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Federal Court: Reinstate Fines for Gas Guzzlers
By Andrea Germanos
A federal court on Monday stopped another of the Trump administration's attacks on clean air—its indefinite delay of stricter penalties for automakers producing vehicle fleets that don't meet fuel efficiency standards.
"Today's court order is a big win for New Yorkers' and all Americans' health and environment," declared New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
The ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit means the higher fine—going from $5.50 per tenth of a mile per gallon to $14 per tenth of a mile per gallon of fuel a vehicle guzzles beyond the standards—stays in place.
Leading environmental groups as well as a Schneiderman-led a coalition of attorneys general had filed suit to stop the Trump administration's planned delay of the Obama-era rule. A weak fine, they argued, serves as no incentive for automakers to improve technology that can slash carbon dioxide emissions.
"Americans will breathe easier because the court undid the Trump administration's bizarre attempt to encourage toxic tailpipe pollution," said Vera Pardee, senior counsel at the Center for Biological Diversity. "Cheap fines incentivize automakers to produce gas-guzzlers that fuel climate change and spew harmful pollutants. Reinstating proper penalties will help protect our kids' lungs and our planet's future."
According to NRDC's Irene Gutierrez, the ruling's "a victory for consumers, our economic security, public health and the planet." She explained:
There is no reason to give automakers a cheap way out of compliance with the standards. The benefits of automakers meeting those targets are HUGE. The fuel economy standards for model years 2012 to 2025 will reduce oil consumption by 3.1 million barrels of oil per day in 2030. This in turn reduces climate-harming greenhouse gas emissions, avoiding production of 570 million metric tons of carbon dioxide—the equivalent of taking 85 million cars off the roads, or 140 coal-fired power plants offline.
In addition, she said,
The decision adds to the list of failed efforts by the Trump administration to illegally roll back environmental protections including efforts to scrap methane emissions rules and rules regarding royalty payments on oil and gas leases. We'll likely see more of these decisions over the next few years, as courts hold agencies to follow the procedures required by law.
Given such failures, added Schneiderman, "As we've proven again and again, when the Trump administration puts special interests before public health and our environment, we'll take them to court—and we will win."
Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Ketura Persellin
Global consumption of beef, lamb and goat is expected to rise by almost 90 percent between 2010 and 2050. But that doesn't mean you need to eat more meat. In fact, recent news from Washington gives you even less confidence in your meat: Pork inspections may be taken over by the industry itself, if a Trump administration proposal goes into effect, putting tests for deadly pathogens into the hands of line workers.
‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics
The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.
Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.
The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.