In a move to protect state air pollution standards, the Board of Supervisors voted to develop a new policy prohibiting the purchase of vehicles from companies that have joined federal litigation opposing California’s ability to set greenhouse gas and vehicle emission standards. Those car manufacturers include General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, and Toyota.
Each year, LA County spends between $20 and $30 million to purchase or replace vehicles from the County’s fleet of more than 14,000 vehicles. LA County is the first county in California to adopt such a policy. Beginning next month, a similar policy will be in place governing the purchase of state vehicles, and other local jurisdictions in the state are expected to consider similar policies.
LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, author of the motion, said, “For 50 years, California has led the country in setting environmental standards, and we have demonstrated that we can use our market power to persuade manufacturers to build vehicles that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Trump Administration wants to bring back the bad old days of Smogtown when residents had to stay indoors to avoid toxic levels of pollution, but today, we have made it clear that we will fight for our right to clean air and blue skies.”
“Vehicle emissions are not only one of the biggest drivers of climate change, they are directly responsible for childhood asthma, cancer, and other health problems residents are suffering from,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn, co-author of the motion. “We shouldn’t be giving tax payer dollars to companies that are going along with efforts to undercut the progress we have made cutting emissions.”
Gary Gero, the County’s Chief Sustainability Officer who will lead implementation of the new policy, said, “LA County is the largest county in California to adopt a purchasing policy designed to protect California’s authority to set air pollution emission standards. This action makes clear that we are putting our money where our mouth is in order to protect these strong environmental standards that are so important to the health of millions of residents.”
“Los Angeles County has been standing up for the right of people to breathe clean air since the very beginning of the fight to force automakers to clean up smog,” said Mary D. Nichols, chair of the California Air Resources Board. “Now some of the industry giants, Toyota and General Motors, are backing Donald Trump in his attempt to take away California’s authority to control pollution from cars and light trucks. It is truly gratifying to see the Board of Supervisors step up to show that local governments can choose to buy only from manufacturers who support California’s view that cleaner air and good business go hand in hand.”