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Demand strengthened clean car standards

Delivery to EPA Administrator Michael Regan

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What’s At Stake

On his first day in office, President Biden directed the Environmental Protection Agency to review the Trump administration’s rollback of clean car standards. Transportation is the largest source of carbon pollution in the U.S. and vehicle emissions pose a major threat to people’s health — especially in low-income communities and communities of color, where governments deliberately built pollution-inducing highways. Clean car standards are a critical tool to tackle the climate crisis and reduce dangerous air pollution in our communities.

Biden’s EPA recently proposed standards that recover crucial lost ground, but stop short of the ambition we need. President Biden has committed to bold action on climate and environmental justice, and we need solutions that meet the moment. The EPA must enact the strongest possible standards to put the U.S. on a path to an all-electric, zero-emissions transportation future — and to meet President Biden’s goal of cutting climate pollution in half by 2030.

Cleaner cars are a win for the environment, public health, and our economy. Strong standards will reduce our dependence on oil, save drivers billions at the pump, and prevent thousands of premature deaths and billions in health care costs every year. They will drive innovation in the auto industry and create jobs building technology that cuts pollution.

Earthjustice took the Trump administration to court to defend clean car standards. Join us in calling on the Biden EPA to strengthen these common-sense environmental and public health protections.

Photo from the perspective of a backseat passenger in an electric car driving through Holland Tunnel in New York City.
MECKY / GETTY IMAGES

An electric car drives through a tunnel.

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.