Deadline to sign: June 14th, 2023
Dear President Biden and EPA Administrator Regan,
As faith leaders from diverse religious and spiritual traditions, we speak with one voice in support of bold and just climate solutions. Climate change is a moral issue that is most harmful to those least responsible for creating the problem. People of faith and conscience recognize the need for bold, new transportation solutions, and clean trucks and buses are an integral step towards addressing the climate crisis. Today we write to ask you to move swiftly to enact robust heavy-duty vehicle greenhouse gas emissions standards. As a nation, we have a moral imperative to enact the most stringent heavy-duty vehicle standards in order to address our historically unsafe carbon emissions and to protect our public health and Shared Home.
Transportation is currently the single largest source of climate pollution in the United States. And while trucks and buses account for a very small portion of vehicles on the road, they create a disproportionate amount of harmful greenhouse gas pollution. Setting robust longer-term standards will put American trucks and buses on a clear path towards 100% zero-emission vehicle sales by 2035 and help us reach our nation’s climate goals.
It is critical to remember that the climate crisis is a challenge of racial, economic, and generational justice, and these rules target air pollution that disproportionately harms marginalized communities of color and low-wealth communities that reside in counties closest to major freeways and trucking corridors. Implementing the strongest heavy-duty vehicle standards is a matter of environmental justice, and these standards would deliver massive emission reductions and life-saving relief to frontline communities.
In addition, electrifying medium- and heavy-duty trucks will be key to improving air quality and saving lives across the nation. More than 119 million American residents currently live in areas with unhealthy levels of air pollution. In particular, diesel exhaust contains more than 40 known cancer-causing organic substances. It is of the utmost importance that standards require tighter limits on diesel vehicles in order to continually make diesel trucks cleaner as manufacturers transition to zero-emission vehicles.
Now is the time to maximize the impact of our national clean truck standards—the most effective policy that the federal government has to reduce dangerous air pollution, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and save fleets money at the pump. As policymakers, you have a critical and sacred role in helping to achieve these goals. As faith leaders, we urge you to establish strong heavy-duty vehicle greenhouse gas standards that put our nation on a trajectory to a zero-emissions transportation future, and we ask you to redouble efforts to announce the draft rule before the end of 2023. For more than a decade, people of faith and conscience have advocated for strong safeguards on greenhouse gas pollution from transportation. Since then, the climate crisis has only accelerated, taking an enormous toll on human life, our communities, and our world. We have a moral responsibility to act right now as a nation to do all we can to address climate change for our communities, future generations, and our Sacred Earth.
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