FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
(MINNEAPOLIS, MN) – Today, state and local leaders, including Hennepin County Commissioner Marion Greene, Margaret Anderson Kelliher, Director of The Minneapolis Department of Public Works, Joshua Houdek, Senior Program Manager for Land Use and Transportation at the Sierra Club North Star Chapter, and Jo Bjorgaard, BSN, RN, PHN, DNP Student, Climate Change and Health Consultant, gathered for a press conference to voice their support for stronger pollution standards for heavy-duty trucks and the need for continued investment to move the transportation sector towards zero emissions.
The transportation sector continues to be a significant contributor to climate change, accounting for approximately a quarter of Minnesota's greenhouse gas emissions. Minnesota, like the rest of the nation, is paving the way towards a zero-emission future, backed by significant investments in charging infrastructure, battery manufacturing, and consumer tax incentives for transitioning to electric vehicles. And that effort includes the Environmental Protection agency enacting strong clean truck standards to cut harmful pollution. The public comment period for these clean truck standards closes at the end of the day tomorrow, June 16.
Hennepin County Commissioner Marion Greene, District 3 emphasized the health and equity benefits for stronger clean car standards
“While Hennepin County continues to make progress on electrifying its transportation system, pollution from heavy duty trucks is one area where we absolutely need strong federal safeguards. Diesel pollution from trucks leads to reduced health outcomes for low wealth and vulnerable communities who tend to live closer to high traffic areas. They face increased risk of chronic illness, and missed work days, not to mention mounting health care costs. The EPA needs to pass strong truck standards to help provide equity for our communities as we continue our fight against pollution and climate change.
Margaret Anderson Kelliher, Director of The Minneapolis Department of Public Works, pointed to the existence of technologies that can modernize fleets and reduce pollution.
"We already possess the technology to transition to cleaner, modernized fleets," Anderson Kelliher said. "These federal clean truck standards will expedite the transition, benefiting our city and significantly reducing pollution. Guidance on a national level is critical if we want to make real progress in accelerating the adoption of clean truck technology."
Joshua Houdek, Senior Program Manager for Land Use and Transportation at the Sierra Club North Star Chapter, emphasized the significant pollution caused by heavy-duty vehicles.
"Nationally, heavy-duty vehicles comprise just 10 percent of all vehicles on our roads, but they're responsible for over 25 percent of pollution from the transportation sector, which is already the number one contributor to climate pollution in Minnesota, and the nation," said Houdek. "This highlights the critical importance of strong federal truck standards for one of the highest polluting sources."
Jo Bjorgaard, a Climate Change and Health Consultant, brought attention to the public health implications of truck pollution, particularly for marginalized communities.
"The health impacts of truck pollution disproportionately affect low-income, indigenous communities, and communities of color, as they often reside closer to high traffic areas," said Bjorgaard. "Robust emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles are not just an environmental issue, but a significant public health and social equity concern. We need to hold ourselves accountable and help deliver environmental justice and better health."
Speakers outlined the need for this new round of clean cars standards, and encouraged the Biden Administration and the EPA to finish the job when it comes to addressing the problem of tailpipe pollution from heavy duty trucks. The new clean truck greenhouse gas standards would apply to model years 2027 through 2032 and is designed so that half of new buses and a quarter of new heavy trucks sold would be zero-emission by 2032.
Speakers encouraged the public to voice their support for strong heavy-duty vehicle emissions standards before the end of the comment period on July 16, 2023. Public comments can be submitted to the EPA via the Federal eRulemaking Portal: https://www.regulations.gov/. Comments should be identified using Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2022-0985-1423
A recording of the event is available upon request.