Colorado Is Trying To Be Like California On Regulating CO2 Emissions

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Tim Pearce Energy Reporter
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Colorado is adopting California standards on regulating vehicle emissions as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) seeks to reduce federal limits set under former President Barack Obama, The Hill reported Tuesday.

Colorado Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper issued the state executive order to copy California’s regulations Tuesday.

A dozen states have opted to follow California’s alternate standards under the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) benchmarks. The Obama administration exempted California from following federal vehicle emissions laws, granting the state a license to develop tougher standards. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has begun the process of rolling back CAFE, saying Obama’s EPA set the standards too high.

“Colorado has a choice. This executive order calls for the state to adopt air quality standards that will protect our quality of life in Colorado,” Hickenlooper said in a statement. “Low emissions vehicles are increasingly popular with consumers and are better for our air. Every move we make to safeguard our environment is a move in the right direction.”

Pruitt’s rollback of CAFE standards is setting up a legal fight between the federal government and California as the state prepares to defend its license to develop separate standards. Other states, those using the standards set by California, will likely join in any legal action on California’s side.

“Cooperative federalism doesn’t mean that one state can dictate standards for the rest of the country,” Pruitt said in an April statement announcing CAFE’s rollback. “EPA will set a national standard for greenhouse gas emissions that allows auto manufacturers to make cars that people both want and can afford — while still expanding environmental and safety benefits of newer cars.” (RELATED: EPA’s Scott Pruitt Begins Repeal Of Obama Climate Regs For Cars, Trucks)

Current federal CAFE standards require cars to average 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.

Colorado auto dealers reacted skeptically to Hickenlooper’s action. California is not Colorado, and the standards crafted to regulate one state might not work in another. Each state’s vehicle market is different in that 53 percent of California’s vehicles are considered trucks, with Colorado at 75 percent, according to The Denver Post.

“We have serious concerns about a local government board ceding its authority to another state board that has no accountability to the citizens of Colorado,” Colorado Auto Dealers Association CEO and president Tim Jackson told The Denver Post. “In California, they test their air quality in places such as San Francisco and San Diego, not in Aspen, Telluride, or even Denver or Colorado Springs.”

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