San Jose Mayor Testifies Before Congress About Trump’s Emissions-Standards Rollback

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo will spend his day today testifying to the US House Committee on Oversight and Reform instead of in his usual seat at the City Council dais.

Liccardo is one of six individuals speaking in front of the Subcommittee on Environment about President Donald Trump’s proposal to freeze auto-emission standards at 37 miles per gallon. The initiative rolls back rules set during the Barack Obama Administration that would have increased standards to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.

The Trump Administration argues that it would lower the price of vehicles and save lives from traffic deaths. But environmentalists say that it will only fuel pollution.

California has played a particularly key role in the debate, which pits the country’s commander-in-chief against Gov. Gavin Newsom. Last month, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that it was revoking California’s waiver under the Clean Air Act, which allowed the state to exceed national standards and set its own emission rules.

“[This] action meets President Trump’s commitment to establish uniform fuel economy standards for vehicles across the United States, ensuring that no state has the authority to opt out of the nation’s rules, and no state has the right to impose its policies on the rest of the country,” Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said in a news release last month.

Tuesday morning, Liccardo will bring his green perspective as the mayor of the 10th largest city in the country to Capitol Hill. During his time in office, Liccardo has been a staunch supporter of a cleaner San Jose, leading initiatives to ban natural gas in new construction and increase the number of electric vehicle charging stations in the city.

“For a half-century, the California waiver has enabled Silicon Valley—and 130 million Americans in 14 states—to imagine a future different from the reality of deadly smog that choked Californians for decades,” he wrote in his testimony, which was released hours ahead of the hearing. “A Republican Governor, Ronald Reagan, signed legislation forming the Air Resources Board in 1967, to create emission standards that would survive federal preemption by virtue of the signature of a Republican President, Richard Nixon, on the 1970 Amendments to the Clean Air Act.”

“I evoke this history because, amid our too-familiar partisan divide on matters of the environment, we should remember that there’s much about which we all agree,” the mayor added in his written statement.

Liccardo’s testimony continues with him explaining what he calls the three B’s: Breaths, Breakthroughs and Benjamins.

Breaths represents California’s effort to create “pollution control[ling] technologies” like the catalytic converter. Liccardo notes that “despite a doubling of our population, and quadrupling of our vehicle use” the tools have reduced emissions between 75 and 99 percent, preventing nearly 29,000 premature deaths a year.

“Yet we still have much more work to do,” he cautions. “The San Francisco Bay Area still exceeds federal standards for ozone and fine particulate matter, which are responsible for approximately 2,500 premature deaths each year in my region, and recent wildfires and warming temperatures will only exacerbate the problem.”

The second B—Breakthroughs—represents the “growing adoption of technology, particularly in further development of zero-emission vehicles and the generation of renewable energy.” Liccardo points towards Silicon Valley’s role in clean innovation, citing Tesla cars and batteries, Proterra’s electric buses, SunPower's solar panels and Chargepoint’s electric charging infrastructure.

“How do I know California’s regulations support innovation?” Liccardo asks. “Four manufacturers—Volkswagen, BMW, Ford, and Honda—voted with their pens, signing deals with California for stricter emissions standards, while American Honda publicly stated that any rollback of Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards ‘stalls long term strategic industry planning … and slows industry readiness for a widely acknowledged …transition to vehicle electrification.’”

The last B, Benjamin’s, deals with the money that Liccardo says drivers will save from purchasing hybrid and electric cars.

“By some estimates, consumers may pay an extra $2.3 billion by 2030 in my own Bay Area, while Consumer Reports places the estimate nationally at $460 billion—the equivalent of a tax of $3,300 per vehicle,” he says. “While some argue that greater fuel efficiency will cost car buyers of new automobiles at the dealership, a sober calculation reveals that the same technology will save drivers three times more at the pump."

Liccardo plans to close out his testimony by referencing everyone’s favorite green Muppet. “In the words of the esteemed philosopher, Kermit the Frog: ‘it’s not easy being green,’” he says. “The federal government shouldn’t make it harder.”

Grace Hase is a staff writer for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Email tips to [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @grace_hase.

19 Comments

  1. Another way to lower polution and carbon footprint is to send back the 22M+ illegal immigrants to their country of citizenship where the emmsions per capita are 23% the level in the US…

    Open Boarders are not so green my friends…

    • Thank you for identifying yourself as a bigot, and a person who is unable to spell words correctly. Funny, the immigrants I know are both kinder and more intelligent than you appear to be.

        • Mike, Let’s assume every illegal immigrant committed no further crime other than breaking immigration laws and fraud by assuming (stealing) some one’s identity to get a social security number. Looking at the delta in CO2 emissions over the five years it will take to reach the auto emissions deadline of 2025, illegal immigrants will emit an additionally 1,360,000,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide alone, let alone any real polutants. That’s 1.36 trillion kgs of civilization ending, toxic poison. Given we have 12 years before we meet our fiery deaths, I think arguing over criminal records is missing the point.

          If one is to believe the Leftist, such as St Greta and our very own St Lisa, we are leading these people to thier certain death, and really how dare we, just to get cheap labor and high rents, and child fodder for the pedos. This is certainly Trump’s doing! No wonder they are so angry…

      • Lisa, I see the cognitive dissonance is strong in you. I imagine it is a terrible burden for you to carry, being so sure you are right but reality being so wrong.

        My deepest sympathies.

  2. here’s the big part of the problem. but our PC politicians want us to live as 3rd world rats so they don’t piss off the Chinese – who happen to have the fastest growing middle class in the world – thanks to all they stuff they make and send over here using our jobs/factories – but w/ less EPA rules
    https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/03/03/518323094/rise-in-smog-in-western-u-s-is-blamed-on-asias-air-pollution

    would it be correct in saying that beating up California citizens to protect the Chinese middle class in Un-American?

    • Hugh. I married a Chinese girl from way up north. Shenyang. She keeps telling me you Americans are funny, thinking you are all rich and we’re all poor. They are cleaning us out… man do I got inside stories.

  3. How much did travel, hotel, meals, and expenses cost the taxpayers? Or, did he travel on his dime if he is passionate about the issue?

    • G. We are not allowed to ask where they spend or what they do with the money we give them. These guys put Shirakawa and Campos and Gonzalez and Chavez (all indicted except campos who plead the 5th as a witness basically and Shirakawa was convicted) to Shame. This is the nastiest group of con artists we’ve ever seen in a San Jose.

      • The “richest country on earth” slogan is designed to seperate dollarfrom small minds through simulaneous guilt and empty praise. I seems to habe worked though.

  4. > The Trump Administration argues that it would lower the price of vehicles and save lives from traffic deaths. But environmentalists say that it will only fuel pollution.

    Well, the “environmentalists” are wrong.

    Someone should tell them.

    • As the unhoused people in San Jose do not have cars, stoves, or other ways to pollute, I can only assume that your comment was made in order to shame the very people that need our assistance and help the most. How embarrassing that you are unable to be empathetic and caring. You must be one of those awful Willow Glen residents with no “No Homeless in our Neighborhood” signs outside their house, while simultaneously doing absolutely nothing to assist your fellow man. Shameful.

      • > As the unhoused people in San Jose do not have cars, stoves, or other ways to pollute,

        LISA:

        I’ve put in an emergency request to snopes.com to check your facts.

        People in the local fire-fighting business have told me on numerous occasions that the “unhoused” are magnificently equipped for gracious outdoor living with open campfires, portable stoves, and propane tanks. I am further told that disputes between members of the unhoused community are commonplace and that retribution is often delivered by setting fire to the tent or personal belongings of one or other (maybe even both) of the disputants, and maybe even innocent bystanders.

        When I receive a response back from snopes.com, presumably a judgment of blatant factlessness, how shall we proceed? Is there a truth squad I can dispatch to hunt you down and force you to admit the truth?

        Please advise.

        • Oh Lisa I don’t blame you for being caring and gullible at the same time. I want the Mayor to focus on an epidemic where the homeless are defecating in parking lots most recently at Safeway Midtown. Last time I checked defecating was a form of emission. Also the homeless spark dozens of fires along their encampments. Continue calling us mean spirited if it makes you feel superior and better about yourself. Ignorance is a bliss sometimes.

      • Just curious Lisa, how many homeless are you currently housing? If we had more people as generous as you we would not have a homeless problem. Thank you for your empathy and caring.

      • LISA,

        The people you attacked posted rational comments. If you didn’t agree with them, why didn’t you post good reasons why you believe they’re wrong, instead of making your anti-social comments? What did they say to deserve that?

        But maybe you couldn’t think of any credible reasons. In that case it’s best to not comment at all, instead of hating on folks you don’t know just because their comments triggered you. That’s adolescents behavior; it’s not what rational adults should do.

        All you did here was insult them and call them names. That poisons the well, and it’s an example of why society has devolved to the point of killing people you don’t like, becauase now it’s A-OK for anonymous haters to go for the throats of anyone they disagree with, rather than posting rational reasons for their disagreement.

        Do you think calling people names will change their opinions? That’s not how people respond.

        We see the results of insulting behavior. Anti-social people can never convince anyone because no one will change their point of view for someone who hates them. So the misfits ratchet it up — to the point where some of them vent their frustration by randomly murdering people.

        Out of 330 million people, those anti-social misfits are a minuscule part of the population. But anti-social murders are growing. Why is that?

        At least part of the reason is because society tolerates anonymous hatred, much more than it used to. And once the well is poisoned, no one listens. So the misfits ratchet up their hatred, and eventually one of them goes off the deep end.

        That isn’t the fault of guns, Lisa. To see one of the causes, just look in the mirror…

  5. Slimy Sam wants to ban natural gas, propane as well is suppose where will the homeless get fuel to cook their dog food on? Burning down the environment much like they do in Haiti and other 3rd world hell holes that have no natural gas and now no forest to clean the air. California would do well to clean up their overgrown forests as every time it catches fire it polluting the rest of the planet.

    The $h!+ that flows into the bay and ocean from illegal homeless encampments is killing the ocean an poisoning us.
    Its time the EPA come after the people that are in-charge of this state and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.

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