Sunday, July 21, 2024

Virginia Officials Support New EPA Clean Truck Standards

Although heavy-duty trucks make up 10% of vehicles on the road, they create more than 25% of total pollution. (Adobe Stock)

HAMPTON ROADS — Virginia officials support the Environmental Protection Agency’s new emissions rule. The federal clean truck standards will reduce emissions by up to 60% in 2032 and prevent 1-billion metric tons of carbon pollution. Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Virginia and nationwide.

Phillip Jones, Newport News Mayor, said the new rule helps end the city’s environmental disparities.

“We have a very large multiple coal company in downtown Newport News in the southeast part of our community,” he said. “That’s going to lead to higher rates of asthma for that community. There’s a lot of air-quality issues in downtown Newport News.”

Jones noted the city has taken steps to reduce emissions. The city’s school district has been using propane-powered buses and Newport News is purchasing alternate energy-powered vehicles. He added any opposition to this work centers on larger upfront costs, but the long-term benefits are worthwhile. The EPA’s rule goes into effect in 2027.

Transportation agencies are also working to cut emissions. Hampton Roads Transit has been working to cut emissions with cleaner buses.

Sibyl Pappas, chief engineering and facilities officer with Hampton Roads Transit, said the agency’s upcoming bus maintenance facility furthers its emissions-reduction goals.

“It’s very near where Dominion Energy is bringing offshore wind onshore. So, we’ve talked with Dominion about buying wind power. So, potentially, those buses are zero emissions at the tailpipe and zero emissions at the generation point,” Pappas said.

The facility will open in 2029 and be net zero-ready upon completion. While HRT had some hiccups with electric buses, Pappas feels the EPA rule encourages climate-smart initiatives for all economic sectors.

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