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Nurses, environmental groups welcome Biden's clean car standards

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Eric Galatas

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(Colorado News Connection) Wednesday, the Biden administration announced new tailpipe pollution standards that will give automakers more time to ramp up production of zero-emission vehicles. 

Kara Cook, director of programs for the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, said for nurses - who are on the frontlines of protecting health in emergency rooms, clinics, on college campuses, and in K-12 schools - enacting strong emission standards is a public health issue.

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"We are caring for those that are most impacted by pollution," said Cook. "And we are really seeing firsthand the impact that tailpipe pollution is having on the public's health, as well as community health."

Traffic pollution is linked to premature death, lung cancer, asthma and other health impacts.

The new standards will not be as sweeping as a previous Environmental Protection Agency proposal through 2030, but the agency hopes to make up ground by 2032 and cut seven billion tons of pollution by mid-century. 

Critics say slowing the transition to electric vehicles could put the U.S. at a disadvantage, citing China's growing capacity and new EVs priced under $11,000

Donald Trump has promised to repeal the standards if elected.

Transportation is the number one source of climate emissions in the U.S. 

Matthew Davis, vice president of federal policy with the League of Conservation Voters, said for decades people of color and low-income communities have been disproportionately impacted by pollution from high traffic roads and volatile fuel costs.

"This standard will not just save lives and deliver environmental justice," said Davis. "It will make us less reliant on volatile fossil fuels that wreak havoc on our family, budget, and economy."

Chris Harto, senior policy analyst with Consumer Reports, said strong standards are needed to increase the supply of zero-emission vehicles that can save American consumers money as soon as they drive off the lot.

"The only group that's sure to be upset about these rules is big oil, because consumers are going to be making a lot fewer trips to the pump," said Harto. "These standards are a win-win-win for consumers , climate and public health. "