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Biden administration moves to protect Alaska wilderness; opening statements and first witness in NY trial; SCOTUS hears Starbucks case, with implications for unions on the line; rural North Carolina town gets pathway to home ownership.

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The Supreme Court weighs cities ability to manage a growing homelessness crisis, anti-Israeli protests spread to college campuses nationwide, and more states consider legislation to ban firearms at voting sites and ballot drop boxes.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

VA adopts rule to sell only 'clean' cars starting in 2035

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Friday, February 16, 2024   

Virginia has adopted a new rule advancing clean car use.

The Advanced Clean Cars II Rule requires carmakers to only sell zero-emission vehicles by 2035. Some lawmakers are not so eager to have this come to fruition. Last year, Republicans in the House passed a bill to repeal a law holding Virginia to California's vehicle emissions standards. It was later defeated in the Senate.

Cheri Conca, transportation and smart growth program manager for the Virginia chapter of the Sierra Club, said misinformation has made it challenging to get this rule adopted.

"First of all, people think, 'Oh, this is some other state's rules or they think we can make up our own rules for Virginia.' The truth is every state has an option to either pick the EPA standards or you pick the Advanced Clean Car standards," Conca explained. "You have to pick one or the other."

A Southern Environmental Law Center report found lower vehicle emissions could save the state billions in health care-related costs. So far, 13 other states and Washington D.C., have adopted the Advanced Clean Car II Rule.

Like so many states, transportation is the leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions in Virginia, with 53% of carbon dioxide pollution stemming from passenger vehicles and light-duty trucks. The rule takes effect March 13.

Now the question becomes whether Virginia has the infrastructure to accommodate electric vehicles. Dominion Energy has been developing the state's electric car grid for some time, but Conca noted people wonder whether the energy infrastructure can handle it.

"When we think about the grid, people worry about the grid," Conca observed. "The amount of time you're actually charging your car is minimal. So, even if we have every new car sale, you know the amount of new cars compared to car sales overall, it's not going to topple the grid."

The electricity needed to power an EV in Virginia emits less than 17% of the carbon dioxide emitted from a traditional gasoline car. A Virginia Conservation Network report finds the state won't be able to meet its climate goals without a 43% greenhouse gas emissions reduction in the transportation sector by 2030.

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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