PSC Must Work with Utilities to Create Charging Network and Improve Air Quality in New York

May 11, 2022
Debora Schneider, (212) 616-1377,

PSC Must Work with Utilities to Create Charging Network and Improve Air Quality in New York

Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), CALSTART, NRDC, Sierra Club, South Bronx Unite and WE ACT today filed a petition with the New York Public Service Commission asking the regulator to address the need for zero-emission truck and bus charging infrastructure throughout the state, which is poised to grow rapidly as New York decarbonizes.

The petition asks the PSC to work with other state agencies and electric utilities to estimate infrastructure needs and costs to support medium- and heavy-duty vehicle charging for the coming years. The document also asks the PSC to review and modify the existing make-ready pilot program to meet the needs of early zero-emission truck and bus adopters and build a knowledge base from their early experience, as well as to begin a stakeholder process to tackle long-term needs to charge these vehicles in a cost-effective, efficient and equitable way.

“Electric trucks and buses mean less climate pollution and cleaner air for New Yorkers. But for this to happen, these vehicles need charging infrastructure that meets their operational needs. The Public Service Commission can – and should – work with utilities to support truck and bus fleet electrification in a way that optimizes how they interact with the electric grid – all while reducing costs, avoiding pollution and shoring up New York’s clean energy leadership.”                                                     

"With both the state's adoption of the Advanced Clean Trucks Rule and the passage of the CLCPA, swift action by the Commission should be taken to adequately prepare for more electric buses and trucks in the state. We believe the Commission can address these needs via the Petition's three recommendations, which if taken, can help ensure cleaner air for New Yorkers and facilitate a growing electric vehicle industry for the New York economy."

  • Alissa Burger, Regional Policy Director, CALSTART

“Cleaning up trucks and buses–the most polluting vehicles on New York roads–is critical to fighting the climate crisis and building healthier communities for all New Yorkers. Electric utilities have the means to help make that a reality. We need the Public Service Commission to work hand in hand with utilities to ensure New York is prepared to support a widespread transition to zero-emission technology that will save lives and address a dire environmental injustice.”

  • Joshua Berman, Senior Attorney with Sierra Club

“Communities of color and areas of low-income have been plagued with diesel pollution for far too long. Shifting to electric trucks and buses is critical to tackling climate change, improving air quality and health in overburdened communities across the state, and is a step in the right direction to addressing long-standing injustices. The Public Service Commission must do its part to ensure there is a robust charging infrastructure to support medium- and heavy-duty vehicle electrification and deliver on the climate and equity provisions required under New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.”

  • Anastasia Gordon, Energy and Transportation Policy Manager with WE ACT for Environmental Justice

"The South Bronx has been subjected to decades of disproportionate fossil fuel air pollution, including emissions from medium and heavy-duty vehicles. Our community is encircled by congested expressways and our streets are jammed with a constant stream of trucks traveling back and forth from the numerous facilities dotting our waterfront. This has contributed to a host of pollution-related diseases, including asthma, cognitive impairment, heart disease, and dementia. A recent study on which we collaborated with Columbia University concluded that traffic congestion had worsened in the South Bronx. We cannot endure anymore. Our quality of life has been sacrificed for too long. We urge the Public Service Commission to facilitate and expedite the transition to electric trucks and buses so that we can live healthier lives."

  • Arif Ullah, Executive Director, South Bronx Unite 

Transportation is the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in New York and a significant contributor of local air pollution. The approximately 700,000 trucks and buses on state roads constitute only 6% of all vehicles in New York but are responsible for 45% of nitrogen oxide and 52% of particulate matter from the transportation sector – high amounts of pollutants that cause asthma and premature death. According to the American Lung Association, a move to medium- and heavy-duty as well as light-duty zero-emission vehicles would prevent 6,200 premature deaths, 159,000 asthma attacks and 825,000 lost workdays in New York — roughly over $68.2 billion in cumulative public health benefits between 2020 and 2050. This underscores the urgency with which we need to reduce emissions from medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, and the importance of supporting their electrification by building out charging infrastructure.

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