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Get electric trucks on the road in California to clean up our air

Supporters Spoke up in this Action
To the California Air Resources Board

Action Ended On

May 29, 2020

What Happens Next

Thank you to all who took action during this 30-day comment period! The California Air Resources Board considered your comments and approved the Advanced Clean Trucks rule on June 25–26, 2020. Input from thousands of members of the public like you helped defend against a late push to block the rule by the oil industry. Because of California’s market power, the new rule will help jumpstart a transition to electric trucks in other states, many of which are already committing to follow California's lead, cleaning up our air and aiding the fight against the climate crisis. Across the country, Earthjustice attorneys are working to help our nation’s transportation sector transition away from gasoline combustion to electric vehicles and zero emissions.

What was at Stake

The state agency that’s in charge of protecting us all from air pollution just announced their proposed plan for the Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT) regulation, which promises to transform truck manufacturing in California and beyond. California’s heavy-duty trucks produce roughly 40% of the nitrogen oxides that are a principal component of California’s smog — smog that creates diesel death zones that linger over communities and contribute to asthma, heart problems, cancer, and premature death.

Rapidly phasing out diesel trucks for clean electric trucks would be a huge win for our communities, public health, and air quality.

We can't afford to delay our efforts to clean up the air. New research from Harvard shows that COVID-19 mortality significantly increases with even slightly higher levels of air pollution. As California battles this colossal public health challenge, we’re learning just how important the state’s progress to clean up our air truly is. Transitioning California's heavy-duty trucks to clean electric trucks is vital for our collective future. We have until May 28 to urge the California Air Resources Board to finalize this rule and reject industry calls for delay.

Marijan Murat / picture alliance via Getty Images

An employee of Daimler AG holds a charging plug on an electric charging station, with electrically powered Mercedes-Benz eActros in the background, at a press event in Stuttgart, Germany, February 18, 2020.

Your Actions Matter

Your messages make a difference, even if we have leaders who don't want to listen. Here's why.

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You level the playing field.

Elected officials pay attention when they see that we are paying attention.

They may be hearing from industry lobbyists left and right, but hearing the stories of their constituents — that’s your power.

Our legislators serve at the pleasure of the people who gave them their job — you. When you contact your elected official, you’re putting a face and a name on an issue. Whether or not you voted for them, they work for you, for the duration of their term.

Make sure your elected officials know whose community and whose values they represent. (Find your local, state, and federal elected officials.)

Your action is with us in court.

If a federal agency finalizes a harmful action, the record of public comments provides a basis for bringing them into court.

Throughout each of the public comment periods we alert you to, Earthjustice’s attorneys are researching and writing in-depth, technical comments to submit — detailing how the regulation could and should be stronger to protect the environment, our communities, and our planet.

We need you to join us — your specific experiences, knowledge, and voice are crucial to add to the Administrative Record through the comment periods.

Lawsuits we file that challenge weak or harmful federal regulations rely on what was submitted during the comment period. The court can only look at documents that are in the Administrative Record — including the public comments — to decide if the agency did something improper.

Your actions aid our litigation. Taking action and submitting comments during a comment period is substantively important.

It’s the law.

Federal agencies must pause what they’re doing and ask for — and consider — your comment.

Many of us may have never heard of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), but laws like these require our government to ask the public to weigh in before agencies adopt or change regulations.

Regulations essentially describe how federal agencies will carry out laws — including decisions that could undermine science, or weaken safeguards on public health.

Public comments are collected at various points throughout the federal government’s rulemaking process, including when a regulation is proposed and finalized. (Learn more about the rulemaking process.) These comments become part of the official, legal public record — the “Administrative Record.”

When the public responds with a huge outpouring of support for environmental protections, these individual messages collectively undercut politicians' attempts to claim otherwise.

What this means is each of us can take a role in shaping the rules our government creates — and ensuring those rules are fair and effective.