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North Carolina Governor Paves Way for Electric Trucks, Buses

Gov. Roy Cooper issued an executive order to establish the North Carolina Advanced Clean Trucks program, which will require medium and heavy-duty truck fleets to increase their rate of zero-emission vehicles starting by 2025.

(TNS) — Gov. Roy Cooper issued an executive order Tuesday, Oct. 25, that could pave the way for more electric trucks, buses and vans to roll across the state.

Executive Order 271 establishes the North Carolina Advanced Clean Trucks program, which will require manufacturers of medium and heavy-duty (MHD) vehicles to make an increasing percentage of their North Carolina fleets zero-emission starting by 2025.

The Governor, a Democrat, noted the Advanced Clean Trucks program builds on a multi-state commitment North Carolina entered in July 2020 that calls for all MHD vehicles to be zero-emission by 2050.

The state will propose a rule dictating the pace of this transition to the Environmental Management Commission by May 15, 2023.

“North Carolina is already a national hub for truck and bus manufacturing and supply chain development, and we should not miss the opportunity to lead the market-driven transition already underway to cleaner and increasingly cheaper zero-emission technologies that benefit our economy and our communities,” Cooper said.

Tuesday’s executive order builds on previous actions put forward by Cooper, including Executive Order 246, which was signed early this year. That order called for DOT to develop a plan to help the state invest in electric vehicle infrastructure like charging stations and increase adaptation.

A greenhouse gas emissions inventory update conducted by the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality as part of the previous order showed that transportation emitted more greenhouse gases than any other sector in North Carolina.

Tuesday’s order also requires the NC Department of Health and Human Services to capture the impact emissions from cars and trucks are having on communities across the state. The order requires the department to publish a report on the impact of pollutants linked with transportation, while also keeping air quality data on the department’s environmental health dashboard.

Several environmental and industry stakeholders celebrated Cooper’s order.

“Ultimately, the announcement means North Carolina is putting itself in a position of leadership,” said Chris Nordh, senior vice president of fleet and transit at ABB, a Swiss-based corporation that produces electric vehicle chargers. ABB’s North Carolina headquarters is in Cary, which is where Cooper spoke Tuesday.

In a statement, Patricio Portillo of the New York-based Natural Resources Defense Council said the Advanced Clean Trucks rule will help North Carolina “combat pollution from diesel trucks that disproportionately pollute communities of color, low-income and rural communities.”

Yet praise for the executive order wasn’t universal. After Cooper’s announcement, North Carolina Speaker of the House Tim Moore, a Republican, questioned the logic behind the executive order on Twitter.

“While we examine the details of Gov. Cooper’s executive action announced today, I can’t help but think that now is not the time for expansive, burdensome new mandates for our trucking industry while inflation and supply chain issues continue to crush NC families,” Moore said.

©2022 The Charlotte Observer. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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