NRDC Praises Governor's Proposed Funding for Vehicle Clean-Up Program

LOS ANGELES (June 15, 2004) - The following is a statement by Gail Ruderman Feuer, senior attorney for NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), regarding Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's announcement today that he is including in the state's budget $61 million in yearly funding for the Carl Moyer vehicle clean-up program through changes to the smog check fee program. Funding for the Carl Moyer program is scheduled to expire next month. The Governor's proposal also raises an additional $6.8 million per year for the Low-Income Vehicle Repair and Assistance program. This program provides essential financial assistance for low income Californians to repair their polluting vehicles.

"This is a very positive step by the Governor. We applaud the Governor for establishing a long-term funding source for the Carl Moyer program, which cleans our air by encouraging companies to buy cleaner vehicles and equipment. We likewise support funding to help low-income Californians pay to fix their polluting vehicles. We call on the legislature to approve this essential funding, and to follow this important first step with additional funding needed for all of California to breathe clean air. Incentive programs to clean-up existing dirty fleets of vehicles and equipment are critical to meet the Governor's goal of achieving a 50 percent reduction in pollution in California.

"We also urge the Governor to include in the budget funding for clean-up of our state's aging school bus fleet to insure cleaner transportation for our children. Funding for the state's Low Emission School Bus Program will also expire next month. We support the creation of additional funding for incentive clean-up programs, including a mitigation fee to be placed on petroleum fuels and an increase in the fee on the purchase of new tires. A fee on petroleum fuels would place the fair share of pollution on the fuels that are responsible for two-thirds of the air pollution in California."