Legislative Session 2023
Recent Actions in Other States
California has done a slew climate legislation, budgeting and rule making this year. Included are these items:
All new cars must be zero emission by 2035. Washington & other states are following suit.
Interim targets to get to 90% clean electricity by 2035, and 95% by 2040, with (as before) 100% by 2045 under SB-1020. Washington has the Clean Energy Transformation Act (CETA), which also mandates 100% clean electricity by 2045, eliminates coal-fired electricity by 2025, and by 2030 any natural gas electricity must be offset by other actions.
California passed $54B in climate spending over 5 years, including $6B for electric vehicles, $8B to decarbonize the state power grid, $15B on public transit, and $5B for climate and drought resilience. The Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, which supplies about 9% of the state's power, will stay open until at least 2030. A similar sized package in Washington, scaled by the population (40M in CA vs 8M in WA) would be $10B over 5 years, or $2B each year out of a total 2022 budget of $61B.
New setback requirements for new gas and oil wells – must be at least 3200 feet from homes, schools.community centers, etc. SB-1137.
Natural carbon sequestration, AB-2649 and AB-1757 requires the Natural Resources Agency to establish targets for natural carbon sequestration. 60M tons by 2030 and 75M tons annually by 2035. (Note that these goals may be hard to meet with the continuing drought, which is converting carbon sinks into carbon emission sources). The state will make grants to promote practices on farms and ranches that improve agricultural and open-space soil health, carbon soil sequestration, erosion control, water quality, and water retention. Washington has a grant program that is similar, Sustainable Farms and Fields.
California Air Resources Board (CARB) will establish a program to evaluate carbon capture and storage and carbon removal technologies. Unified permit system established and measures to minimize leakage.
The state will develop an extreme heat ranking system (AB 2238).
Parking minimum mandates lifted for developments within a half mile of a major transit stop. The enhanced density bonus area was extended to within a half mile of a major transit stop. Residential construction will now be allowed on commercial property, making it possible to redevelop malls, office parks, and parking lots into housing; this measure will open up an estimated 108,000 acres of land for mixed-income housing. Rules around accessory dwelling units (ADUs) laws have been loosened, and local jurisdictions must approve or deny permits within 60 days. Approval for new projects is now streamlined, for 100% affordable projects, and speeds up approval for developments that include 15% low-income units. The state is also beefing up its enforcement to make sure local jurisdictions comply with state law. Developments that set aside units for people experiencing homelessness can get incentives. Property tax exemption for non-profits that build affordable housing and sell to low-income families. One big group that was behind some of these changes was teachers unions. Washington considered changing zoning near public transit to allow for multi-family/missing middle housing but this did not advance mostly over concerns about taking power from local jurisdictions.
Proposition 30 on ballot this November, a tax on income above $2M. Current rates for this group are 13.3%, which would be raised by 1.75%. The tax would start in 2023, and end in 2043, or earlier if the state meets 80% emission goals. Expected revenue is $3-4.5B, and the money would go to vehicle electrification and wildfire prevention and suppression. Lyft has been a major donor ($15M) to the YES campaign, because it could use incentives to pay for compliance to the state's electrical vehicle requirements. Washington does not have an income tax, but last session did consider a new billionaire's tax that went nowhere.
This bill (AB 2133) didn't pass, but might well next year: stricter emission reduction goals, from 40% before 1990 to 55% before 1990. These are binding in that industrial regulations kick in sector by sector to enforce compliance. This bill had the support of the Governor. Washington has non-binding emissions reductions goals. It might be possible to do something similar in Washington using the Cap & Trade Bill.
Oregon passed a number of climate laws, including:
$100M Resilience Budget that invests in solar energy + storage, zero emission vehicle rebate program, charging stations for electric trucks and buses, home retrofits for low income residents, and additional drought and recovery funds. Washington passed EV rebates and money for recharging as part of the Transportation Package. Washington also has a Weatherization program that could benefit from increased funding.
Established a REBuilding task force to come up with a comprehensive decarbonization policy for new and existing buildings that the Legislature will consider in 2023. Washington is also conducting a study on decarbonizing our buildings – when is this due?
Emergency heat relief provides low-cast air conditioners and electric heat pumps to low-income residents (applies to tenants as well as homeowners).
The Environmental Justice Task Force received additional support, and there will be a mapping of environmental burdens and benefits (HB 4077).
Not passed this year: require public disclosure of state funds invested in the fossil fuel sector, a resolution that would declare wildfires and other extreme climate events a danger to workers and afford them additional protections, phasing out petroleum diesel sales, and increase carbon sequestration on natural and working lands.
Colorado passed some bills:
$28M for free bus and train rides in summer 2022 and 2023, and $30M for transit system development.
Created a program for regulating toxic air pollutants.
Charge manufacturers of packaged goods a fee that would to creating a statewide recycling program.
Last year, Colorado passed a rule that GHG impacts of highway expansion must be offset. This possibly led this year to cancellation of some large projects.
Not passed this year: SB 230, new emissions reductions deadlines, increase renewable energy and carbon sequestration.
EV rebate program: $4000 in 2022, $2000 in 2026, $1500 in 2028. There is a $1500 rebate for an electric motorcycle. Each resident can have one rebate in a 10 year period, and must own the vehicle for at least one year.
Incentives for installing EV chargers, up to 80% of the cost is covered.
In 2021, passed Climate and Equitable Jobs Act.
$50M Empire Building Challenge to develop highly repeatable approaches to reduce carbon emissions in the heating and hot water systems for existing high rise buildings.
Flood disclosure requires disclosing flood risks for residential leases. Home owners are not required to notify purchasers on home sales.
Moratorium on cryptocurrency mining operations that run on fossil fuels.
Remove barriers to setting up thermal energy networks, and require utilities to run a pilot in each utility territory.
Updated energy codes to require greater efficiency.
In 2019, Climate Act mandated 100% clean electricity by 2040, including 70% renewable by 2030, and reach economy-wide carbon neutrality.
Not passed this year: All-Electric Buildings Act to restrict gas hoookups in construction by 2027 and Build Public Renewables would authorize NYPA to build, own, and operate renewable energy projects, as well as requiring NYPA to phase out fossil fuels by 2030.
Massachusetts passed a number of climate laws. Included are these:
HB 5060, encourages renewable power generation. Offshore wind, solar, and long duration energy storage all boosted. Calls for coordination with other New England states on clean energy siting and transmission lines.
All cars must be zero emissions by 2035. Washington has also done this.
Increased rebates for EVs (now $3500 with extra $1000 with gas vehicle trade-in, extra $1500 for low income residents), and some incentives for medium and heavy duty vehicles also. The state will need to track this effort and report annually about EV adoption among low- and moderate-income households and people of color. It will also need to build a website to help people find available EVs at car dealerships.
Utilities must provide off-peak rates for EV charging.
MBTA (public transit) to convert to zero emission fleet by 2040.
Support clean energy workforce and economic development.
Establishes a pilot program in 10 localities to ban fossil fuel hookups in new construction, set a building reporting requirement for buildings larger than 20,000 square feet. Washington has adopted state-wide commercial energy code with a similar effect, and is currently working on residential energy building code. Washington also has a Clean Buildings Act, which has efficiency requirements for buildings over 20,000 square feet.
The Department of Public Utilities must find ways to make it easier for residents and communities to install geothermal heating and cooling systems. Utilities can use money from DPU to install big geothermal heat projects. Utilities with networked geothermal heat pumps to submit plans for decommissioning natural gas infrastructure. Projects funded through PACE cannot be used to upgrade fossil fuel based systems, or to switch from oil to gas.
State will make recommendations for energy efficiency, decarbonization, and improve indoor air quality in K-12 public school facilities.
No rebates for fossil-fuel powered heating and cooling devices, unless they are a backup for an electric heat pump system, or being used in low-income housing or hard to electrify commercial or industrial buildings.
In 2021, Massachusetts passed incentives for the more than 170 municipalities served by the MBTA (transit) to enact multi-family housing zoning districts within walking distance of public transportation. It also streamlines granting permits for developments in town centers or within a half-mile of public transit stops if at least 10% of the housing units are affoordable for at least 30 years. Allows municipalities to reduce parking requirements, and allows certain zoning amendments by simple majority (was two thirds).