By MADISON HIRNEISEN
THE CENTER SQUARE
(The Center Square) – Maryland appears poised to align with California’s “Clean Cars” standards, which aim to scale-down vehicle emissions over the next decade and requires all new cars and trucks sold after 2035 to be zero-emission, Gov. Wes Moore announced Monday.
Gov. Moore announced Monday that Maryland will join a multi-state coalition in adopting the Advanced Clean Cars II regulations, which was first adopted in California last year. The rules set specified targets for sales of zero-emission vehicles starting with model year 2026 and outlines that all vehicles sold in the state must be zero-emission starting in 2035.
“Today, we’re talking about a major transformation that is going to define this administration—and that’s how we turn Maryland from a state powered by oil and gas to a state powered by clean energy,” Gov. Moore said in a statement Monday. “I am confident that the state of Maryland can and will lead the clean energy revolution.”
Maryland’s adoption of the standards follows action taken in several other states to align with California’s emission regulations, including Washington, Oregon, Virginia, Vermont, New York , New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Maine. Under the Federal Clean Air Act, states have the option to either align with emission standards set by the federal government or adopt California’s more stringent standards for vehicle emissions – states cannot form their own regulations.
Maryland has followed California’s stricter standards for vehicle emissions since 2008. However, before former Gov. Larry Hogan left office, he opted not to renew the state’s participation in the multi-state pact that aligns with California’s standards, according to DCist.
The Maryland Department of the Environment estimates that under the Clean Cars II rule, 383,000 fewer gas-powered vehicles would be sold in the state by 2030. By 2035, the department estimates that figure would increase to 1.68 million vehicles by 2035.
Climate advocates praised the state’s move Monday, saying it will help the state meet its climate targets and fight the impacts of climate change.
“Adopting Advanced Clean Cars II is vital to meet Maryland’s climate and public health goals,” Ramon Palencia-Calvo, director of Maryland’s League of Conservation Voters, said in a statement Monday. “This is especially true for communities of color and low income communities that continue to bear the brunt of the climate burden and face higher exposure to pollution. Increasing the numbers of clean vehicles [on] our roads will reduce respiratory illness and hospitalizations, leading to healthier outcomes.”
In an effort to accelerate the adoption of the Advanced Clean Cars rule, the Air Quality Control Advisory Council on Monday recommended the Maryland Department of the Environment propose a regulation to enact the new standards.
MDE will follow the process for a proposed regulation, which includes a public hearing and opportunities for public comment, according to the governor’s office. The department is aiming to have the regulation enacted in September, according to the governor’s office.