WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 21, 2010) President Barack Obama today instructed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation to develop a national emissions standard for medium- and heavy-duty trucks and to develop standards for cars and light trucks in 2017 and beyond. The BlueGreen Alliance today released the following statement from Executive Director David Foster:
“We commend President Obama for moving forward today with plans to develop a national emissions standard for medium- and heavy-duty trucks, which will improve fuel efficiency and thereby reduce greenhouse gas pollution and our dependence on foreign oil.
“Reducing freight pollution and increasing fuel efficiency are integral in moving America to a clean energy economy. For example, freight rail moves twice the volume of goods using the same amount as fuel as it did in 1980 and creates a fraction of the pollution. On the other hand, trucks have averaged only 6 miles to the gallon since the 1970s. For the trucking industry to remain competitive, it must strive for much greater efficiencies, which the President’s action will help achieve.
“As we work to make trucking a cleaner way to move goods, however, we can’t foist the costs of progress on the backs of our workers. Federal rules currently allow the financial responsibility of maintaining emission standards to fall on drivers and their families, who typically live near or below the federal poverty line, ninety percent without any private health insurance and exempt from workplace protections. As we develop better emissions standards, we must also implement solutions like the Los Angeles Clean Truck Program, which will create thousands of good green jobs by shifting the cost for replacing dirty diesel fleets from low-wage, misclassified contract drivers to financially responsible trucking companies.
“We laud President Obama in setting a course for reducing truck pollution that will increase our energy independence and ensure workers have more, quality green job opportunities as we move to a clean energy future.”
The BlueGreen Alliance is a national partnership of labor unions and environmental organizations dedicated to expanding the number and quality of jobs in the clean energy economy. Launched by the United Steelworkers and Sierra Club in 2006, the BlueGreen Alliance now includes the Communications Workers of America, Natural Resources Defense Council, Laborers’ International Union of North America, Service Employees International Union, Utility Workers Union of America, American Federation of Teachers, Amalgamated Transit Union, and the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association.