WASHINGTON – Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento) on Sept. 14 delivered the following remarks on the House floor in opposition to H.R. 1435.
H.R. 1435 would direct the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator to block California from implementing state-level vehicle emission standards under the Clean Air Act.
I rise today to speak in opposition to H.R. 1435.
California has long been a global leader in the fight against air pollution. Whether it’s greenhouse gases, smog, or other harmful pollutants, California has often been the first state to protect our citizens from the terrible health impacts of dirty air.
You get a lot of criticism when you’re a leader, and Californians are no strangers to criticism. But time and again, that criticism fades as the rest of the country and often, other countries, see the benefits of California’s emission policies.
In 1966, California established the first tailpipe emission standard in the nation. The country soon followed with the Clean Air Act of 1970, which created the EPA and established the first national air pollution standards.
But the Clean Air Act also recognized California’s leadership by explicitly affirming California’s authority to set more stringent emission standards.
Thanks to that authority, California continued to lead the fight against air pollution and adopted the first NOx standards and the first particulate matter standards for motor vehicles.
In 2004, California adopted the first greenhouse gas pollution standards for vehicles. EPA followed in 2010 with the first national standards for greenhouse gas pollution from vehicles.
Now, the impacts of climate change, caused by fossil fuel pollution, are becoming more numerous and deadlier. More frequent and more intense floods, hurricanes, wildfires, and heatwaves threaten to make our communities unlivable.
This bill, however, enshrines the internal combustion engine in the Clean Air Act. California is leading the nation with cutting-edge vehicle emission standards that will reduce greenhouse gas pollutants and lead the world in the fight against climate change.
But this bill is a love letter to Big Oil, legally mandating that Americans think first of the internal combustion engine before considering air quality or public health.
We have a chance to stop climate change before it’s too late, but this bill would keep dirty gas and diesel cars on the road forever, dooming our children to face the worst impacts of climate change.
I urge my colleagues to vote no on H.R. 1435.
As co-chair of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC), Matsui has long been a champion of bold climate action and the adoption of ambitious vehicle emission standards. She was a leading voice speaking out against the Trump Administration’s decision to challenge California’s emission standards in 2019, and has been a vocal proponent of the Biden Administration’s decision to reinstate California’s standards.
Earlier this month, Matsui, Reps. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.) and Nanette Barragán (D-Long Beach), and Sens. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) wrote to the EPA, urging them to finalize the strongest feasible greenhouse gas emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles. In July, Matsui, Markey, Padilla and Clarke urged the EPA to do the same for light- and medium- duty vehicles.
In March, that same group of lawmakers led 54 of their colleagues in urging the EPA to swiftly issue the strongest possible vehicle greenhouse gas emission standards for both cars and trucks by the end of March, and to finalize those rules by the end of the year, speeding up its deadline of March 2024.
In November 2021, Matsui and Sens. Markey, Padilla and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) led a letter to EPA to strengthen vehicle emission standards for passenger cars and light trucks for model years 2023 through 2026.
In March 2021, she led a letter with 70 of her colleagues urging the Biden Administration to take action to reinstate California’s standards and restore the Obama-Biden tailpipe emission and fuel economy standards.
On Thursday, by a vote of 222-190, the House passed the “Preserving Choice in Vehicle Purchases Act,” H.R. 1435, introduced by Rep. John Joyce (R-Pa.). The vote was largely along party lines, but eight Democrats voted with Republicans in favor of the bill.