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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 Whitney E. Akers
- "The Game Changers" is a new documentary on Netflix that posits a vegan diet can improve athletic performance in professional athletes.
- Limited studies available show that the type of diet — plant-based or omnivorous — doesn't give you an athletic advantage.
- We talked to experts about what diet is the best for athletic performance.
Packed with record-setting athletes displaying cut physiques and explosive power, "The Game Changers," a new documentary on Netflix, has a clear message: Vegan is best.
By John R. Platt
When it comes to solving problems related to wildlife trade, there are an awful lot of "sticky widgets."
By Bijal Trivedi
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report on Nov. 13 that describes a list of microorganisms that have become resistant to antibiotics and pose a serious threat to public health. Each year these so-called superbugs cause more than 2.8 million infections in the U.S. and kill more than 35,000 people.