Governors of California, Connecticut, Hawaiʻi, Maine, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Washington sign joint letter urging Congress to center climate action as an integral part of infrastructure package
SACRAMENTO – With catastrophic wildfires burning in the western U.S. and the Gulf Coast facing the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Ida, California Governor Gavin Newsom today joined a group of 10 governors calling on Congressional leaders to ensure the federal infrastructure package includes key programs and funding to build resilience and tackle the intensifying climate crisis threatening communities across the country.
“Climate change is intensifying the wildfires that burn in the West, hurricanes that threaten the East, and extreme heat that endangers people and animals throughout the country. Now is the time for bold climate action,” wrote the governors. “It is vital for Congress to adopt both the bipartisan infrastructure deal and a bold and comprehensive reconciliation bill to achieve the goals of the Build Back Better Agenda…as Governors of states on the front line of the climate crisis, we place particular emphasis that the combined package includes the most impactful actions to protect our climate.”
A copy of today’s letter can be found here, signed by Governor Newsom and the governors of Connecticut, Hawaiʻi, Maine, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Washington.
Prioritizing equity, the governors urged that 40 percent of the benefits of climate and clean infrastructure investments be directed to disadvantaged communities, and that the package invest in communities impacted by the market-based transition to clean energy. Citing the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, the governors emphasized the imperative to move swiftly to address the climate crisis and demonstrate America’s commitment to bold action in the lead up to COP26.
The governors urged support for a comprehensive package that includes the following critical elements:
• Carbon Free Grid: A Clean Electricity Performance Program, expansion of tax credits for clean energy generation and storage, and funding for new and upgraded electricity transmission.
• Transportation Electrification: Tax credits for manufacturing of zero-emission vehicles; incentives for consumers, especially low-income consumers, to purchase zero-emission vehicles; funding for zero-emission infrastructure; and elimination of statutory obstacles to charging on federal rights of way.
• Methane Emissions Reduction: Funding to plug orphan wells and adoption of a methane polluter fee for the venting or burning of excess methane.
• Climate-Smart Agriculture: Investment in climate-smart agricultural and forest management programs for farmers and rural communities.
• Climate Resilience: Investment in protections for communities and transportation infrastructure from the impacts of climate change, as well as robust funding for a new Civilian Climate Corps.
• Clean Building Incentives: New consumer rebates for home electrification and weatherization.
• Clean Energy and Sustainability Accelerator: Establish an accelerator to mobilize private investment into distributed energy resources; retrofits of residential, commercial, and municipal buildings; and clean transportation.
Earlier this year, Governor Newsom joined a bipartisan group of 12 governors calling for the Biden Administration to create a path with the states to ensure that all new vehicles sold in the U.S. will be zero-emission in the near future and amplify states’ investments in ZEV charging and fueling infrastructure, as the President has proposed in the Build Back Better Agenda. The Governor has applauded the Biden Administration’s ambitious climate efforts, including the new target to make half of all new vehicles sold in 2030 ZEVs and the recent move to advance smart fuel efficiency and emissions standards, inspired by the California Framework Agreements signed in 2019 to serve as a path forward for clean vehicle standards nationwide.
Governor Newsom has advanced strategic investments to protect people and the environment from catastrophic climate impacts. The Administration continues work with the Legislature to allocate approximately $9 billion over three years that will assist communities in preparing for climate impacts – including wildfires, extreme heat and drought – with additional funding to address environmental justice priorities. The California Comeback Plan includes a $3.9 billion package to hit fast-forward on our zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) goals, tackling a major contributor of emissions driving climate change. The Governor has made a historic commitment to require that sales of all new passenger vehicles be zero-emission by 2035 and aggressively decarbonize heavy-duty vehicles.