SACE Cheers NC Governor Cooper’s Directive Advancing the Clean Trucks Rule

Executive Order will boost the state’s economy, create jobs, and create a cleaner, healthier environment for all North Carolinians.

October 25, 2022
Contact: Amy Rawe, SACE, 865-235-1448, [email protected]

Raleigh, NC – North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper’s announcement today issuing Executive Order 271, which directs the NC Department of Environmental Quality (NC DEQ) to begin the rulemaking process for Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT) was met with strong support from clean transportation advocates across the state. The ACT rule is designed to reduce costs of zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicles (MHDVs) by requiring manufacturers to increase model availability, which helps meet the needs of fleet operators across multiple vehicle classes and further develops the market for these vehicles.

ACT also drives investment in clean transportation research and development, enabling cost-effective electrification of MHDVs at the pace and scale needed to meet climate and air quality goals, while delivering public health and economic benefits for communities and businesses.

Additional provisions within Executive Order 271 complement the ACT rule by ensuring that multiple state agencies are engaged in identifying and meeting zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) infrastructure needs, and by addressing health and environmental justice concerns associated with transportation emissions. 

Today’s action follows calls from advocates over the last two years to make adoption of ACT a top priority for climate action in North Carolina, including in an August 4, 2022 letter to the Governor and a June 3, 2022 letter from a group of 30 businesses and organizations from across the state urging Governor Cooper to adopt ACT. 

Governor Cooper has steadily supported related actions that serve as the foundation for today’s action on ACT, including in 2020, when the Governor signed North Carolina onto a joint memorandum of understanding (MOU) committing to electrifying and eliminating toxic air pollution from new MHDVs by 2050. In January 2022, the Governor issued Executive Order 246, setting important goals for the state to reduce transportation emissions 50% below 2005 levels by 2030, and achieve net zero no later than 2050. Then in July 2022, the Governor announced North Carolina’s coordination with 16 other states to develop an action plan for transitioning to a clean transportation future. 

Stan Cross, Electric Transportation Policy Director at Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, said, Accelerating the transition to electric vehicles will deliver significant public health, climate, and economic benefits to North Carolina and its citizens. Governor Cooper’s commitment to electrify medium- and heavy-duty vehicles come on the heels of the existing commitment from Executive Order 246 to get 1.25 million EVs registered and on the state’s roads by 2030, and both commitments have massive economic implications for the state. If all of North Carolina’s cars, trucks, and buses were electric today, the state would have a $7.7 billion boost to the annual economy in savings from not buying imported gas and diesel.”

Anne Blair, Director of Policy at Electrification Coalition, said, Reducing our dependence on oil for transportation in North Carolina is vital to protect our national security and bolster the state’s economy by keeping our energy dollars here in the state. North Carolina has the unique opportunity to lead the charge in the electric vehicle revolution as a state rich in minerals, where vehicles and charging stations are built, and policies that drive EV adoption are passed. We applaud Governor Cooper for making electric medium- and heavy-duty vehicles a priority and look forward to working with the governor’s office to ensure a successful rule.”

Claire Williamson, Energy Policy Advocate at North Carolina Justice Center, said, Truck-based air pollution disproportionately impacts communities of color and people with low incomes. We commend Governor Cooper’s action today to accelerate the transition to ZEV trucks. The ACT, along with expanded air quality testing, will help reduce the effects of climate change, bolster North Carolina’s economy, and protect working and low-income North Carolinians most at risk from smog, fine particle pollution, and air toxins.”

Alli Gold Roberts, Senior Director of State Policy at Ceres, said, Companies are looking to electrify their vehicle fleets and their supply chains in order to meet critical climate goals, save money on fuel and maintenance, and reduce air pollution for their workers and the communities they operate in. As this technology advances and takes greater hold in the economy, the ACT rule will provide a clear pathway for the industry to supply companies with the vehicles they want. North Carolina is again proving itself as a national climate leader by becoming an early adopter of this business-friendly rule.”

David Kelly, North Carolina State Director at Environmental Defense Fund, said, Governor Cooper’s action today strengthens North Carolina’s position as a leader in the clean transportation space, setting the stage for our state to secure significant economic, environmental, and equity benefits. Transportation is the leading contributor of climate-warming emissions in North Carolina, and trucks and buses produce a disproportionate amount of air pollution associated with poor health outcomes. By embracing this policy to grow the market for zero-emission trucks and buses, our Governor is taking meaningful steps to improve air quality, particularly in communities overburdened by transportation pollution, while procuring billions in net health and economic benefits for all North Carolinians.”

Meg Jamison, Executive Director at Southeast Sustainability Directors Network (SSDN), said, “The ACT Rule is designed to encourage investment in clean transportation research, development and manufacturing, which would foster innovation and local job creation. Companies that do business in NC communities have indicated that the ACT Rule would bring major business benefits to the state. Many of these organizations are major employers in NC and SSDN member government communities.”

Kym Meyer, Senior Attorney at Southern Environmental Law Center, said, “Governor Cooper’s executive order directing DEQ to craft an Advanced Clean Trucks program for North Carolina is an important, forward-thinking step to address climate change, the health of our communities, and environmental justice. Reducing the pollution from medium and heavy-duty trucks that poisons the air we breathe in North Carolina and contributes to climate change is essential to protecting people’s health and our communities. We are thrilled to see North Carolina leading the national transition to cleaner and more affordable vehicles. The move will more quickly benefit North Carolinians with more vehicle choices in the marketplace, less volatile fuel prices, and cleaner, healthier air.”

Cynthia Satterfield, State Director at N.C. Sierra Club, said, “This is a critical first step toward a zero-emission transportation sector that will benefit all North Carolinians. It’s particularly important for communities of color, where pollution from fossil fuel-burning trucks is especially prevalent and harmful. We thank the Cooper administration for listening to many diverse advocates who urged North Carolina to adopt the ACT rule for healthier communities and critical climate action.”

Cecilia V. Estolano, CEO, Better World Group, said, “I got my start in the environmental justice movement over 30 years ago working with African Americans, Latinos and other frontline communities whose health has been severely impacted by diesel truck pollution for decades. As CEO of the Better World Group, I applaud North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper’s leadership in joining states adopting a zero-emission truck sales requirement to reduce emissions that are damaging public health and exacerbating the climate emergency. Governor Cooper now joins a growing number of states that collectively represent 20% of new U.S. truck sales. His decisive leadership will ensure North Carolina businesses are first in line to get ZEV trucks that will create good local jobs while eliminating toxic pollution from frontline communities.”

Jes Olson, VP of Policy at CALSTART, said, “Accelerating the transition to zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicles will yield significant community health benefits and grow North Carolina’s economy. From Arrival to Vinfast, zero-emission technology companies are taking notice of Governor Cooper’s support and bringing clean jobs to the state. Today’s announcement shows that North Carolina continues to flex its leadership on zero-emission transportation.”

Zach Amittay, Southeast Advocate at E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs), said, This rule will bring thousands more clean vehicle jobs to North Carolina, right as the sector is booming. Jobs in electric vehicles and hybrid electrics jumped 22 percent in North Carolina just last year. By speeding the state’s adoption of EVs, Governor Cooper is helping bring thousands more of these good-paying jobs to North Carolina and ensuring we can better compete with our neighboring states and those across the country that have already adopted these rules for the investments and new businesses leadership like this will attract.”

Brian Buzby, Executive Director at NC Conservation Network, said, “Thanks to Governor Cooper for his continued leadership to take action to address climate change and support economic development. Implementing this executive order will protect our children’s health as well as the climate. Replacing diesel with electric trucks over time will massively reduce air pollution exposures for both urban and rural North Carolinians living near roads. Fossil fuel trucks currently account for over half of fine particulates from all vehicles; that pollution causes asthma, lung, disease, and early death.”

Anne Smart, VP of Global Public Policy at ChargePoint, said, “Governor Cooper’s Executive Order will help ensure that trucks we all rely on to move goods join the electric revolution — paving the way for more clean transportation jobs and cleaner communities across North Carolina.”

Daryl Adams, President and CEO at The Shyft Group, said, “We applaud the State of North Carolina for working to create a more environmentally sustainable future through the adoption of the Advanced Clean Trucks regulation. Innovation and electrification are the keys to that future. We are proud to be helping lead that movement forward with Randy Marion Automotive Group, one of the largest car dealerships in the Carolinas, as the first customer to pre-order our Blue Arc™ all-electric Class 3, 4 and 5 vehicles for last mile parcel delivery available in mid-2023.”