WASHINGTON - May 7 - On May 5, Governor Carcieri, of Rhode Island, pledged to adopt a bill that will reduce air toxics by an additional 25 percent more than the federal emission standards, as well as hydrocarbon emissions an additional 16 percent. The bill would also cut greenhouse gas emissions by two percent by 2020 through stricter car emissions standards and will promote cleaner, advanced technology vehicles. The newly set standard will require automakers to sell approximately 14,400 hybrid electric vehicles and over 78,000 clean conventional vehicles in Rhode Island between 2007-2011, with that number continuing to increase over time. Governor Carcieris support for this standard comes about 10 days after the EPA announced that the entire state of Rhode Island fails to meet health based standards for ozone levels.
Rhode Islands announcement comes on the heels of the Connecticut Legislature overwhelmingly passed clean car legislation. Tailpipe emissions are the single largest source of air pollution in the state. There was broad bi-partisan support in both houses for the bill. Following fast on the heels of New Jersey's January passage of Clean Cars legislation, the Connecticut legislature took up the bill this spring. The Connecticut law will apply to 2008 model year cars. Cars and trucks contribute roughly 40% of pollution emissions in the state.
More and more states are demonstrating that clean air is as priority for public health, the environment and the economy. To date, the states who have adopted clean car legislation include California, New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Jersey, Connecticut and Rhode Island. There is active discussion of adoption of the similar programs in Maryland and Maine.
The Rhode Island Public Interest Research Group (RIPIRG) worked with a number of different organizations in advocating for the clean car proposal, including the American Lung Association of Rhode Island, American Heart Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, Rhode Island Medical Society, as well as many environmental groups such as Save the Bay, Conservation Law Foundation, Clean Water Action, Sierra Club and the Environment Council of Rhode Island. A complete list of coalition partners can be found on RIPIRGs website: www.ripirg.org
ConnPIRG partnered with an unusual alliance of public health, environmental and business advocates (including an auto dealer) to form the CT Clean Cars Alliance to push for swift passage of the bill. The groups will be vigilant to attempts by the auto industry to weaken the bill through other legislative means. www.connpirg.org.