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Valadao Leads GOP Lawmakers in Blasting Newsom’s Electric Heavy Truck Mandate

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Rep. David Valadao,left, says Gov. Newsom's plan to acclerate an electric heavy truck mandate would devastate the electrical grid, supply chain, and economy. (GV Wire/Paul Marshall)
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Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford) is blasting a proposed California mandate that half of all heavy trucks sold in the state be electric by 2035.

The proposal from the California Air Resources Board received the blessing of the Biden administration in late March.

Gov. Gavin “Newsom is once again putting the interests of extreme environmentalists over hardworking Californians,” said Valadao in a Thursday statement. “This misguided mandate will make trucking shortages worse, amplify supply chain problems, and further stress California’s electrical grid.”

Republican Reps. John Duarte (Modesto), Kevin Kiley (Rocklin), Young Kim (Orange County), Doug LaMalfa (Richvale), Tom McClintock (Elk Grove), Jay Obernolte (Hesperia), and Michelle Steel (Seal Beach) joined Valadao in objecting to the mandate in a letter to Newsom.

In that message, the members stressed the devastating consequences this would have on the supply chain, the electrical grid, and the economy.

“In September 2022, California’s electric grid was stressed, and consumers were asked to reduce energy use to avoid rolling blackouts … While the grid was able to sustain this use thanks to conservation efforts from residents, the demand for energy would have been much greater had thousands of heavy trucks been reliant on power from the state’s grid,” the members wrote.

The letter’s signers also said that while they supported “continued investment in alternative energy production and more sustainable technologies,” the current generation of trucks was  “unsuitable for long-haul trips and other heavy-duty applications.”

You can read the letter at this link.

Newsom: ‘We’re Leading the Charge’ on Zero-Emission Vehicles

The EPA decision allows California to require truck manufacturers to sell more zero-emission trucks over the next couple of decades. The rule applies to a wide range of trucks including box trucks, semitrailers, and large passenger pick-ups.

“We’re leading the charge to get dirty trucks and buses — the most polluting vehicles —off our streets, and other states and countries are lining up to follow our lead,” Newsom said after the Biden administration signed off on California’s proposed mandate.

The EPA typically sets standards for tailpipe emissions from passenger cars, trucks, and other vehicles, but California has historically received waivers to impose stricter standards. Eight other states plan to adopt California’s truck standards, Newsom’s office said.

In a letter last year, attorneys general from 15 states, Washington, D.C., and New York City urged the EPA to approve the California truck standards.

The transportation sector accounts for nearly 40% of California’s greenhouse gas emissions. Newsom has already moved to ban the sale of new cars that run entirely on gasoline by 2035.

Grid, Battery Challenges Yet to Be Solved

CalMatters reported in January that meeting the state’s goals for switching to electric vehicles would require California to “triple the amount of electricity produced and deploy new solar and wind energy at almost five times the pace of the past decade.”

The nonpartisan policy digital news outlet also reported in March that “failure to deliver safe, affordable and efficient batteries for electric cars could mean that California fails to meet its landmark mandate, enacted last summer, to phase out new gasoline-powered cars by 2035.”

Trucking Industry Concerns

Some in the trucking industry worry about the challenges of transitioning to electric fleets.

“The state and federal regulators collaborating on this unrealistic patchwork of regulations have no grasp on the real costs of designing, building, manufacturing, and operating the trucks that deliver their groceries, clothes, and goods,” said Chris Spear, president of the American Trucking Association.

(Associated Press contributed to this article.)

 

Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email

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