Colorado Clean Car Standards

Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell represented the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Colorado Communities for Climate Action (CC4CA), a coalition of 20 local governments, as intervenor parties before the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission in a proceeding to consider whether Colorado should adopt stricter, low-emission vehicle standards in light of a possible rollback of the federal standards.  In November 2018, the Commission voted unanimously to adopt the standards, over the objections of car manufacturer and dealer industry groups.

If the federal administration rolls back its vehicle greenhouse gas standards, the Colorado decision will result in millions of tons of avoided carbon pollution in the state each year starting in 2022, reaching an amount equivalent to shutting down two coal-fired power plants by 2030.  Because the greenhouse gas standards will also result in more fuel-efficient cars, pick-up trucks, and SUVs, less gasoline will be used in Colorado, which will result in a substantial reduction in ozone precursors and other air pollution.  Coloradans will also save considerable amounts of money, as the standards will result in more fuel-efficient cars, trucks, and SUVs.  Low-income car owners and those driving trucks and SUVs can be expected to save the most.

The Commission’s decision was especially notable because it allowed Colorado to become the first non-coastal state to adopt the more stringent standards, which may have the secondary effect of helping the nationwide fleet of cars to become cleaner.  In 2019, the Commission will consider whether to also adopt a zero-emission vehicle standard, which would result in greater adoption of electric vehicles throughout Colorado.

We briefed and argued the low-emission vehicles case in front of the Commission and will continue representing NRDC and CC4CA in the upcoming zero emission vehicle standard proceeding.