This article originally appeared on the Conservation Voters of Idaho Blog on February 7, 2019

Next week there will be a joint committee hearing on the future of electric vehicles in Idaho.  Join us at the Statehouse February 14th to show your support for expanding electric vehicles in Idaho!

Snap Shot:

The transportation sector is one of Idaho’s largest sources of the pollution that dirties our air, negatively impacts the health of our communities, and fuels climate change. Conservation Voters for Idaho is working hard to support a more balanced transportation system that’s better for the environment and ensures Idaho communities are good places to live, work, and raise our families.

Action Items:

On February 14th, there will be a joint committee hearing on electric vehicles in the Lincoln Auditorium of the Statehouse to examine the future of electric vehicles in Idaho. We want to pack the room to show our love for electric vehicles on Valentines Day. So please join us at 1:30 p.m. to show your support for a critical piece of Idaho’s clean energy future.

You can also sign our petition to show your support for expanding clean energy options to grow our economy and increase resiliency in Idaho.

Deep Dive:

Vehicles account for over 60% of all emissions of concern in Idaho and, in 2015, transportation accounted for a third of energy consumption in the state. Almost three-quarters of the energy consumed in Idaho comes from out of state, a contributing factor in Idaho having some of the highest fuel costs in the nation. Increasingly intense wildfire seasons, spurred by a climate changed by fossil fuel emissions, spike poor air quality across the state during summer months. In 2015, Idaho was ranked second to last in the nation for air quality; Idahoans need to remain vigilant to keep our air clean.

Working to electrify our transportation system while transitioning the state to 100% clean energy will not only have huge environmental benefits but economic advantages as well. Increasing the use of electric cars, trucks, and buses (EVs) will play a key role in improving and maintaining Idaho’s environmental assets, improving the health of our families and communities, and encouraging clean energy job development. A robust clean energy economy includes the sale of EVs, chargers, and other equipment as well as the installation and maintenance of charging equipment that will encourage clean energy job development at a local level.

Right now, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality and the Office of Energy and Mineral Resources are overseeing two programs designed to help expand EVs and charging infrastructure throughout the state. The money comes from a court settlement against Volkswagen for cheating vehicle emissions tests in violation of the Clean Air Act. The fund has been divided up among all the states and tribal nations to fund local pollution mitigation and to invest in green vehicle technology. The State of Idaho received $17.3 million.

While there is a role for all of us to play in reducing our carbon footprint—by transitioning to electric vehicles or walking, biking, or riding public transportation more often—strong policies and leadership are where the rubber really hits the road. We have funding available to begin this transition but right now there are regulatory barriers keeping us from fully utilizing these opportunities.

Next week there will be a joint committee hearing on the future of electric vehicles in Idaho.  Join us at the Statehouse February 14th to show your support for expanding electric vehicles in Idaho!