Impending emissions regulations could have real consequences


By Jordan Radloff

The California state government announced in a Sept. 18 news conference that it would be filing a lawsuit against the federal government to protect its right to set vehicle emission standards. This was a result of the Trump administration’s announcement that it plans to replace California’s emission regulations with less strict regulations. California should retain the right to keep strict limits on greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles in order to protect the environment from the negative effects of emissions.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Governor Gavin Newsom announced Sept. 20 that a lawsuit was filed against the Trump administration in conjunction with 22 other states, including Illinois, according to the Associated Press. This is an important move by state governments to protect states’ rights. In this instance, the federal government is attempting to revoke states’ right to limit vehicle emissions.

Greenhouse gas emissions can have detrimental effects on the climate.

“Carbon dioxide is the main contributor to climate change, especially through the burning of fossil fuels,” according to the David Suzuki Foundation, an environmental organization.

High amounts of carbon dioxide being put into the atmosphere by gasoline powered vehicles should be controlled by the regulations of the government of California, Illinois or any other state.

“Regulations by themselves may not always be fully protective of both human health and the environment,” William Mills, associate professor of engineering technology in the Environmental Health and Safety Department, said. “Many times regulations are not fully protective of the environment, especially with the methodology of the U.S. government, which aren’t based on precautionary principles. Why the federal government would attempt to relax regulations when there’s documented evidence that the current regulations aren’t even protective, I can’t explain.”

In Illinois, requirements for emission testing are fairly lax. Smog testing is only required in Cook, DuPage and Lake counties, and only certain zip codes of Kane, Kendall, McHenry, Will, Madison, Monroe and St. Clair counties, according to the Illinois Vehicle Emissions Inspection Law. DeKalb county does not require emissions testing on vehicles because it is not a densely populated urban area.

Ideally, emission testing should be enforced countywide across the nation in order to limit the amount of carbon dioxide emissions. The current regulations put in place by state governments may be enough to temporarily impede the growing issue of detrimental global climate change. The attempts by the federal government to weaken these regulations, such as the case in California, may have catastrophic consequences on the progress being made to protect the environment and needs to be opposed by state governments.