New Mexico AG Joins Coalition In Defense Of Federal Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards For Light-Duty Vehicles

From the Office of the Attorney General:

ALBUQUERQUE — Attorney General Hector Balderas, as part of a coalition of attorneys general and cities and counties, filed a motion Tuesday to intervene in defense of federal greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) standards for light-duty vehicles.

The transportation sector accounts for nearly one-third of all GHG emissions in the United States, and light-duty vehicles account for nearly 60 percent of those transportation sector emissions.

As part of efforts to reduce emissions from this sector, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently finalized more stringent GHG standards for model years 2023 to 2026 passenger cars and light trucks. A multistate coalition urged the EPA to adopt such standards, and a similar coalition now seeks to join the EPA in defending these standards from challenges filed by  a coalition of states, industry, and think tanks.

“New Mexico is facing some of the worst impacts of climate change, and it’s important to protect our natural resources and clean air for our communities,” Balderas said. “The auto industry is extremely innovative and I am fully confident it will rise to the challenge of increased standards.”

The EPA’s GHG standards for light-duty vehicles are critical — for reducing emissions, improving air quality, and protecting public health. By 2050, the EPA estimates that the standards will reduce GHG emissions by 3.1 billion metric tons, as well as reduce emissions of particulate matter (PM2.5) and nitrogen dioxide – two pollutants which cause significant adverse health impacts – by 14,700 tons and 60,200 tons respectively. Conservatively, the standards are expected to result in between $120 billion and $190 billion of total net benefits. 

In today’s motion to intervene, the coalition argues that the GHG standards are critically important to states, which are already experiencing the economic, public health, and environmental impacts of climate change. 

Balderas has supported the Biden Administration’s efforts to reduce emissions from the transportation sector and encouraged it to reaffirm California’s authority to do the same. This past summer, Balderas submitted comments urging the EPA to restore California’s waiver under the Clean Air Act for its GHG and zero emission vehicle standards. Balderas also joined a coalition in urging NHTSA to repeal a Trump-era rule, known as the “Preemption Rule”, that purported to preempt California’s GHG and zero-emission-vehicles standards. Dec. 21, 2021, NHTSA announced a repeal of that rule. 

In filing the motion, Balderas joins the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin, as well as the California Air Resources Board, the cities of Denver, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco, and the county of Denver and San Francisco.

A copy of the motion can be found here.

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