With new data from scientists, including NASA, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), and Berkeley Earth, showing that the last seven years are the hottest in recorded history, several U.S. states are taking it upon themselves to do something about it by looking to reduce emissions through a variety of laws.
In Connecticut, a new law, Public Act 22-25, authorizes the state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to push emissions standards lower for medium and heavy-duty trucks. Even though big trucks account for only 6% of vehicle traffic, they account for more than 50% of nitrogen oxide emissions, according to state officials.
“The transportation sector is the number one polluter in Connecticut. We recently passed the Clean Air Act, which takes bold steps to decarbonize our transportation system, making it easier and cheaper for everyone to reduce their carbon footprint,” said Governor Ned Lamont on Twitter.
These laws also aim at improving air quality and reducing the corresponding health issues related to carbon emissions.
“In addition to the important health benefits to residents, the measures in this law provide much-needed tools in our effort to make significant reductions in GHG emissions from the transportation sector, an area in which we need to make significant progress in order to get back on track to meet our 2030 GHG emissions target,” DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes said.
The new laws include these provisions:
- Zero-Emission School buses: Increases transportation contracts to 10 years for school districts with at least one electric bus (EV). Over the next five years, $5 billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill will be made available to communities throughout the U.S. for the transition to zero-emission buses. By 2030, buses will be 100% EV in environmental justice school districts and the same by 2040 in other districts.
- Medium and Heavy-Duty Trucks: Authorizes DEEP to adopt California medium- and heavy-duty emission standards. Allows DEEP to establish a voucher program to support the use of zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicles funding the program from the Connecticut Hydrogen and Electric Automobile Purchase Rebate (CHEAPR) account. Authorizes DEEP to develop a strategy to reduce emissions from freight movement in the state.
- State Fleet Electrification: Modifies the schedule for electrifying the state fleet and prohibits the procurement of diesel-powered buses after Jan. 1, 2024.
- CHEAPR Program: Makes changes to the program, including making the board advisory-only, modifying the board’s membership with five new seats, giving priority to low-income individuals and residents of environmental justice communities, and extending eligibility to businesses, municipalities, nonprofits, and e-bikes. It directs all of the greenhouse gas reduction fees and part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative funds to the CHEAPR account.
- New Construction Electric Vehicle Charging Requirements: Requires a percentage of parking spaces in certain new construction areas to be equipped with either EV charging stations or charging station infrastructure.
- Traffic Signal Grant Program Requires the state’s transportation department to establish a matching grant program to help municipalities modernize existing traffic signal equipment.
- Right to Charge: Establishes “right to charge” (a law first passed in California that allows an EV charger to be installed within an owner’s unit or designated parking place) in condominiums and common interest communities, provides for “renter’s right to charge” with certain specifications.