Activists warn rollback of U.S. clean car standards will hurt the Triangle

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Environmental activists gathered outside Durham City Hall on Tuesday to acknowledge that time spent driving traditional motor vehicles contributes to carbon pollution and to explain how commuters appreciate the fuel economy standards set by the federal government.

"The power that we have is the power of public opinion. And there's no question that in our state, in the Triangle region and our city, these clean-car standards are very popular," said Mayor Steve Schewel.

Schewel touted the scheduled replacement of diesel-powered buses in Durham's fleet with those that run on electric power as responses to citizen awareness of the need for clean air.

"Because they want the clean air that they know they bring, and they want the jobs that they know they bring."

Schewel stood with a group of environmental activists as they warned about the danger posed by a Trump administration rollback of existing clean-car standards.

They spoke about the potential impact of the proposed rollback on air quality now -- and for future generations. They also said they're urging Sen. Thom Tillis, R-NC, to oppose the rollback.

Asked if they have a response yet from the senator, Rachel McIntosh-Kastrinsky of Medical Advocates For Healthy Air said, "We sure hope we do. I will say that Senator Tillis has been a little more in line with environmental issues across our state and across our country. We're hoping that we can persuade him, especially after speaking today."

ABC11 also reached out to Tillis and is awaiting his response.
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