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Colorado leaders advocate for strong federal clean car standards

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Alex Gonzalez

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(Colorado News Connection) A Colorado state representative and local leaders are advocating for the Environmental Protection Agency to enact strong federal clean-car standards for model years 2027 through 2032, in an effort to accelerate the transition to zero-emission vehicles in Colorado and around the country.

Rep. Meg Froelich, D-Denver, said the "electrification of transportation is critical," and added that it is also "attainable."

"For this, we need the federal government's partnership. We need the Environmental Protection Agency to improve the clean-car standards," she said. "We need the federal investments promised in the Inflation Reduction Act to flow into Colorado, and we need those tax incentives, rebates and credits."

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Froelich said the electrification of the transportation sector means more Colorado jobs, better environmental conservation and cleaner air. Opponents are concerned that the standards may be too stringent, will put stress on electric grids and ultimately increase costs to consumers.

In Denver, said Liz Babcock, executive director of Denver's Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency, transportation is the number one source of air pollution and also what she called a leading source of greenhouse-gas emissions. She argued that along with the benefits to the environment and the economy, the electrification of vehicles will also help protect Coloradans' overall health.

"We also know that last year was the hottest on record," she said. "Climate change is bringing its own set of impacts to our health and economy. Global warming has already raised Colorado's annual average temperature by 2.3 degrees, between 1980 and 2022 according to the most recent Colorado Climate Report."

Babcock said the intensifying warming is making extreme weather events such as wildfires, floods and drought more frequent and severe, with communities in Colorado and around the country paying the price.