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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

NM's new rules for clean cars, trucks include EV purchase incentives

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Thursday, December 21, 2023   

New Mexico's air quality is not the worst in the nation but it could be better, and the recent adoption of new standards for clean cars and trucks are part of an effort to curb pollutants which damage health and the environment.

The state already has an Energy Transition Act to move New Mexico to a 100% carbon-free electricity grid by 2045. And it adopted methane-emission rules prior to those recently announced by the federal government.

David Baake, attorney for the Rio Grande chapter of the Sierra Club, said the new clean car rules dovetail with the state's broader climate strategy.

"The three largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in New Mexico are the oil and gas production sector, the power sector and then transportation," Baake outlined. "We'll have pretty incredible benefits in terms of public health and also the climate benefits."

As adopted in November by two governing boards, new rules will require 43% of new cars and light-duty trucks delivered to the state to be electric by 2027, and 82% by 2032. Recent hearings included testimony from supporters and opponents, including car dealers who fear New Mexico is moving too fast.

Clean car and truck regulations were first developed in California and have been adopted by 19 other states. While some argued New Mexico's timeline is not feasible, Baake countered many major fleets in the trucking industry already are making inroads.

"Thanks to the tax credits and other incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act, the heavy-duty commercial trucking industry is already on track to come really close to meeting the rule's target, just based on market trends," Baake observed.

State residents are eligible for several incentives from their utility provider for home electric vehicle chargers and installation, lower whole-home rates for charging at night, and a potential $4,000 rebate in 2024 for EV purchases. On Jan. 1, a federal tax credit of between $4,000 and $7,500 will also be taken off the dealer's price at the point of purchase.

Disclosure: The Sierra Club contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Energy Policy, Environment, and Environmental Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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