FUMO URGES SUPPORT FOR CLEANER CARS
HARRISBURG, December 12, 2005 – Pennsylvania should adopt the tough clean vehicle standards proposed by the state Environmental Quality Board, and should not pass legislation to override the board’s decision, state Senator Vince Fumo (D-Philadelphia) said today.
Fumo urged his colleagues to reject efforts that would prevent the Environmental Quality Board’s Clean Vehicle Program from taking effect. Two bills – one that has passed a House committee and one introduced in the Senate – would countermand the EQB’s move to require cleaner-burning, more fuel-efficient cars in Pennsylvania.
In addition to the paramount health benefits of the more stringent standards, cleaner cars are also crucial to the state’s and the nation’s economic health, Fumo said.
He cited a need to decrease our nation’s reliance on Middle Eastern oil for national security reasons, a need to begin weaning our economy from a diminishing worldwide oil supply, and the economic stress that will be caused by rising oil prices as growing nations such as China and India push demand for oil upward.
"We have to think ahead, and start reducing our reliance on oil. Fuel-efficient cars is one of many steps we must take now, before it becomes too late," Fumo said.
He also noted that Pennsylvania must comply with the federal Clean Air Act. If the state does not reduce vehicle emission, the burden to cut releases into the atmosphere will fall upon businesses.
"If we fail to reduce the gases coming out of the tailpipe, then we are going to have to reduce them coming out of the smokestack. We will have to make it up by imposing much more harsh sanctions on businesses, and that will be damaging to our state’s economy. That could cost us severely in the loss of good-paying jobs in those industries," Fumo said.
He also pointed out that more fuel-efficient cars are better for individual consumers in the long run, because drivers will spend less on gasoline. They would save even if the cost of the cleaner-burning cars should rise, which is not a certainty.
Pennsylvania started on the path to the clean car standards under the Ridge Administration, and the Rendell Administration is proceeding through the final stages toward adoption. The EQB has gathered input from people with diverse viewpoints and has weighed a considerable amount of data in reaching its decision.
"I would urge my colleagues in the legislature not to override arbitrarily a process that has worked effectively for many years. . . The EQB has done an excellent job, they are taking our state in the right direction, and we should not intervene," Fumo said.
While some critics have charged that Pennsylvania is ceding its authority to another state by adopting the stricter California standard, Pennsylvania has adapted the standards to its own circumstances, and would not be bound to any future changes California decides to make. Other states have already adopted the California standards, and auto makers will be manufacturing cars to meet them, as well as the weaker federal standards.
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