Senator Metzger Introduces Bill to Reduce Harmful Emissions from Trucks and Buses in New York

Hudson Valley and Catskills, NY...Today Senator Jen Metzger (SD-42) announced the introduction of a bill (S8765) that would increase the number of zero-emissions trucks on the road, reducing harmful pollutants that cause asthma and other health problems while helping New York to meet the goals of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act passed last year. The bill would expand New York’s Zero-Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) program for cars and light-duty trucks to include medium- and heavy-duty trucks—a step that was recently taken in California. The program would require truck manufacturers to increase the percentage of clean vehicles they sell over time, as is done for other vehicles. 

The transportation sector accounts for more than a third of New York's greenhouse gas emissions, the main cause of climate change, and the shift to clean vehicles in all categories will be essential for meeting the state's targets for an overall reduction in emissions by 40 percent by 2030 and 85 percent by 2050. From a public health perspective, air pollution from diesel trucks and buses contributes to asthma and elevated cancer risks, and the legislation introduced by Senator Metzger would help reduce the incidence of these diseases in areas with heavy truck and bus traffic. The bill requires the Commissioner of the NYS Department of Conservation (DEC) to publish rules and regulations similar to California’s new program for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.

New York’s current ZEV program requires automakers to maintain a certain number of ZEV credits, accrued through the sale of zero- and low-emissions vehicles in the state in proportion to sales of non-electric vehicles. A similar credit system would be applied to truck manufacturers in line with standards recently adopted in California. Those standards require zero-emissions trucks to account for 5-9 percent of sales in 2024, increasing to 30-50 percent by 2030 and 40-75 percent by 2035, with specific sales targets varying by vehicle class. 

“The technology exists to transport goods and people without harming public health or worsening climate change, but we need to put the appropriate framework in place to get more clean trucks and buses on the road in our state," said Senator Jen Metzger. "This is common-sense legislation that will keep New York on track to meet its climate goals while addressing the serious public health costs associated with air pollution from trucks and buses." 

Senator Metzger’s bill aligns with a multi-state Memorandum of Understanding recently announced by the Governor, together with 14 states and the District of Columbia, to work together to accelerate the market for electric trucks and buses, reaching 30 percent of sales by 2030 and 100 percent by 2050. 

Senator Metzger has been a leading proponent in the State Senate for shifting to a clean energy economy, and has introduced a package of bills to accelerate adoption of electric vehicles in New York. In December, the Governor signed into law Metzger's bill (S5820) directing the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to identify areas across the state where EV infrastructure is insufficient and develop a plan to close the gaps. 

Tim Guinee, Legislative Action Coordinator for the New York Climate Reality Chapters Coalition said, "With transportation accounting for 34 percent of Greenhouse Gas Emissions in New York, the creation of rules to accelerate the adoption of zero-emissions heavy duty vehicles in the state is both important and imperative. The New York Climate Reality Chapters Coalition stands in full support of this effort.”

Dr. Kathleen Nolan, MD, MSL; Senior Research Director, Catskill Mountainkeeper said, "With a large percentage of toxic and global warming gases coming into our atmosphere from fossil-fuel powered vehicles used in transportation, this new bill is critical to our success in protecting our communities and our planet. With advances in technology, we can bring heavily polluting large vehicles into compliance with our zero emission standards, starting now."

Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan said, “The CLCPA provides a clear vision for New York, calling for a 40 percent reduction in the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, but in order to accomplish that we need to act now. I commend Senator Metzger on her bill to expand New York’s ZEV program, which will put more zero-emissions trucks on our roads. Defending and protecting our environment and introducing innovative ways to address the climate crisis is one of my top priorities, and this is an important step forward towards a greener, more sustainable future here in Ulster County and beyond.”

Jen Metzger represents the 42nd Senate District, which includes all of Sullivan County and parts of Delaware, Orange, and Ulster Counties. Senator Metzger serves as Chair of the Agriculture Committee and sits on the Environmental Conservation, Education, Health, Energy and Telecommunications, Local Government, Women’s Issues, Domestic Animal Welfare, and Legislative Commission on Rural Resources Committees.