February 29, 2024 10:20 am
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Georgia leaders call for stricter ‘clean car’ standards to curb emissions

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Shanteya Hudson, Public News Service

Transportation is the leading cause of greenhouse-gas emissions, and some Georgia leaders are demanding stricter clean-energy standards to address them.

Chatham County leaders and clean-energy advocates held a news conference this week, urging the Environmental Protection Agency to implement the strongest possible federal rules, known as the EPA’s Clean Car Standards.

Chatham County Commissioner Aaron Whitley said he believes this would benefit public health, the environment and the economy.

“When the EPA finalizes the Clean Car Standard rule with the strongest available standards,” he said, “what that’s going to do is help us be poised to make more direct investments in clean energy, to include the critical infrastructure that’s necessary to support other carbon-neutral vehicles.”

Whitley emphasized this move would not only create jobs, but also support significant investments from automakers such as Rivian and Hyundai, which moved their “Metaplant” to the state. Tougher clean-car standards have gotten a lot of pushback, though – mostly from Republican attorneys general who see them as government overreach.

Nicole Lee, CEO of the energy consulting firm Be Smart Home Solutions, attended the event. Her view is that stronger clean-car standards would not only expedite Georgia’s journey toward “net-zero” emissions but also ensure better health and safety for communities most affected by this type of pollution.

“They’re located closer to the ports, where they have the emissions coming in from the ships,” Lee said. “Where they’re closer to the trucking industry, going right through their neighborhoods, sometimes we see a lot of health impacts – those health impacts come from asthma, heart disease, lung disease, lung cancer.”

Leaders have noted that the bipartisan infrastructure law has already provided more than $150 million in funding and support, along with grants to help achieve net-zero emissions in Chatham alone. They stressed that implementing new clean-car standards would amplify the impact of these investments.

This article originally appeared on Public News Service and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.