and smog.

“Research shows that traffic pollution is linked to premature death, lung cancer and asthma,” Cook pointed out. “What we’re seeing among nurses is that they’re increasingly concerned about the transportation sector as a leading source of pollution.”

According to the EPA, the new air-quality standards will prevent more than 7 billion tons of carbon from being emitted and save the country $13 billion in health care costs related to improved air quality. Experts said they expect the rule to be challenged in court by the fossil fuel industry.

Chris Harto, senior policy analyst for Consumer Reports, said the move is a historic step toward cleaning up the transportation sector, bringing the nation closer to the Biden administration’s goal of a 60% reduction in emissions from new vehicles by 2030 and increasing quality of life for people living in areas with high levels of vehicle traffic.

“They will deliver over $1 trillion in consumer savings, eliminate billions of tons of climate pollution and save thousands of lives,” Harto asserted.

The Biden administration said once fully implemented, the new standards will save the average driver an estimated $6,000 in reduced fuel and maintenance over the life of a vehicle.

This article originally appeared on Public News Service and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.