The California of the East
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— New Jersey wants to aggressively electrify trucks in the state, following California’s footsteps. But the process will be a test of the state’s political will.
— House appropriators are marking up their spending request for energy and water today. The bill boosts funding for DOE, the Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation by £1.5 billion. — Sen. Joe Manchin’s energy infrastructure bill gets a committee vote this week, possibly becoming a building block for bipartisan infrastructure legislation.
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Driving the day
CALIFORNIA OF THE EAST COAST: New Jersey is trying to recreate California’s aggressive framework for electrifying commercial trucks — and in only a fraction of the time, reports Pro’s Ry Rivard. What took California several years, New Jersey wants to emulate in several months, but truck manufacturers are calling it an unrealistic plan that would be ineffective at best and financially punishing at worst. Still, Trenton asserts that ambitious action is necessary to cut down on greenhouse gases and local pollution that causes thousands of hospitalizations per year.
And to pull it off would be a huge win for California in leading the national charge to lowering vehicle emissions. California approved new rules last summer to require big truck manufacturers to sell more diesel-free buses, delivery vans and semi-trucks. It hopes to force about a third of new trucks to be electric by 2030, with even tougher goals afterward.
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection unveiled its own version of the rule this spring and wants it adopted by the end of the year, with gradual increases in electric truck sales requirements starting in 2025. If New Jersey pulls it off, it’ll be a testament to the climate commitment Gov. Phil Murphy communicated when he said in 2017 that the state could become “the California of the East Coast.”
New Jersey Gov.
Phil Murphy. | Noah K. Murray/AP Photo
Critics say it isn’t enough to mandate electric trucks into the market. Consumers and manufacturers need incentives to cover the significant upfront costs of electric trucks (though the long-run costs in maintenance and repairs are lower than for conventional vehicles). A large proportion of commercial trucks in the state also come from elsewhere, and charging stations aren’t at a scale that could support a mass conversion to EVs.
New Jersey is attempting to remedy those concerns. The Board of Public Utilities and Murphy have pushed for more electrification infrastructure, and the state has a £15 million pilot program offering buyers £100,000 per truck. California has been pushing ahead of federal regulations on tailpipe emissions under EPA-contingent waivers allowed by the Clean Air Act, hoping other states will adopt its rules. Mary Nichols, who previously led the California Air Resources Board, said other states signing on to California’s regulation model could help the Golden State make its case to EPA that the trucking industry needs to be pushed into change quickly.
“If California is alone against the auto companies in front of EPA in a contentious waiver proceeding, it’s helpful to have other states say we want what California’s got,” Nichols told Ry. Read Ry’s full dive into the New Jersey electric truck push here.
On the Hill
WELCOME BACK: Recess is over and Congress is back. Here’s a rundown on some of this week’s committee action.
The House Appropriations’ Energy-Water subcommittee is marking up its energy and water spending proposal today, which includes a £1.5 billion boost in funding to the Department of Energy, Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation, according to a copy of the bill dropped on Sunday. Pro’s Eric Wolff, Kelsey Tamborrino and Annie Snider break down the proposal, which includes funding measures designed to help support President Joe Biden’s push to decarbonize the grid. But the final DOE figures still fall about £1 billion short of the president’s £46.1 billion budget request. Related: Pro’s Caitlin Emma breaks down appropriators’ Commerce-Justice-Science spending bill.
Later this week, Senate Energy Chair Joe Manchin‘s lengthy energy infrastructure bill will get a vote in committee Wednesday. The draft legislation features provisions to help financially struggling nuclear power plants and authorizes funding for several energy demonstration projects (a previous iteration included direct appropriations for the projects but got pushback from Ranking Member John Barrasso). It also expands sections on Western water infrastructure — a subject of concern during a hearing on the legislation last month, particularly as the West faces record drought and heat.
Anthony Adragna has more on the draft legislation, which could be included in the bipartisan infrastructure deal currently being converted to legislative text. Also Wednesday, two House Energy and Commerce subcommittees will meet together on oversight of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is also meeting on some key environment nominations: Alejandra Castillo to be assistant Commerce secretary for Economic Development, Jane Nishida to be assistant EPA administrator for International and Tribal Affairs, Jeffrey Prieto to be EPA general counsel, and Michael Connor to be assistant secretary of the Army for civil works at the Department of Defense.
The House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis will have a hearing Thursday on environmental justice through climate action, including infrastructure investments for EJ communities, the impacts of extreme heat on low income workers and students, and tribal investments in clean energy. The House Science Committee will meet Friday to discuss equity in energy innovation, and the House Natural Resources’ Oversight subcommittee will meet Thursday to discuss toxic playground and tire chemicals’ impact on endangered salmon.
Around the Agencies
BANKING ON GREEN: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen plans to push multinational development banks away from financing fossil fuel projects and “increase their climate ambition,” she said at a news conference Sunday. “As leading sources of official finance, the MDBs need to maximize the catalytic impact of their support for countries seeking to confront a changing climate, and to harness the economic opportunities embedded in the transition to a low-carbon economy.” Yellen urged MDBs to focus more on mobilizing private investments in sustainable and climate-focused projects in the developing world. She plans to gather the heads of MDBs to make her case to get their portfolios in line with the Paris climate agreement. Reuters has more.
Related: The European Central Bank announced last week that it’s implementing a plan to incorporate climate change considerations more in its decision making. Our colleagues in Europe have more. THURSDAY’S MEETING: FERC has its July public meeting Thursday and plans to launch a major rulemaking on electricity transmission, Eric reports. The commission plans to tackle and update cost allocation and transmission planning — two hurdles that proponents of new projects say are slowing the development of long transmission lines needed to connect renewable energy to population centers.
It’ll also likely be commissioner Neil Chatterjee’s final meeting after his term expired on June 30 (he’s allowed to stay on the commission until the end of the year or a replacement takes over). Eric has more on this month’s meeting for Pros. KERRY IN RUSSIA: U.S. climate envoy John Kerry is meeting with top Russian officials in Moscow today to discuss “various means of enhancing global climate ambition,” according to the State Department. He’ll be the highest ranking Biden administration official to meet with his Russian counterparts on Russian soil.
Russia is heavily dependent on coal and is the fourth largest CO2 emitter in the world. More from the Associated Press. The meeting comes against the backdrop of a fractured relationship between Russia and the U.S. over ransomware attacks suspected to be carried out by Russians. Biden spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday, where he said he would “take any necessary action” to defend critical U.S. infrastructure from cyberattacks. POLITICO’s Quint Forgey and Nahal Toosi have more on the call.
Beyond the Beltway
CASE FOR CES: A new study by the multi-institutional Clean Energy Futures Project maps the air quality and health benefits of a clean electricity standard, as well as the costs likely incurred by mandating 80 percent of energy coming from clean sources by 2030, and finds that a CES would have financial benefits that far outweigh its costs.
An 80×30 CES, which is inline with goals advocated by the Biden administration, would have an estimated £637 billion in climate benefits, while costing about £342 billion in fuel, new capital projects, converting existing facilities and operations, the study estimates. Read the study here.
Movers and Shakers
— Jason Ryan is now senior media relations manager at American Clean Power. He most recently was director of public affairs at BP, and is an ABC News alum. (H/t Playbook) — Sasha Mackler has been promoted to executive director of the Bipartisan Policy Center‘s energy program. Lesley Jantarasami will be the program’s new managing director. Xan Fishman is joining BPC as director of energy policy and carbon management.
A message from Chevron:
We’ve invested more than £1 billion in carbon capture, utilization and storage projects that are expected to capture nearly 5 million tonnes of CO2 per year. That’s roughly equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions produced by 660,000 US homes. Learn more.
— “Golf Carts Now Run on the Same Batteries as Your EV,” via Bloomberg. — “California regulator denies 21 fracking permit applications,” via POLITICO.
— “EPA recommends against granting Mountain Valley Pipeline permits,” via POLITICO.
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