Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Bills Clears Delaware House Committee

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Three bills aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions cleared a House committee earlier today. The bills are a part of a larger, ambitious plan to set emission reduction targets for the next 25-plus years. House Bill 9 would set a goal that all state-owned and operated passenger and light-duty vehicles will be zero-emission by 2040. House Bill 10 would establish targets for the annual purchase of state-owned electric school buses through fiscal year 2030, gradually increasing the percentage of electric buses. House Bill 8 would direct state agencies to develop and implement “clean construction preferences” that would allow sustainability and carbon impact data to be incorporated and considered in awarding public works contracts.

Additional Information from Legislative Hall

The measures released from the House Natural Resources & Energy Committee are the first steps toward meeting a goal set out in legislation filed last month to reduce net emissions by 50% by 2030 and 100% by 2050. House Bill 99, which was released from committee last week, lays out those targets from the 2005 baseline and would codify a planning process to guide the state to meet those goals and require the state to draft and implement a climate action plan that would serve as a framework to guide state agencies to meet these goals.

Sponsored by Rep. Krista GriffithHouse Bill 9 would set a goal that all state-owned and operated passenger and light-duty vehicles will be zero-emission by 2040. Under this measure, 15% of state vehicles must be zero-emission by 2026. That percentage would increase to 25% by 2029 and 50% by 2032.

“When it comes to reducing our carbon footprint and cutting harmful emissions, the state of Delaware should lead by example. One simple way to do this is transition our state fleet to electric vehicles,” said Rep. Griffith, D-Fairfax. “Our approach would be steady ramp-up over the course of several years, allowing time for the EV technology and charging infrastructure to grow and improve.”

Law enforcement and school district vehicles would be excluded from this initiative, and the Office of Management and Budget would be able grant exemptions as needed.

Sponsored by Rep. Debra HeffernanHouse Bill 10 would establish targets for the annual purchase of state-owned electric school buses through fiscal year 2030, gradually increasing the percentage of electric buses.

Currently, the state Department of Education (DOE) owns about 500 buses, used in various districts throughout the state and replaces about 50 buses each year. HB 10 would require that 5% of the buses the state replaces in fiscal 2025 are electric. Those percentages would increase in 5% increments each year until it reaches 30% in fiscal 2030.

“Part of our commitment to the environment has to be looking at alternatives that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and doing it in a smart, responsible manner” said Rep. Heffernan, D-Brandywine Hundred South. “By slowly phasing in the purchase of new, electric school buses over several years, we will be able to invest in this technology, study how it works and determine the best way to continue moving forward.”

The bill also would require DOE to submit an annual implementation report through 2029 as well as a comprehensive report in 2030 detailing future recommendations for electric vehicle purchases and other measures to reduce the carbon and environmental impact of the state’s school transportation fleet.

Sponsored by Rep. Ed OsienskiHouse Bill 8 would direct state agencies to develop and implement “clean construction preferences” that would allow sustainability and carbon impact data to be incorporated and considered in awarding public works contracts.

Under the bill, the preference would require bidders to submit embodied emissions information related to the proposed construction materials and allow covered agencies to award additional points or other positive considerations. The preferences would be required to be incorporated into Delaware’s bid process by July 1, 2025.

“As innovations are made in construction materials, we need to incorporate the latest, cleanest materials to our process,” said Rep. Osienski, D-Brookside. “Encouraging and rewarding contractors doing business with the state to use these clean construction preferences will make Delaware healthier and a better place to live.”

The bills are part of a larger package of bills introduced last week that also would address personal electric vehicles and commercial use of solar energy.


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