Sen. Markey: ‘We Must Exceed’ Our Emissions Targets

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In full transparency, the following is a media release from Sen. Ed Markey , who was elected by voters in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to serve the state in Washington DC in the US Senate. He is a Democrat. (stock photo)

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WASHINGTON DC – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) released the following statement this week as President Joseph R. Biden announced the administration’s new vehicle greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy standards for cars, as well as a new target of ensuring that 50 percent of new vehicles sold in 2030 are battery electric, plug-in hybrid electric, or fuel cell electric vehicles. 

After four years of neglect, delays, and illegal attempts by the Trump administration and segments of the auto industry to sabotage efforts to protect communities and the climate from harmful vehicle emissions, the Biden administration is taking an important initial step to get us back on track. But we need to continually push ourselves to go further and faster if we want to protect public health, protect the climate, and protect American economic leadership,” said Senator Markey, Chair of the Subcommittee on Clean Air, Climate, and Nuclear Safety on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. 

“As we examine this proposed rule, we must make sure that the year-on-year improvements proposed by the Biden administration result in more emissions reductions than the historic standards promulgated in 2012, standards the auto industry negotiated and once supported, and that we make up for lost time. We must guard against the inclusion of legacy loopholes, which may allow for even lower greenhouse gas emissions standards than before,” said Sen. Markey. “We know the highest standards possible are economically feasible and technologically achievable because the automotive industry is already installing them. With the time we’ve lost and the dangers of the climate crisis more evident than ever, we must exceed our past targets – not just restore them. I look forward to working with the Biden administration, unions, clean air advocates, and manufacturers as the standards are finalized to improve them and make sure that we are doing everything in our power to address the climate crisis.” 

The Obama administration’s historic fuel economy and vehicle greenhouse gas emissions standard of 54.5 mpg per gallon by 2025 was enabled by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which included fuel economy standards co-authored by then-Rep. Markey and championed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). That law included Markey’s language that said the standard must be at least 35 mpg by 2020, and that the “maximum feasible standard” must be set every year. 

Then-Representative Markey first offered his fuel economy amendment in 2001, following years of Republican legislative riders that prevented fuel economy increases from being adopted. He brought his legislation up for a vote in successive sessions of Congress, until the provisions were finally included in the 2007 energy bill. 

However, the Trump administration rolled back this rulemaking, despite the 2011 agreement from automakers on the rule and a 2016 midterm finding by the Environmental Protection Agency that the standards were appropriate and could even be increased. 

In March 2021, Senator Markey and Representative Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) were joined by 79 other members of Congress in letters to President Biden urging the administration to reset ambitious fuel economy and vehicle greenhouse gas emission standards, using the Obama-era standards as a baseline

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