When Coalition board members met Nov. 13 to hash out goals for 2019, a clear consensus emerged: the need to achieve as much as possible in the short term. The two priorities that rose to the surface were refocusing on policies that help achieve air quality goals now, and educating incoming legislators and their staff.
“When the wildfire smoke threatened the health of so many Californians, we were reminded again of what’s at stake. It’s time to refocus on setting, and meeting, short-term emission reduction targets,” said Coalition President Thomas Lawson.
And California won’t meet its 2030 air quality goals unless the transportation sector steps up emissions reductions now, according to the 2018 Progress Report on California’s Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act (SB 375).
“The Legislature has—rightly—focused on setting the state on a course to meet long-term goals for zero-NOx emissions,” Lawson continued. “What we need now are policies that lead to immediate greenhouse gas emission reductions, such as incentivizing the purchase of near-zero-NOx natural gas engines while helping California meet its air quality goals for 2020, 2030, and beyond.”
For example, NGVs can be an integral part of helping air management districts reach air quality goals by 2023. They can also help clean up the goods-movement sectors. The only way to do that is to get dirty trucks off the road now, and as the state moves toward increasingly strict regulations on heavy-duty diesel trucks, Lawson will advocate policies that make NGVs an integral part of the transition to near-zero-emission and zero-emission vehicles.
Overall, the Coalition will continue to remain fuel neutral, supporting RNG and incentives for alternative fuel vehicles.
“To really clean up the heavy-duty sector, fleets need to be able to choose among a range of alternative-fuel vehicles that allow them to use their trucks for many different purposes,” said Lawson.
The Coalition expects to finalize specific plans in January. Also in January, the Coalition will begin reaching out to the newly elected legislators, their staff, and the staff of incoming Gov. Gavin Newsom to start conversations about where NGVs fit into California’s clean transportation policies.
“The Coalition didn’t lose any allies in the midterm elections, and with a supermajority of Democrats in the Assembly and the Senate, 2019 is an opportunity to build on the successes of 2018 and put together sound policies and sign them into law,” said Lawson. “We have the momentum to do that, and we have the political will to do that—we just need to go out and execute.”