March 29, 2020

Airing Maine concerns

Your editorial, “All you need is LEV” (BDN, Jan. 27), urging Gov. Angus King to reject the proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency and the automakers, is exactly right.

We need cleaner air in Maine. Why should Maine give up for eight years (!) the right to set stricter standards for gas guzzlers, especially when the automakers have already demonstrated their ability to build much lower-emission vehicles?

“Dirigo” doesn’t mean Maine should adopt the EPA-automakers’ lowest common denominator. Edward F. Snyder Bar Harbor

Gov. King will soon decide whether to sign away Maine’s right to bring the cleanest vehicle technologies to our state and protect public health and the environment in return for a one-size-fits-all program.

This plan, known as the National Low Emission Vehicle Program (NLEV), promotes clean emission standards that are actually weaker than those required for California-style vehicles and would lock Maine into this inadequate program for a decade. States like New York and Massachusetts already require cleaner vehicles, modeled after California-style cars, and other Northeast states are moving in that direction. NLEV, conceived by the auto industry and promoted by the Environmental Protection Agency, represents a serious setback for Maine’s efforts to reduce pollutants produced by cars — the leading source of carbon dioxide emissions which contribute to global warming.

The timing of this plan couldn’t be more ironic. This month, the auto industry announced a revolutionary new generation of “green” vehicles which would be cleaner and more technologically advanced that those they are prepared to offer under NLEV. There is no reason why Maine should not benefit from the cleanest vehicle technology available. Refusing to opt into this program is especially important given that California is in the process of strengthening its vehicle emission standards and adding a component to address emissions from sport utility vehicles. Maine should retain the option of adopting California’s improved program.

Gov. King should continue to protect our health and environment by demanding clean vehicles in Maine and staying with the tougher air quality standards we have now — by just saying no to the EPA’s NLEV program. Sue C. Furth Surry

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