LPDD Resource on Interoperable EV Chargers in the Infrastructure Law
Among the provisions included in the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 (Public Law 117-58), signed into law this past November, $7.5 billion was allocated to support a nationwide network of electric vehicle charging infrastructure, which the Biden Administration aims to deploy to accelerate EV adoption, target equity benefits for disadvantaged communities, reduce mobility and energy burdens, and create jobs.
During the negotiation process for the infrastructure bill, the LPDD team’s model language on the interoperability of EV chargers was provided to Senate staff working on the bill. Our team had noted that inadequate interoperability between various charging networks poses a serious threat to the widespread adoption of EVs. Currently, many “electric vehicle service providers” operate under a variety of business models that rely on proprietary software and subscriber service arrangements, which leads to charging services being provided under different pricing structures and terms of service for subscribers versus non-subscribers. Our model law provides the relevant agencies the power to regulate minimum interoperability criteria for Level 2 charging equipment and DC fast charging equipment, ensuring that any federal subsidy for EV charging infrastructure is deployed to maximum benefit. We are proud to note that, after our language was shared with Senate staff, these concepts were addressed in parallel provisions which were included in the final text of the infrastructure law.
New External Resources
LPDD.org is being continually updated with new, external legal resources. Below is a selection of recently added resources of special interest:
- New York City Gas Ban: In December, NYC passed a mandate phasing out the combustion of fossil fuels in new buildings and accelerating the construction of all-electric buildings. The law, Int. 2317-A, sets restrictions on fossil fuel usage in newly constructed residential and commercial buildings by phasing in strict emissions limits beginning in 2023. Buildings of all sizes must be constructed fully electric by 2027. The new law provides limited exemptions for certain uses, such as commercial kitchens and emergency or standby power. It also requires the Mayor’s Office of Climate and Sustainability to conduct studies on heat pump technology and electrical grid readiness.
- Colorado’s Transportation Planning GHG Reduction Rules: At the Colorado’s Transportation Commission’s December meeting, 10 out of the 11 commissioners in attendance approved a new rule requiring the state’s Department of Transportation to direct its dollars to projects proven to lower greenhouse-gas emissions. This nationally-leading rule will require the state Department of Transportation and the state’s five metropolitan planning organizations to measure the climate impact of planned projects and offset them if they exceed a given amount, providing a detailed model showing exactly how emissions will be reduced. State officials estimate the rule could shift some $6.7 billion by 2050 toward public transit, pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, construction emissions reductions, and other environmentally friendly strategies. Commission Chair Kathy Hall introduced the motion as “the biggest thing this commission has ever been asked to do.”
- EPA’s New Vehicle Emissions Standards for Model Years 2023-26: In December, EPA finalized revised national emissions standards for passenger cars and light trucks for model years 2023- 2026. The final standards would achieve significant GHG emissions reductions along with reductions in other criteria pollutants, and are the strongest vehicle emissions standards yet established for the light-duty vehicle sector at the federal level, significantly strengthening the Trump Administration’s targets. The final rule accelerates the rate of stringency increases to between 5 and 10 percent each year from 2023 through 2026, while the previous standards increased stringency at a rate of roughly 1.5 percent per year. These final standards are expected to result in average fuel economy label values of 40 mpg, while the standards they replace (the SAFE rule standards) would achieve only 32 mpg in model year 2026. EPA projects that the updated standards will result in avoiding more than 3 billion tons of GHG emissions through 2050.
- States Rush to Follow California’s Lead on Advanced Clean Trucks: In June 2020, the California Air Resources Board adopted a first-in-the-world rule requiring truck manufacturers to transition from diesel trucks and vans to electric zero-emission trucks beginning in 2024. Based on California’s unique position as an air quality leader, permitted to exceed federal standards under the Clean Air Act, several states have begun adopting different forms of the California program. In November and December alone, similar regulations were adopted in Washington, Oregon, New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey.
- North Carolina’s Executive Order on Equity: A January Executive Order directs North Carolina Cabinet agencies to consider environmental justice challenges when making decisions related to climate change and their response, such as how they will affect minority residents and the poor, and to examine the “social cost” of emissions. Each agency also will assign someone to environmental justice responsibilities.
- Nebraska Becomes First Red State to Commit to 100% Clean Energy: In December, Nebraska became the 20th state to commit to 100% clean electricity by 2050, via a 9-2 vote by the Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) Board of Directors. The NPDD Board joins the Omaha Public Power District and Lincoln Electric System in committing to decarbonization. Nebraska is the only state in the country with fully publicly owned power. These three public utility boards, not the legislature or investor owned utilities, control the state’s electricity supply.
- On January 26th at 11 AM Central Time, members of the LPDD team will join the American Bar Association’s Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources (ABA SEER) to discuss pro bono opportunities available through our project. Our project is one of two in the nation recognized by ABA SEER for providing pro bono opportunities in this field. Together with the Thriving Earth Exchange, we will discuss opportunities ranging from drafting or peer reviewing decarbonization-related model legislation via LPDD, to providing legal advice or conducting research for community-based projects via the Thriving Earth Exchange. Details and registration are available here.
Not sure how to support our work? Check out our Get Involved page to see the many avenues by which lawyers can join us, and get in contact!