WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), the co-founder and co-chair of the bicameral Electrification Caucus, and Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) joined 13 Senators in calling on the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation (Joint Office) to prioritize the deployment of zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty infrastructure as part of its core mission.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law created the Joint Office to leverage the combined expertise of the U.S. Departments of Transportation and Energy to provide resources, guidance, and technical assistance to communities as they navigate the electrification of the transportation sector. The language gives the Joint Office broad authority over its work, allowing its focus to evolve as directed by both departments.
“[We cannot] afford to focus exclusively on light-duty vehicles, as heavy-duty vehicles disproportionately contribute to poor air quality in communities along roadways and near goods movement facilities, such as ports and warehouses,” wrote the Senators. “Despite comprising only 10 percent of the vehicles on the road, heavy-duty vehicles are responsible for 28 percent of the sector’s greenhouse gas emissions, 45 percent of its nitrogen oxide emissions, and 57 percent of its particulate matter emissions. The air quality and public health impacts from old heavy-duty vehicles are severe and well-documented, and their impact is felt most acutely in environmental justice communities.”
“The Administration has an immensely important opportunity to lead—building upon the collaboration between California regulators and truck manufacturers—by directing the Joint Office to expand its work to prioritize the adoption of zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicles and infrastructure. Doing so will provide communities, utilities, regulators, and vehicle manufacturers with the guidance and expertise necessary to make this transition successful,” continued the Senators.
In addition to Heinrich and Padilla, Senators Tom Carper (D-Del.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) also signed the letter.
The letter is endorsed by: CALSTART, the Engine Manufacturers Association, Earthjustice, the League of Conservation Voters, Evergreen Action, Public Citizen, Sierra Club, GreenLatinos, and Hip Hop Caucus.
The recommendations in the letter are necessary to facilitate a successful transition from high-polluting, heavy-duty diesel vehicles toward zero-emission vehicles across the nation. That includes a historic agreement reached by the California Air Resources Board and the Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association (EMA) in July to achieve 100 percent zero-emission heavy-duty vehicle sales in California by 2036. As part of this agreement, EMA committed to increase their efforts to sell clean trucks and support zero-emission vehicle infrastructure in California and in other states that adopt California’s ambitious rules.
Heinrich has consistently fought for emissions reductions in the transportation sector. Last month, Heinrich led 80 of his colleagues in writing a bicameral letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), urging the agency to finalize the strongest feasible greenhouse gas emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles as part of their Phase 3 rule.
In June, Heinrich and Padilla and U.S. Representative Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.) hosted an electric truck showcase with members of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC) and the bicameral Electrification Caucus to demonstrate market readiness and diverse technology available to accelerate the transition to medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicles (EVs).