Obama Limits Tailpipe Pollution, Pushes Fuel Efficiency

(May 21, 2010)

On May 21, President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum to push the cleanup of dangerous air pollutants, as well as greenhouse gas emissions, from cars and light duty trucks, that threaten the health of tens of millions of Americans including infants, children, seniors and people with asthma and other lung diseases. In addition, the President directed federal agencies to require increased fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas reductions from medium-and heavy-duty trucks.  The Memorandum also pushes for increased use of hybrid and electric vehicles.  Obama

The Memorandum directs the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to review the adequacy of motor vehicle regulations for nitrogen oxides and air toxics as well as gasoline sulfur levels.  In the past few years, much more has been learned about the health impacts experienced by people who live or work near heavily trafficked roads.  Those individuals are exposed to much higher levels of these dangerous pollutants. 

The Memorandum directs the EPA to identify opportunities to clean up these emissions.

The EPA last revised tailpipe emission standards in 1999 and the program was fully implemented in 2009.  These pollutants lead to a range of health impacts, from coughing and wheezing, to triggering asthma attacks and even premature death. 

The American Lung Association has worked hard for these changes for many years, and applauds President Obama for recognizing that it is time for the EPA to address tailpipe pollution that causes smog and particle pollution and exposes millions of Americans to much higher levels of toxic pollutants.  We will work closely with the EPA to assure that the public receives maximum health protection from the new tailpipe regulations.

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