Energy Exchange

EPA must protect California’s life-saving clean truck rules

By Larissa Koehler and Alice Henderson

This week, the Environmental Protection Agency is hearing from scientists, mothers, healthcare professionals, public health and environmental advocates – including EDF – and many others who submitted comments in support of California clean truck standards.

As EPA works toward finalizing federal heavy-duty emission standards proposed earlier this year, the agency has been accepting public comment on its notices considering Clean Air Act preemption waivers for California clean truck standards, including the Advanced Clean Trucks and Heavy-Duty Omnibus NOx (low-NOx) standards. Several other states have already adopted these standards in recent years to reduce health-harming pollution from new freight trucks and buses. The ACT requires an increasing percentage of new trucks and buses to be zero-emission through 2035, while the low-NOx standards aim to reduce nitrogen oxides from new diesel trucks.

Taken together, these protections will prevent almost 5,000 premature deaths, save California billions of dollars in health care costs and create thousands of new jobs by 2035. But the Truck & Engine Manufacturers Association — a trade group of the nation’s largest engine manufacturers, including Volvo and Daimler — has opposed these safeguards at the state and federal level, and is now challenging in court California’s ability to implement the low-NOx emission standards.

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Posted in Air Quality, California, Electric Vehicles / Language: / Comments are closed

4 main takeaways from America’s top transit agencies on electrifying buses

Many U.S. transit agencies, from New York to Los Angeles to Houston, are working to convert their bus fleets from diesel to electric. The number of electric transit buses currently on order or operating in the U.S. grew 112% from 2018 to 2021, according to CALSTART. Electric buses are cleaner, quieter and increasingly more cost-effective than traditional diesel-powered alternatives.

While many makes and models of electric buses are now available to address transit agencies’ needs, charging is still a significant hurdle. Transit agencies are faced with the complexity of determining charging infrastructure needs while maintaining operations and reducing costs, which can be a maze of decisions and obstacles to overcome.

To uncover the emerging trends, barriers and best practices these agencies are implementing to meet their own electrification goals, EDF worked with Atlas Public Policy to interview 28 transit agencies in the process of electrifying their fleets, as well as utilities, engineering firms, charging manufacturers and thought leaders in transit charging. The results are highlighted in a new report out today entitled, Deploying Charging Infrastructure for Electric Transit Buses: Best practices and lessons learned from deployments to date.

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Posted in Electric Vehicles / Language: / Comments are closed

Now is the time for California to go bold on electric trucks and buses

There is no single fix to the climate, air quality, political and economic challenges facing California, but the state’s early action to electrify its fleet of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles is one example of smart policy that can move us in a positive direction. As California’s legislative session concludes in August, lawmakers and the California Air Resources Board should take the next steps to implement the electric transportation transition with tools that are right at their fingertips.

Nationally, the transportation sector is the largest source of climate emissions and a primary contributor to local air pollution and the negative health and economic impacts that go along with it. Medium- and heavy- duty vehicles – the trucks and buses that move our goods and people – make up a small portion of total wheels on the road, but they produce an outsized portion of all emissions. In California, MHD vehicles make up just 6% of vehicles on the road, but produce 72% of the state’s health-harming nitrogen oxide emissions and 21% of all transportation climate emissions. Transitioning these vehicles to zero-emission models would make a big difference for air quality and the manufacturing economy, a sector where California is becoming a leader.

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Posted in Air Quality, California, Electric Vehicles / Language: / Comments are closed

INTERACTIVE MAP: Who is impacted most by overlooked pollution from America’s small oil and gas wells

A new EDF map is making it easier to access information about the communities across the country who are impacted by pollution from small oil and gas wells with leak-prone equipment.

There are over half a million wells across the country that are producing less than 15 barrels of oil and gas a day. But while they produce just 6% of the nation’s oil and gas, a new study reveals they are causing half of wellsite pollution nationwide.

Explore the map to learn more about your county.

This pollution has a very real impact on the climate and on the health of communities who live near these facilities. Not only do these facilities emit significant volumes of the potent greenhouse gas methane, they also leak other pollution that is toxic to human health and can severely deteriorate air quality.

Nearly 8 million people across the country live within half a mile of these well sites. A closer look at the data reveals that pollution from these wells has a disproportionate impact on many historically marginalized or vulnerable communities.

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Posted in Air Quality, Methane, Methane regulatons / Language: / Comments are closed

As nations sign on to end routine flaring, Biden admin must act

The last two months have seen encouraging momentum in the effort to tackle emissions of methane — a greenhouse gas that drives over a quarter of current warming — and the practice of flaring, which is a major source of energy waste and methane pollution.

Starting with last month’s Major Economies Forum, one of the last major climate gatherings before COP 27 in Egypt, signatories to the Global Methane Pledge introduced a new goal to end routine flaring as soon as possible, and by 2030 at the latest.

Then, just this week, the U.S. and Mexico announced a commitment to cooperate and help Mexico develop a plan to eliminate routine flaring in alignment with the Global Methane Pledge.

Fast action to end routine flaring is critical for reducing emissions of methane, protecting human health and the climate, and stopping needless waste of energy resources as the world faces an energy crisis spurred by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Now, the U.S. has work to do to ensure domestic policies can live up to our own global commitments. Fortunately, both the Bureau of Land Management and the Environmental Protection Agency have the authority and obligation to implement strong rules that end routine flaring.

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Posted in Air Quality, BLM Methane, Colorado, Methane regulatons, Natural Gas, New Mexico, PermianMAP / Language: / Comments are closed

In wake of Supreme Court ruling, we must go full steam ahead to reduce methane pollution

The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent climate change ruling has unfortunately restricted the tools available to EPA in its effort to address climate pollution from power plants. However, it’s also important to recognize that the ruling in no way changed EPA’s longstanding authority and duty to address climate pollution under the Clean Air Act to address climate pollution itself — including from new cars and freight trucks, industrial sources, new and existing power plants, and oil and gas development.  And with respect to oil and gas pollution, this decision in no way impedes the agency’s ongoing and important efforts to reduce oil and gas methane pollution.

It remains critical that the EPA exercise its clear authority and obligation to move forward with protective climate standards, including its proposed rules to curb methane pollution from the oil and gas sector, which emits roughly 16 million tons of methane annually. Globally, methane from human sources is responsible for over a quarter of the warming we are experiencing today.

EPA’s authority to tackle methane pollution was reaffirmed by bipartisan majorities in Congress just last year, and the agency has commonsense, cost-effective tools at hand to address the health harms posed by oil and gas methane pollution, which in the U.S. alone has the near-term climate impact every year of 294 million passenger vehicles. Read More »

Posted in Air Quality, Methane, Methane regulatons, Natural Gas / Language: / Comments are closed