June Climate & Energy News

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Written by Ryan McGoldrick, Senior Program Manager, CVI

Idaho continues to be one of the fastest growing states in the nation, and we are seeing increasing climate and energy challenges created by that growth. With that in mind, I want to focus on this month’s Clean Energy Newsletter on how this growth is being addressed on the local and state levels. 

Boise’s Modern Zoning Code

Perhaps the most important tool to address the challenges created by growth is through our local zoning codes, which shape where and how we can build. Boise is going through a major update for the first time in 60 years, and CVI supports this modern zoning code, which protects our open space, makes our community safer for bicycle and pedestrian transport, protects our clean air, and makes homes more affordable. These provisions each support conservation values in a variety of ways; for example, affordable homes allow residents to live near where they work, drastically reducing commute emissions.

To support Boise’s Modern Zoning Code, CVI organized a joint sign-on letter with several community organizations, provided information through our website, knocked 2,250 to talk to residents, helped direct over 280 comments to city leaders, and provided expert testimony throughout the process, including yesterday to the Boise City Council. We are confident that the proposed Zoning Code will pass tomorrow afternoon, and hope to see more communities in Idaho taking these proactive steps.

Energy & Building Codes

While zoning codes shape what types of buildings can be built, building codes shape how those buildings are constructed. As our state grows, energy efficiency codes are vital to protecting grid stability, lowering energy use (and therefore emissions), and reducing costs to residents. Unfortunately, a small group of Idaho legislators has consistently worked  to undermine, preempt, and even remove Idaho’s building codes. 

This problem is not unique to Idaho, though. I talked to Maxine Joselow of the Washington Post about this nationwide issue and the troubling focus of certain Idaho legislators on preempting local solutions. 

Treasure Valley Bike Maps

With growth comes traffic, and with traffic comes more transportation emissions. In addition to gentle increases in density, we need to accommodate alternative modes of transportation. That is why during the election cycle, it is CVI’s top priority to elect the right leaders to be Commissioners for the Ada County Highway District. We are pleased to share that the current ACHD Commissioners – several of which we endorsed in the 2022 general election – have taken significant steps forward to support bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, including the official release of the new Bicycle Facilities Network. 

Establishing Idaho’s EV Charging Network

Thanks to federal funding from the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act, Idaho has the resources to build a network of electric vehicle charging stations for EV owners to use throughout their travels. Your input is needed by the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula (NEVI) program, to decide what locations should be prioritized for EV infrastructure. By clicking the “Public Outreach” button on this page, you can attend an in-person event, the virtual webinar, or complete a survey. 

For small business owners interested in EV chargers, we recommend applying for the EV Charging Technical Assistance program through a joint partnership between Idaho Power, the Treasure Valley Clean Cities Coalition, and the Idaho Small Business Development Center.