SELC’s Trip Pollard on National Drive Electric Week
Transportation is the largest source of carbon pollution in the South, that’s why the Southern Environmental Law Center drives transportation changes that combat climate change and improve the lives of everyone in our region. Senior Attorney Trip Pollard, who leads SELC’s Land and Community Team, weighs in on the role electric vehicles play in cutting carbon pollution.
Curbing pollution from transportation presents an opportunity like no other to tackle climate change and protect the health of our communities. Transportation is the largest source of carbon pollution in the South (and nationally), and there is no better time to think about the progress we can make to address that than during this year’s National Drive Electric Week.
At SELC, our work strives to transform the transportation sector and accelerate electric transportation. Those efforts are well underway, and we have seen major successes across the South because of our work. Just look at our advances for electric vehicles in Virginia.
The state took its biggest step yet to combat the climate crisis last year through historic legislation. Virginia’s Clean Cars law adopted standards that are more protective than the federal baseline, delivering cleaner fossil fuel burning cars and a larger percentage of electric vehicles to the state. At the time it was adopted, this law was projected to reduce carbon pollution in Virginia by 48 million metric tons through 2040.
But progress also needs to be protected. Earlier this year we defended against and defeated attempts to repeal Clean Cars standards in the Virginia General Assembly. 18 states have adopted these standards and I’m proud to say Virginia was the first in the South.
At the national level, the Infrastructure Act and the Inflation Reduction Act are the most ambitious climate legislation in our country’s history. Electric vehicles are a significant part of this legislation, which provides tax credits for both new and used vehicle purchases and provides federal dollars to build out electric vehicle charging stations. As federal and state agencies begin to plan how these funds will be spent, SELC will help ensure that the South receives the greatest possible benefits.
Although not a silver bullet, electric vehicles represent an important part of SELC’s comprehensive efforts to change our approach to transportation.
You can be a part of these solutions. Help us to drive transportation changes that combat climate change and improve the lives of everyone in our region.