Former California Governor Jerry Brown addressed a House Subcommittee in Washington Tuesday where he warned that removing higher emission standards and other clean car initiatives on automobiles will have dire consequences in the future.
Brown, who was the Governor of California from 1975 to 1983 and from 2011 to 2019, also plead with the congressional subcommittee to not halt fuel efficiency standards and to not stop California and other states from having higher environmental standards on cars.
“Rolling back California’s clean car rules, as the president is proposing, is just plain dumb, if not commercially suicidal. It also would jeopardize the health of millions of Americans,” stated Former Governor Brown on Capitol Hill Tuesday. “Consumers will waste billions of dollars at the pump on high-polluting vehicles. It will undermine American competitiveness, create enormous uncertainty for the auto industry, and threaten jobs and investments in clean energy and cleaner cars.”
“This is not about me,” continued Brown. “I’m older than all of you guys, I’ll be dead. But your kids are going to be alive and they’re going to face a terrible future. And if you don’t face the reality and do something about it, you are complicit.”
Brown’s day at Congress comes only a day after the majority of automakers from around the world sided with the Trump Administration’s plans to end California’s emission and fuel efficiency standards. Only a week before, the Department of Justice went after California for entering into agreement with the Canadian province of Quebec over their carbon cap and trade programs.
While many members of Congress were receptive to Brown, others defended President Trump’s actions. Republican Representative James Comer of Kentucky was particularly defensive over states having their own emission plans.
“We can’t have an environment where every state has its own emissions plan,” said Representative Comer. “That’s uncertainty to the industry that I think is arguably the most important industry in America – the automotive industry.”
While the argument of automobile emission standards isn’t new, the outcry over massive federal changes has been. New standards put in by the Obama administration in 2012 called for a vastly improved average fuel efficiency with more emission standards. However the Trump administration’s plans, after initially dialing down standards, plan to freeze them in place with a rigid federal standard to make it easier for automakers to comply with state by state.
During his day in the nation’s capital, Former Governor Brown simply pointed out the cons of a rollback outweighing the pros.
“The world is facing a climate crisis,” explained Brown. “People are fleeing their homes, homes are being burnt to the ground. Trump is setting us back in California, in America and throughout the world.”
The issue is currently being investigated in Congress and in the courts, with the next steps deciding if California and other states can make their own standards.
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