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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

NM Seeks Public Input on Zero-Emission Vehicle Standards

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Tuesday, September 19, 2023   

New Mexico wants more residents to drive electric vehicles, and is hosting a series of meetings to explain its advanced clean cars and trucks rules.

State rules require automakers to deliver an increasing percentage of new zero-emission cars and light-duty trucks for sale each year. The new rules are meant to improve air quality by reducing ground-level ozone and greenhouse-gas emissions.

Mona Blaber, communications director for the Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club, said adoption of the new rules through 2035 would provide $44 billion in economic benefits, including cost savings to drivers, and prevention of unnecessary deaths and health incidents.

"They're more affordable than people think," Blaber explained. "But we need these kinds of policies to keep bringing the price down, bring them to cost parity and make sure that all the infrastructure gets installed that we need."

The new rules would ensure by 2032, more than 80% of cars delivered to the state are electric, and a smaller percentage of medium- and heavy-duty trucks are electric by 2035. The first of three meetings to take public comment is today at Santa Fe's Southside Library.

Geographically, New Mexico is the fifth-largest state in the nation, with many rural roads. Blaber noted a $38 million network of charging stations will support electric vehicle owners.

"New Mexico is using federal money to install charging stations every 50 miles along both interstates," Blaber pointed out. "The next phase of that grant would be rural roads, and roads on the Navajo Nation."

She added the rules and substantial tax credits also encourage the purchase of plug-in hybrids capable of running 30 to 50 miles on a charge, before they switch to gas when the battery runs low.

"If you're going on a long road trip, you don't have to worry about making sure there's a charging station somewhere along the way," Blaber emphasize. "But most people hardly ever need to buy gas with a plug-in hybrid because most of your daily driving is less than 30 miles."

An online meeting about the rules is set for Oct. 4. A second in-person meeting will be held at Albuquerque's International District Library on Oct 16.

Disclosure: The Sierra Club contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Energy Policy, Environment, Environmental Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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