On Oct. 25, Gov. Roy Cooper issued Executive Order No. 271, which aims to grow the state’s clean energy economy by accelerating the transition to zero-emission vans, trucks and buses.
The order will encourage the state’s economic development and job growth while advancing climate and environmental justice by reducing vehicle pollution, according to a press release from the Governor's Office.
Trey Gowdy, a research analyst at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability, said North Carolina was the seventh state in the country and the first state in the southeast to implement this effort.
Gowdy said greenhouse gas emissions from transportation are approximately 36 percent of the state’s total emissions. Medium and heavy-duty diesel vehicles are one of the largest contributors of transportation emissions — second to light-duty vehicles.
“If we’re going to be successful in reducing transportation emissions, medium and heavy-duty vehicles are going to be a key part of a mix of solutions in the transportation sector,” Gowdy said in an email.
The executive order outlines a comprehensive strategy for auto manufacturers, fleet owners and other partners to grow the zero-emission vehicles market.
The order directed the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality to work with stakeholders to propose to the Environmental Management Commission a program to ensure that zero-emission vehicles are available for purchase in the state.
Dr. Kathleen Shapley-Quinn, executive director of NC Clinicians for Climate Action said the executive order puts the state in the right direction to do the right things for health, economy and communities.
She said this is especially important for the communities most affected.