House lawmakers in Washington D.C. voted 222-190 in favor of a bill blocking states from attempting to eliminate the sale of internal combustion engine vehicles. The measure also would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from issuing waivers for such bans.
The bill — called the Preserving Choice in Vehicle Purchases Act — amends the Clean Air Act to prohibit states from “directly or indirectly limit[ing] the sale or use of new motor vehicles with internal combustion engines.”
It also adds language that blocks the EPA from allowing state standards matching this description to be permitted under new or existing waivers.
The House GOP published a press release earlier this week framing the bill as a “defen[ce of] gas powered vehicles from extreme democrats.”
“Make no mistake,” the statement says. “The Biden Administration and Extreme Democrats will stop at nothing to implement their radical Green New Deal agenda, and House Republicans remain the only thing standing in their way.”
According to the House GOP’s statement, “the Preserving Choice in Vehicle Purchases Act was introduced in response to the California Air Resource Board’s decision to effectively ban the sale of new, internal combustion engine vehicles by 2035.”
Rep. Jared Golden (D-ME) voted in support of the measure along side seven other Democrat lawmakers.
“Forcing manufacturers — via dealerships in Maine — to offer Zero Emission Vehicles absent any connection to market forces, the pace of advances in that technology or its necessary accompanying infrastructure, is, in my opinion, unwise and this bill would prevent any such mandate,” said Rep. Golden in a press release earlier this week.
According to Golden’s statement, “the Second District does not have the infrastructure to support a widespread switch to Zero Emissions Vehicles.”
“According to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection,” the statement says, “since 2020 there has only been an annual one percent increase in the number of registered battery powered and plug-in electric vehicles.”
Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME), who voted against the bill, has not released a public statement concerning the legislation and did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Maine Wire.
As this bill is making its way through Congress, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (Maine DEP) is considering adopting California-style vehicle emissions standards that would require the vast majority of new vehicle sales in the state be comprised of zero-emissions vehicles (ZEVs) after just a few years.
The proposed rules — initially introduced by the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM) via the citizens’ initiative process — would, if adopted in their entirety, apply to both standard passenger vehicles as well as medium- and heavy-duty trucks.
At a public hearing held several weeks ago, more than a hundred members of the public made an appearance and nearly ninety individuals signed up to offer comment.
It still remains to be seen whether or not the Mills Administration will move to adopt either or both of these regulations. Adoption of the rule will not require legislative approval.
Although the legislation successfully passed in the House, it still faces an uphill battle in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
Should the Senate support the measure, it would ultimately land on President Biden’s (D) desk, where the decision would be in his hands whether to veto the bill or allow it to become law.
The White House did however indicate opposition to the bill in a statement earlier this week. “The Administration strongly opposes passage of H.R. 1435, which would amend the Clean Air Act to preclude EPA from issuing federal preemption waivers for California pollution standards that directly or indirectly limit the sale or use of new motor vehicles with internal combustion engines,” they said.
Click here to read the full text of the Preserving Choice in Vehicle Purchases Act.