February Clean Energy & Transportation Update

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CVI continues to stay busy keeping up with transitions to clean energy and transportation across Idaho communities. Here’s what we’re focused on this month:

EV Charging Guide

Last August, major US car manufacturers announced a goal for 40-50% of their sales to be electric vehicles (EVs) by 2030. With that target in mind, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provides $5 billion to help states create a network of EV chargers. In Idaho, we expect that money to go into the currently existing Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) program. 

CVI is working with Idaho agencies to increase our charging network, but we need your help identifying potential locations. Patty Bowen, our Environmental Justice Associate, has created this helpful guide and will be connecting with local businesses along our major highways. Please reply to this email if you have suggestions or potential leads on a business that could use EV charging. Restaurants, shops, gas stations, and more are all eligible! 

Electric School Buses

Idaho’s diesel school buses drive 25 million miles per year, exposing students, drivers, and communities to elevated levels of toxic pollutants. We are excited to share that the first round of the Clean School Bus Program will begin in April/May, 2022. We continue to reach out to school districts to encourage a transition to electric school buses. 

Inside the Statehouse, CVI is also supporting a bipartisan bill (SB 1319) to make it easier for districts to purchase electric school buses. This bill removes the red tape limiting contractors and will save districts hundreds of thousands of dollars that can be better spent on our children’s education. 

Placemaking and Pedestrian Infrastructure

In addition to making our vehicles cleaner, an essential part of the clean energy transition is decreasing our vehicle trips by improving the walkability and bikeability of Idaho communities. This year, we have seen a number of communities, including Idaho Falls and Boise, take significant steps to build out their canal pathways. These routes often provide a safe and quiet alternative route for Idahoans to travel, away from roads. 

We are pleased  to see citizens making their own investments to improve these routes. Last Friday, local arts advocates launched the Garden City Placemaking Fund, connecting local and emerging artists to public arts opportunities in the core of Garden City. With one of the two starting projects right along the Green Belt, we’re looking forward to seeing how these projects encourage walking and biking, and build community connection around art!

Ada County’s Big Step Forward

“This is one giant step toward our commitment of being 100 percent clean energy by 2045,”Ada County Commissioner Kenyon said, in regards to last week’s announcement that the County will begin converting landfill gas to renewable natural gas in 2023. While burning that natural gas (methane) still produces greenhouse gases, it puts the landfill byproduct to good use and lowers our overall emissions. As Ben Otto of our partner organization Idaho Conservation League notes in the article, capturing methane also cuts down on leaks, protects drinking water, and reduces the harmful impacts of fracking. 

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