I have worked the past two decades on policies meant to protect public health and our climate from the pollution spewed by cars, trucks, and buses that crisscross our streets and highways everyday. The policy and campaign work often places me and partners on the opposite side of representatives from industry, particularly with respect to requirements to increase the sales of zero emission vehicles like plug-in electric vehicles (EVs).
But every now and then, out of the opposing viewpoints, there can be breakthrough moments. Today was one such day, as clean energy advocacy organizations including NRDC, representatives from the auto industry, and the auto dealers association came together on an agreement around the Clean Cars Nevada program being developed.
Since Governor Sisolak announced the Clean Cars Nevada initiative in June of 2020, the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP) has been hard at work developing requirements as part of its Clean Cars Nevada program to expand the availability of electric vehicles, reduce air pollution, and fight climate change. Sixteen other states and the District of Columbia have already adopted or are in the process of adopting clean car programs which, under the Clean Air Act, must be based on California’s requirements. Stakeholders in Nevada, together with the agency, worked for months to resolve key issue, with changes that ultimately provide increased certainty for all parties that the program will be – in practice – neither weaker nor tougher than California’s program as the state phases into the program. The agreement also paves the electric road – so to speak – for organizations to work together on complementary EV programs.
Electrification is a team sport – and partners within the Nevada Clean Cars coalition including the Nevada Conservation League, Western Resource Advocates, Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, American Lung Association, Plug In America among others – together with industry representatives and government officials were vital to reaching the agreement. As noted on the Nevada Clean Cars Coalition website (here):
“The agreement reached in Nevada is a historic first.” said Simon Mui, Deputy Director of the Clean Vehicles & Fuels Group for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Clean energy advocates, industry representatives, and agency officials have resolved key issues in Nevada’s proposed Clean Cars program that will serve as a model for other states considering their own programs.”
“Automakers are committed to vehicle electrification,” said Steven Douglas, Vice President of Energy and Environment for the Alliance for Automotive Innovation. “Auto Innovators appreciates the work by the agency, clean energy advocates, and other stakeholders to develop regulatory changes that we support and that support the state’s overall goal to increase electrification. These regulations are just one step, and we look forward to continuing our work to advocate for the complementary measures – such as incentives, infrastructure, building codes – necessary for Nevada families and businesses to embrace electric vehicles.”
“Nevada’s franchised auto dealers are excited to play a key role in the electrification of Nevada’s fleet.” said Andrew MacKay, Executive Director of the Nevada Franchised Auto Dealers Association. “We appreciate NDEP and the stakeholders involved in this process and for including the crediting system in the latest draft regulations. This will prove to be very helpful as we near the 2025 implementation date.”
“I am glad to see leaders come together to take a big step forward on clean car standards to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality,” said Christi Cabrera, Policy and Advocacy Director of Nevada Conservation League. “These standards move our state into a clean energy-powered future.”
“The American Lung Association ‘Road to Clean Air’ report finds that transportation electrification can save Nevadans nearly $750 million in annual public health savings benefits,” said Melissa Ramos, Manager of Clean Air Advocacy for the American Lung Association. “Advancing ZEV deployment under the Nevada Clean Cars program will help make cleaner air a reality for all Nevadans.”
This is one big step for Nevada and we look forward to accelerating toward a clean, electric future.