March Clean Energy & Transportation Update

Screen Shot 2022-03-16 at 10.36.38 AM

Take Action: Protect Idaho’s Building Codes

Idaho building codes set standards for how our structures need to be built for the safety of Idahoans. Unfortunately, certain legislators are once again attempting to undermine our building codes with House Bills H614 and H660. Together, these bills would prevent local cities from implementing codes to meet the needs of their community – including energy efficiency standards – and take decision making away from the Idaho Building Code Board. 

Click here to email your Senator and tell them to oppose H614 and H660. This is especially important if your Senator sits on the Senate Commerce and Human Resources Committee, where H614 will be heard on Thursday. Currently H660 is going to the Amending Order due to significant flaws in the bill, so our next opportunity to stop the bill will be on the Senate Floor. 

Take Action: Climate Action Plan in Moscow, ID

In late 2021, Moscow City Council instructed city staff to develop a plan to reach carbon neutrality by 2050 and an interim goal of 50% by 2030. We are excited to share that the city staff, in partnership with local stakeholders and Moscow’s Sustainable Environment Committee, has completed a draft Climate Action Plan. We strongly encourage Moscow residents to share support, questions, and suggestions to Moscow through the ”email us” link.  

Take Action: Boise Zoning Code Rewrite

The City of Boise is doing a major rewrite of their zoning codes to meet the requirements of a growing city. As part of that process, they are seeking feedback from Boise residents. The city’s rewrite will include 7 changes to the code with three being especially important: #4 Encourage Sustainable & Resilient Development, #5 Encourage alternative transportation, and #7 Promote Access and Connectivity. If you are a Boise resident, please take Boise’s survey and share your priorities with decision makers.

Air Quality Boards Sunsetting

Due to a history of poor air quality, Idaho has utilized emissions testing programs in Canyon and Ada County for decades. The Idaho Legislature has voted to pass S1254, which ends our local vehicle emissions testing program. Without these programs, the Treasure Valley will need to find other ways to protect our air quality. As growth continues and wildfires increase, Conservation Voters for Idaho will continue to work with local governments and businesses to protect our air quality. 

Electric School Bus and EV Charging Guides

As part of our work to improve poor air quality and transition to clean energy, we are working with school districts, local governments and businesses, and state agencies like the Office of Energy and Mineral Resources (OEMR) and the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to increase the use of electric vehicles. To help connect these entities with essential federal programs that help create a clean transportation infrastructure, we have created the EV Charging Guide and the Clean School Bus Fact Sheet. We encourage you to share these respective tools in your community. If you live rurally and know a business interested in hosting an EV charger, or know of a local school district that could benefit from electric school bus funding, please pass along these resources. 

Idaho’s Largest Renewable Projects

Earlier this month, the Power County Zoning Board approved a permit for what will become Idaho’s largest solar farm. This 300 megawatt project is large enough to power 65,000 homes and will generate about $1 million in annual payments in lieu of taxes for Power County. Separately, the Lava Ridge Wind Project, which would be Idaho’s largest wind farm, moved forward last month. Unlike the Power County solar project, this project has received local opposition, including from the Friends of Minidoka.

While the first project shows the economic value that renewable energy can have for Idaho, the second project demonstrates the importance of considering local input into account when citing projects. It is critical that agencies like the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) incorporate the input of groups like the Friends of Minidoka and the Shoshone Bannock Tribe into their plans. The next opportunity for public comment will be in August 2022, when the BLM releases a draft report of alternatives to the current plan.