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Uncovering America's methamphetamine history; PA Early Intervention programs vital for child development; measuring long-term impact of the O.J. Simpson trial on media literacy.

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President Biden's name could be left off the ballot in Alabama and Ohio, the Justice Dept. mandates background checks for gun show purchases, and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds moves to allow state police to arrest undocumented migrants.

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Housing advocates fear rural low-income folks who live in aging USDA housing could be forced out, small towns are eligible for grants to enhance civic participation, and North Carolina's small and Black-owned farms are helped by new wind and solar revenues.

NM's new rules for clean cars, trucks include EV purchase incentives

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Thursday, December 21, 2023   

New Mexico's air quality is not the worst in the nation but it could be better, and the recent adoption of new standards for clean cars and trucks are part of an effort to curb pollutants which damage health and the environment.

The state already has an Energy Transition Act to move New Mexico to a 100% carbon-free electricity grid by 2045. And it adopted methane-emission rules prior to those recently announced by the federal government.

David Baake, attorney for the Rio Grande chapter of the Sierra Club, said the new clean car rules dovetail with the state's broader climate strategy.

"The three largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in New Mexico are the oil and gas production sector, the power sector and then transportation," Baake outlined. "We'll have pretty incredible benefits in terms of public health and also the climate benefits."

As adopted in November by two governing boards, new rules will require 43% of new cars and light-duty trucks delivered to the state to be electric by 2027, and 82% by 2032. Recent hearings included testimony from supporters and opponents, including car dealers who fear New Mexico is moving too fast.

Clean car and truck regulations were first developed in California and have been adopted by 19 other states. While some argued New Mexico's timeline is not feasible, Baake countered many major fleets in the trucking industry already are making inroads.

"Thanks to the tax credits and other incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act, the heavy-duty commercial trucking industry is already on track to come really close to meeting the rule's target, just based on market trends," Baake observed.

State residents are eligible for several incentives from their utility provider for home electric vehicle chargers and installation, lower whole-home rates for charging at night, and a potential $4,000 rebate in 2024 for EV purchases. On Jan. 1, a federal tax credit of between $4,000 and $7,500 will also be taken off the dealer's price at the point of purchase.

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


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