Mayor Murray, Councilmember O’Brien issue statements on Trump administration’s rollback of critical vehicle efficiency standards

Today, Mayor Ed Murray and Councilmember Mike O’Brien released the following statements in response to the Trump administration’s rollback of critical vehicle efficiency standards:

“President Trump’s decision to roll back vehicle efficiency standards weakens clean air protections at a time when the U.S. and the world need urgent action to combat climate change,” said Mayor Murray. “This action sends a signal to the world that the U.S. is backing away from climate leadership. Vehicle efficiency standards have been critical in spurring innovations in cars and trucks that have resulted in cleaner air and water, and lower greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, a quarter of Seattle’s greenhouse gas reductions since 2008 can be attributed to the increasing fuel economy of our cars.

“Highly efficient and electric vehicles are the future of transportation and turning back efficiency standards will not halt our determination to achieve a clean energy economy. It will, however, create significant costs for the U.S.—in terms of air quality, health impacts, and the opportunity costs of losing our global leadership role in shaping a healthy, just, and prosperous future.

“There are signs that today’s action is just the first in a series of efforts to weaken our clean air protections. Seattle is determined to remain a global clean energy leader. In 2005, Seattle City Light became the first public electric utility to achieve zero net greenhouse gas emissions and has maintained that carbon neutral status every year since. Last year, we launched Drive Clean Seattle which helps our city fight climate change by reducing our dependence on fossil fuels while increasing our use of electric transportation.

“Unfortunately, we do not have the luxury of waiting to act on climate. Seattle will stay united with cities in the U.S. and around the world to meet our commitments under the Paris Agreement. And we will continue with our own policies, including electrifying our vehicle fleet, cutting emissions from our buildings and expanding transit service to give people more transportation choices.

“Our world cannot afford President Trump’s plan to line the pockets of polluters at the expense of protecting public health and our environment.”

Councilmember Mike O’Brien (District 6, Northwest Seattle) said, “Obama’s leadership on vehicle fuel-efficiency standards is a necessary effort to reduce carbon pollution. The plan directly addresses global warming, but Trump continues to ignore the science behind policies at the expense of people everywhere on our planet. Trump’s action reassessing these environmental standards will potentially create devastating losses for our city, country, and the global community. My pledge is to continue to advance local policy to address climate change.

“Our city will remain committed to increasing electric vehicle usage, reducing building emissions, implementing the Equity & Environment Initiative and fulfilling our part of the Paris Climate Accord. It comes as no surprise that the same president who is banning immigration is also taking steps to make climate change worse, causing the greatest damage to the Global South and increasing immigration pressure. He is doubling down on an economy that benefits a few corporations and decimates low-income communities. But our fight to address climate change here won’t waiver. We will be bold and continue to strive to address impacted communities of color as we work to reverse the impacts of climate change. We will because we are Seattle.”

Additionally, Mayor Murray signed on to a joint statement with other mayors and governors in response to today’s announcement from the Trump administration:

Joint statement in response to the EPA’s reconsideration of federal vehicle fuel-economy and emissions standards by the Governors of Washington and Oregon, and the Mayors of Oakland, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle:

“As the governors of Washington and Oregon, the mayors of Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, and Oakland, and representing a West Coast region of over 50 million people with a combined GDP of $2.8 trillion, we speak today in unified opposition to the federal withdrawal from the vehicle fuel efficiency standards that have worked for years to lower consumers’ fuel costs while making our air healthier to breathe. Our job as governors and mayors is to boost our region’s economic opportunities and to make our cities and states cleaner and healthier for our citizens. This decision does the exact opposite, making America more dependent on oil while putting more lives at risk from pollution and shortchanging consumers at the pump.

“The U.S. is a technology superpower. Our strong vehicle fuel economy standards are a reflection of that and position the U.S. to remain competitive in the global push toward clean cars. Let’s not cede our leadership.”

The release was jointly signed by:

Oregon Governor Kate Brown

Washington Governor Jay Inslee

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler

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