Bill Allows State to Adopt California Emissions Standards
The General Assembly’s Environment Committee approved legislation allowing the state to adopt California emission standards for medium and heavy duty vehicles.
California-compliant engines, which HB 5039 allows, could add $57,000 to Connecticut vehicle costs, based on estimates from the Engine Manufacturing Association.
CBIA testified against the bill, which passed on a 21-10 party line vote, citing increased direct and indirect costs for businesses.
Purchasing trucks with this new standard will be more expensive—particularly for small and medium-sized businesses—putting them at a competitive disadvantage with larger in-state competitors and neighboring state counterparts.
CBIA also argued that HB 5039 hands over regulatory control to another state.
The bill allows the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to make specific references to California regulations within Connecticut’s regulations—essentially allowing another state to dictate what happens here.
In a department facing staff and knowledge shortages associated with pending retirements, this will require constant monitoring by DEEP regarding California regulations, which may be a heavy lift for the under-resourced department.
DEEP may also choose not to adopt certain provisions of California’s regulations—however, the current regulatory process is not conducive to a quick adoption of new regulations, leading to lag times and unintended consequences.
CBIA acknowledges that healthier air quality leads to healthy citizens and a greater capacity for growth in the state.
Connecticut, however, cannot address this issue in a silo. Connecticut bears the burden of other states’ pollution activities, and must work with other states and the EPA to tackle this problem.
Individual states operating with varying levels of environmental regulations are not going to solve the problem and will only put Connecticut at a greater competitive disadvantage.
The EPA released a proposal last month requiring the industry to cut nitrogen oxide emissions by up to 90% per truck over current standards by 2031.
The new standards would begin in 2027 to limit emissions from nearly 27 million trucks and buses.
The transportation sector is working diligently to research and develop cleaner and greener vehicles using technology like hydrogen and green hydrogen fuel cell trucks to replace both fossil fuel and battery electric vehicles.
CBIA urged the committee to remember that these innovations take time to implement and should be considered when drafting legislation.
That bill expands Connecticut’s hydrogen and electric automobile rebate program to municipalities, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and tribal entities.
CBIA supports policy that creates an environment that is ecologically and economically beneficial for all and will continue to monitor this bill along with our partners, including the Motor Transportation Association of Connecticut.
The nonpartisan offices in the legislature are preparing the final fiscal note which will accompany the bill on the House calendar.
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