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Illinois Attorney General
Kwame Raoul

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July 06, 2023

Chicago— Attorney General Kwame Raoul today called on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to adopt more stringent greenhouse gas (GHG) and criteria pollutant standards for light- and medium-duty vehicles from model years 2027 through 2032.

Raoul, as part of a coalition of 26 states and cities, submitted a comment letter to the EPA regarding its proposed standards for GHG and criteria pollutants, which are six common air pollutants that present serious health and environmental risks, for light- and medium-duty highway vehicles, including cars, sport utility vehicles (SUVs), pickup trucks and vans.  

In their letter, Raoul and the coalition emphasize that the EPA’s proposal would lead to measurable progress – for instance, a 56% reduction in GHG emissions levels from the model year 2026 levels for light-duty vehicles, and a 44% reduction in GHG emissions levels from the model year 2026 levels for medium-duty vehicles. However, the coalition urges the EPA to move forward with more stringent GHG and criteria pollutant standards, which are feasible to achieve by using technological advancements that are already widely used.

“The EPA’s greenhouse gas emissions and criteria pollution standards for light-duty and medium-duty highway vehicles are critically important in reducing carbon emissions and protecting the environment,” Raoul said. “I am committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the impact of climate change throughout Illinois. Strengthening these regulations is critical to supporting states’ efforts to protect public health and the environment.”

The transportation sector is the largest source of GHG emissions in the United States, with light-duty vehicles being the largest contributor within that sector. In addition, light- and medium-duty vehicles are a significant source of criteria pollutants, such as fine particulate matter and nitrogen oxides, that detrimentally affect air quality. Both the impacts of climate change and poor air quality disproportionately harm environmental justice communities.

In their letter, the attorneys general and cities:

  • Emphasize that strong emissions standards are necessary to protect the environment and public health. From extreme heat to wildfires to drought, the coalition notes that we are already experiencing the devastating impacts of climate change, which will continue to mount and compound with rising concentrations of GHGs in the atmosphere.
  • Detail that the technologies necessary to reduce GHGs and criteria pollutants from new motor vehicles already exist and are widely in use in the market today.
  • Explain that standards more stringent than the EPA’s proposed standards would align with the agency’s statutory mandate in Section 202(a). Under Section 202(a)(1) of the Clean Air Act, the EPA “shall by regulation prescribe . . . standards applicable to the emission of any air pollutant from any class or classes of new motor vehicles . . ., which in [its] judgment cause, or contribute to, air pollution which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare.”

Raoul is joined in submitting the comment letter by the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin; the people of the state of Michigan; the commonwealths of Massachusetts and Pennsylvania; and the cities of Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, New York and Oakland.