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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: Mary Nichols, the clean-air hero California needs in the Trump era

Mary Nichols
Mary Nichols, head of California’s Air Resources Board, at a meeting in Sacaramento.
(Carl Costas / For The Times)

To the editor: Is there a more effective public servant in California than Mary Nichols? (“California reaches climate deal with automakers, spurning Trump,” July 25)

Her nearly two decades as chairwoman of the California Air Resources Board has enabled our state to lead the nation, and much of the world, in efficiency. She realized early on that we needed to transition to clean, renewable electricity, and that electrifying transportation was key to any successful outcome.

To that end, CARB began gradually regulating both stationary and mobile pollution sources, allowing the industry sufficient time to increase efficiency.

Nichols, along with a solid staff of experts, arm wrestled a third of the auto industry into compliance by offering them an extra year. The rest of the industry will comply because they want to do business here.

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Standing up to Trump and winning in such a public fashion deserves admiration from all of us who want a cleaner environment.

Paul Scott, Santa Monica

The writer is co-founder of the electric vehicle advocacy groupPlug-In America.

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To the editor: In this appalling era, with the Trump administration and the Republican Party blatantly siding with Russia and big polluters on every front, the news about automakers actually doing the right thing and making a deal with California regulators to improve fuel mileage is mind boggling.

Even if Honda, Ford, Volkswagen and BMW are motivated by a desire to avoid a regulatory nightmare, the decision is a breathtaking win for public health, the environment and the fight against climate change.

Of course, in light of what was known about climate change decades go, automakers should have worked to improve fuel standards and promote electric cars years ago, potentially staving off the extreme heat waves and flooding now wracking the planet. And the bar is now so, so low.

But with oil and coal lobbyists happily installed in federal environmental agencies, working overtime to help their friends squeeze the last dollar out of every drop of oil, this news is an exhilarating win. What a proud time for California and a major victory for the planet.

Wendy Blais, North Hills


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