A state environmental group concerned about global warming is asking East Valley residents to support a statewide crackdown on carbon dioxide vehicle emissions, even though the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency does not regulate them.
Arizona PIRG, a nonprofit focused on conservation, social justice and public health issues, has been visiting East Valley cities to drum up public support for a proposed “Clean Cars Program” to address pollution. The group was at Chandler Public Library on Tuesday.
The goal is to cut the state’s carbon dioxide emissions in half by 2025 — the equivalent of removing 1.3 million existing cars from the road — by requiring stricter emissions standards on new cars.
“We’re not saying that tomorrow people need to turn in the cars that they have,” Arizona PIRG executive director Diane Brown said. “It’s not about telling people they can no longer drive an SUV, or that they can only take the light rail.”
In June 2006, the Western Governors’ Association adopted a resolution brought forward by Gov. Janet Napolitano, who is the association’s chairwoman, and four other western state governors, including California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who proposed the initiative two years earlier.
Napolitano also has signed an executive order stating her commitment to adopting a Clean Cars Program in Arizona. Brown wants to make sure she follows through on that promise.
Arizona PIRG is asking residents to print their names and addresses on a postcard to Napolitano that urges her to do just that. They can also visit the group’s Web site, www.arizonapirg.org, where they can fill out the information online.
Chandler resident Yvonne France, 37, signed a Clean Cars Program postcard Tuesday to show her support.
“If it’s going to reduce pollution, then I think it’s a good thing,” France said.
The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality cannot pass any new standards unless the EPA first grants California’s request to allow similar restrictions. If the EPA does not give its permission by the end of October, Schwarzenegger has vowed to sue the agency.