Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser has promised to challenge in court the Trump administration's rollback of Obama-era clean car standards after revised rules were announced this week.
Hannah Collazo, state director of Environment Colorado, says the move to weaken standards would result in 1.5 billion additional metric tons of air pollution by 2040.
"These clean car standards work," she stresses. "They were projected to double the fuel economy and cut global warming pollution in half for cars sold in 2025."
Environmental Protection Agency chief Andrew Wheeler says the new standards, which would require automakers to increase fuel economy 1.5 percent per year, down from 5%, strikes the right regulatory balance.
The administration projects the move will increase oil consumption by 2 billion additional barrels, and cost consumers an extra $1,000 dollars for gas over the lifetime of new vehicles.
David Friedman with Consumer Reports says Colorado and nearly two dozen other states are moving forward to challenge the new standards in court.
"And because it is such a weak rule that is not based on fact, not based on the data, not based on the science, we're expecting that that should have a very positive outcome for consumers," he states.
Collazo is worried about health impacts across the state. Metro Denver has more than 3 million people and experienced 131 days of degraded air quality in 2018, and she says at a time where people are looking to the federal government to protect public health, this is the wrong move.
"These rollbacks will just exacerbate health problems for Coloradans," she points out. "Degraded air quality exacerbates asthma, increases respiratory issues and even leads to premature death."