Lung Association praises clean vehicle standards, but sees need for stricter mandate

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EV charger at Wawa store.
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The American Lung Association praised a decision by Delaware Department of Natural Resources Secretary Shawn Garvin to adopt clean vehicle rules that set a target of 82% zero emission vehicle sales by 2032, while also requiring cleaner internal combustion engines.

Garvin released his decision on Wednesday following a sometimes heated hearing process.

The Lung Association would have preferred the original California proposal that by 2035 would have required 80% of all vehicles to be battery-electrics, with the remainder comprised of plug-in hybrids.

“This rule-making package takes important steps to clean up the air for Delawareans, but there is more to be done as the state did not seize the opportunity for full adoption of ACC II through 2035,” the organization stated in a press release.

“Delaware is moving in the right direction with today’s action on Advanced Clean Cars: there is no question that the transition to cleaner and zero-emission vehicles will save lives and reduce lung health emergencies. This policy will ensure that more pollution-free vehicles are available in Delaware to help bring cleaner, healthier air with each breath,” Deobrah Brown, chief mission officer for the Lung Association stated “To address lung health and our climate crisis, more must be done to ensure the transition to zero-emissions includes medium- and heavy-duty vehicles and a shift from combustion to zero-emissions for our power supply. We urge Delaware to implement these rules and ultimately consider full implementation of the ACC II with 100% zero-emission vehicle sales by 2035.”

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The Lung Association’s Driving to Clean Air report posted this year noted that Delaware could see $4.3 billion public health benefits savings by cutting passenger vehicle emissions, including avoiding approximately 400 premature deaths and 9,500 asthma attacks—by 2050 if a widespread shift to 100% zero-emissions passenger vehicle sales and clean, non-combustion electricity were to in place by 2035.

The adopted ACC II rules will move Delaware families closer to achieving these health benefits but stopped short of the full implementation of the program modeled in the report.

The 2035 mandates were fiercely opposed by Republican legislators in Delaware, with polling suggesting that many Democrats were not on board with the 80% electric only mandate.

So far, reaction to the revised standards has been muted, with few if any comments from opponents.

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