Environmental and Business Groups Celebrate Governor Moore’s Signing of the Clean Trucks Act Into Law


Lindsey Mendelson, lindsey.mendelson@mdsierraclub.org
Larisa Manescu, larisa.manescu@sierraclub.org

Annapolis, Maryland Today, environmental, business, and community groups celebrated as Governor Wes Moore signed the Clean Trucks Act of 2023 (HB 230/SB 224) that passed the General Assembly into law. Sponsored by President Pro Tem Malcolm Augustine and Delegate Sara Love, the legislation requires the Maryland Department of Environment to adopt a regulation known as the Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT) rule by the end of this year. The rule sets requirements for vehicle manufacturers to sell an increasing annual percentage of zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicles – including electric trucks, delivery vans, and school buses – in the state beginning in Model Year 2027.

“We are thrilled that the Clean Trucks Act of 2023 has been signed into law,” said Maryland Sierra Club Director Josh Tulkin. “Transportation is the largest source of climate pollution in the state and a leading source of toxic air pollution that is hazardous to human health. This legislation, combined with the Governor’s complementary funding bill, marks a major step towards reaching the state goal of achieving a 60% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2031. We applaud the Governor, General Assembly, and sponsors Senator Augustine and Delegate Love for advancing this critical legislation that will bring clean electric trucks and school buses to our communities.”  

"Transportation is the largest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions in Maryland, and this pollution disproportionately impacts communities of color and low-wealth communities, because they are often located near major roads and highways,” said Ramón Palencia-Calvo, Deputy Executive Director of Maryland LCV. “The Clean Trucks Act is great news for these communities and for all Marylanders.”

"Companies across the economy have made it clear that they want access to clean medium- and heavy-duty vehicles that are good for the climate, for the communities they do business in, and for their bottom lines.” said Alli Gold Roberts, Senior Director of State Policy at Ceres. “We applaud Del. Love and Sen. Augustine for their leadership and are pleased to see the Maryland legislature and Moore Administration take action to ensure clean trucks and vans are available at the scale and speed necessary to meet both the strong market demand and the state's ambitious climate targets."

"In my Southern Harford Community much like our great State of Maryland there is a continued need to address environmental justice and passing the ACT is a good start, said Sarahia Benn of Policy Foundation of Maryland. With my community being one of the more industrialized areas in MD and transportation being the largest contributor of the climate crisis that contributes to noise pollution,  harms air quality, and the health of our children, seniors, and overall community the passing of the ACT will move people experiencing negative health impacts to having a better quality of life.  I thank Governor Moore (in addition to the sponsors Sen. Augustine and Del Love) for his enthusiastic support of the ACT with additional funding that will bring needed investment to move us towards our green goals."

The Clean Trucks Act contains provisions, similar to complementary funding also found in Governor Moore’s Clean Transportation & Energy Act, that provide grants and rebates for zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicles and charging infrastructure. 

Section 177 of the federal Clean Air Act allows states to adopt vehicle emissions standards that are identical to those adopted by the State of California. In 2020, in the absence of federal regulations, California set  first-in-the-nation standards for the sale of zero-emission medium-and heavy-duty trucks through adoption of the ACT Rule. Since then, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington have also adopted the Rule, and a number of other states are considering adoption.

“Maryland’s adoption of the Advanced Clean Truck Standard is a historic moment for the transportation sector. This is a huge step forward in shifting to zero-emissions transportation to protect people in freight-impacted communities living with the harmful impacts of deadly air pollution. We’re thrilled that Maryland is joining six other states in sending this important signal to truck manufacturers that zero-emissions is the future,” said Susan Stevens Miller, Senior Attorney with Earthjustice's Right to Zero campaign.

“Rivian applauds the passage of the Clean Trucks Act of 2023,” said Tom Van Heeke, Senior Policy Advisor at Rivian. “Implementing the Advanced Clean Trucks rule will ensure Maryland is a priority market for zero-emission vans and trucks and will benefit both the climate and communities burdened by air pollution. We look forward to supporting the Maryland Department of Environment in adopting the final regulations before the end of the year.”  

“Zero-emission trucks will help make the air safer to breathe, create jobs, cut costs for truck fleets, and reduce the escalating risks from climate change,” said Kevin X. Shen, policy analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists. “We have the technology, today, to transition the industry to zero-emission vehicles, and policies like the Advanced Clean Trucks rule will speed that transition. The Clean Trucks Act will put Maryland on track to adopt rules that will help transition the state’s nearly 400,000 medium- and heavy-duty trucks. Success here in Maryland will build momentum for cleaner trucks across the region and the country.”

"Medium- and heavy-duty vehicles contribute 21% of climate pollution and nearly half of all particulate matter pollution (PM2.5) emitted by the entire transportation sector in Maryland," said Palencia-Calvo. "The Clean Trucks Act will ensure a cleaner future for all Marylanders." 

In 2023, the Maryland Commission on Climate Change included a recommendation in its annual report that the state adopt the ACT Rule. Companies across the nation are increasingly demanding electric trucks and vans to help them meet their climate and pollution reduction goals, and to save on the costs of fuel and maintenance. Maryland and other states can take advantage of an estimated $2.8 billion of federal grant funding from the federal Inflation Reduction Act, and billions more in grants from the federal Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act, to purchase zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicles and charging infrastructure.

About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with millions of members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.