Three States and District of Columbia Collaborate to Accelerate Progress on Clean Transportation Strategies

EDF statement from Pam Kiely, Sr. Director of Regulatory Strategy

December 21, 2020
Chandler Green, (803) 981-2211,

(Washington, D.C. — December 21, 2020) Today, three states and the District of Columbia  signed a bipartisan memorandum of understanding (MOU) to develop regulations designed to reduce climate pollution from the transportation sector, a move that will make a down payment on addressing climate change, while delivering public health benefits and investments that can support equity and environmental justice. The final MOU comes on the heels of a year-long public comment period and reflects the states’ commitment to tackling climate pollution from the region’s largest source of emissions. If regulations are ultimately adopted, these states would be the first east of the Mississippi to adopt overall limits on carbon pollution from the transportation sector.

“With a growing gap across the country between rhetorical commitments on climate and concrete policy action that can deliver, the leadership shown today by Governors Baker, Raimondo, and Lamont and Mayor Bowser is encouraging. This MOU reflects a collaborative effort to clean up our transportation system by putting a limit—and a price—on carbon pollution. These types of solutions are designed to ensure that emissions go down, while providing key investments in clean technologies that will unlock even greater climate and health benefits over time.

“As jurisdictions develop the forthcoming model rule and adopt regulations, we urge them to build on the minimum commitments in the MOU and guarantee that investments will be prioritized for the types of transportation solutions—such as medium- and heavy- duty truck electrification—that will drive reductions in both climate and local air pollution. Harmful air pollutants from cars, buses and trucks have disproportionately affected the health of low-income communities and communities of color for too long.  

“Importantly, this announcement also includes a regional commitment to direct at least 35% of the proceeds to underserved and overburdened communities. States must deliver on this commitment and engage with those communities to allow deep and meaningful input from the people who have an on-the-ground understanding of the investments and policies needed to ensure healthy air for everyone.”

  • Pam Kiely, Senior Director of Regulatory Strategy 

More background: The MOU provides a high-level outline of the policy framework the states are committing to adopting. The regulations would put a limit on transportation-sector pollution that is designed to ensure pollution declines faster than expected, and then require major industrial suppliers of transportation fuels to pay for every ton of pollution emitted from their products under that limit. The revenue generated would be invested by participating states in strategies to accelerate the deployment of clean transportation solutions—including a minimum threshold of investment in targeted strategies (such as medium- and heavy-duty vehicle electrification) that would drive reductions in critical greenhouse gases, as well as harmful co-pollutants in disproportionately impacted communities.

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