ESG & Industry Updates

Oh Truck No! Three Northeast States Adopt Zero Emission Vehicle Rules

Posted by Kelly Burke on Mar 23, 2022 10:31:17 AM

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The Advanced Clean Truck Rule, first adopted in California, has been adopted by three Northeastern States as well - namely, Massachusetts, New York & New Jersey. The rule requires an increasing percentage of medium & heavy duty trucks sold to be Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV), beginning in 2025. The Act requires manufacturers to participate in a credit/deficit program to increase the number of ZEVs sold in the state, and a one time report detailing in-state operation of vehicles over 8500lb to "inform future decisions about emission reductions from the transportation sector". 

Despite being a relatively small percentage of the total vehicles in the United States, medium and heavy duty trucks contribute an estimated 60% of tailpipe nitrogen and particle emissions. So far, California, NY, MA, NJ and Oregon have adopted the rule (Maine is expected to sign on later in 2022) and all combined their fleets constitute about 20% of the total vehicle class, so their adoption of the regulations is expected to have a major and relatively immediate impact. In New Jersey, their transportation sector is responsible for 40% of emissions and despite impacted vehicles (buses, trucks) only making up about 40% of their total number, they're responsible for 25% of transport related emissions. Massachusetts by 2050 expects to see a 51% reduction in nitrous oxide, 23% in particulate matter emissions, and 53% GHG emissions drops as a result of adopting this measure. If you extrapolate these expectations out, the impact of this rule's adaptation should be very significant.  

Of added significance is, as discussed with regard to current Administration concerns about environmental justice, the Advanced Clean Truck Rule is expected to be especially beneficial to historically impacted communities, as heavy transportation and its resultant particulate emissions disproportionately impact urban communities, including communities of color. The steep reduction in GHG and particulates expected from ZEV adaption will have the greatest impact where those emissions are currently concentrated most heavily. 

The rule is in effect pre point of sale, so it impacts manufacturers of these medium & heavy duty trucks. It's a little unclear yet how timelines, if any become put in place, would work for existent fleets - one can only assume that the one time reporting rule included in the ACT adoption will be used to address that question down the line. It's also unclear what exactly the mix of ZEV looks like, and how the timeline on the rules impact will impact sales cycles and equipment turnover going forward, and what impact that will have on fleets, fleet operators, and end level consumers. 

I wrote an article for Oil & Energy Magazine's Jan/Feb issue on the specifics of the rule and how it breaks out by each state that has adopted thus far in the Northeast. You can read that article in its entirety here: Oh Truck No! Three Northeast States Adopt Zero-Emission Vehicle Rule 

 

 

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Topics: Massachusetts, climate change, carbon emissions, emissons, environmental justice

MA Passes Landmark Climate Change & Environmental Justice Bill

Posted by Kelly Burke on Apr 1, 2021 3:07:36 PM

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Friday, March 23rd, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed into law Senate Bill 9 "An Act Creating a Next Generation Roadmap for Massachusetts Climate Change Policy" that includes provisions described as "some of the most aggressive greenhouse gas emissions reductions targets in the country"

The ultimate goal of the bill is for Massachusetts to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, and includes 5 year sublimit goals to that end for impacted sectors (transportation, buildings, etc).

The bill also serves to codify Environmental Justice provisions into Massachusetts law, to both define disparately impacted communities, and provide new tools and protections for those communities going forward. As part of the Environmental Justice approach, $12 million in annual funding was established for the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center to create a pathway to clean energy for environmental justice communities, minority and women owned businesses and fossil fuel industry workers. 

The Department of Public Utilities (DPU) is additionally required to balance equity and accessibility as part of their decision making process regarding regulations in addition to safety, system security, and emissions reductions. Lastly, the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) is expanded to require environmental impact studies for all projects that impact air quality within a mile of Environmental Justice Neighborhoods and evaluate not just the proposed project's impact but the cumulative impact to the area of projects over time. 

Other major takeaways from the bill:

  • Utilities - first-time greenhouse gas emissions standard for municipal lighting plants, requiring 50% non-emitting electricity by 2030, 75 percent by 2040 and net-zero by 2050.
  • Solar - The bill prioritizes equitable solar program access for low-income neighborhoods. It also provides solar incentives for businesses by exempting them from net metering cap so they can set solar up on business properties to offset electric usage (and cost).
  • Wind - utilities will be required to buy an additional 2,400 megawatts of offshore wind 
  • Natural Gas - Enhanced pipeline safety goals that require adopting provisions including increased fines for safety violations, and enhanced training/certification requirements for utility contractors. Also sets targets for leak reduction along pipelines. 
  • Technology & Other Related Items: Senate Bill 9 also sets benchmarks for clean energy technology - electric vehicles, EV charging stations, anaerobic digesters, solar technology, and energy storage technology. Additionally, on the consumer side there are new regulations set for appliance energy efficiency. 

Obviously, the bill is very comprehensive and there are a lot of details and policy changes involved, some of which we won't know the exact implications of until new projects that are under its scope start rolling out. You can read more on the exact provisions at the Mass.gov website if you are interested in digging into the details, starting with the official press release here: Governor Baker Signs Climate Legislation to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Protect Environmental Justice Communities

 

 

 


 

 

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Topics: EV Charger, Massachusetts, climate change, carbon emissions, renewable energy, environmental justice

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