Clearing the air in the General Assembly

Buncombe County Republican Rep. Charles Thomas (Dist. 116) and Democratic Rep. Susan Fisher (Dist. 114) were among the sponsors this week of N.C. House Bill 2526 (paired with Senate Bill 1871). The bill would direct the Environmental Review Commission to examine the costs and benefits of adopting stricter carbon-emissions standards for cars and trucks. Aimed at reducing motor-vehicle emissions statewide — and thus reducing the state’s overall contribution to global-warming — the program would be patterned after California’s motor-vehicle emissions standards.

The study would project North Carolina’s total carbon-dioxide emissions for each year through 2020 without the standards, and compare it to the projected emissions total if the standards are adopted. It would also take into account the projected cost increase for new vehicles if such standards were adopted, and the projected reduction in quantity and cost of fuel to N.C. consumers under the proposed standards.

HB 2526 passed its first reading in the House and is now in the hands of the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources.

Meanwhile, the Union of Concerned Scientists recently analyzed a clean-car discount proposal in California designed to reduce emissions. The proposal would provide rebates to offset the purchase of new cars, trucks and SUVs that emit lower levels of global-warming pollution. The findings are summarized in the fact sheet “Putting the Brakes on Global Warming.”

— Nelda Holder, associate editor


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