After a 2021 is full environmental victoriesEnvironment America, a national network of 29 state agencies, has a list of priorities for the new year. These priorities include more renewable energy, zero-carbon climate solutions, conservation, and zero waste progress at both the state and federal levels.
“From a ninth state committing to 100% renewable energy to new meaningful national conservation and clean transportation policies, 2021 was a great year of change – but 2022 needs to be even better,” said Environment America President Wendy Wendlandt. “Our national and state advocates know that the challenges facing our planet continue to mount and that, no matter the victories, we must press forward until our air and water is clean, our energy is renewable, our climate safe, and our wild lands and the animals who inhabit them are fully protected. We look forward to working toward those goals in the coming year.”
Here’s a list of other top issues Environment America and its 29 state agencies will be working on in the country in 2022.
Dan Jacobson, Senior Advisor for Environment California, rallying to save rooftop solar. Photo credit: staff.
Environment AmericaIt will continue its long-standing campaign to get all states, cities, corporations, and educational institutions to make 100% renewable energy a part of their operations. We will continue our efforts on solar by promoting rooftop solar and pushing for more general solar goals. We will also continue to focus on offshore wind efforts. National advocates will also increase their energy storage work by asking states for energy goals.
Environment America will also continue to advocate for reducing energy waste through making our buildings and appliances more efficient. To that end, we will work to accelerate the adoption of electric heating, cooling and cooking technologies in buildings and will defend communities’ freedom to choose clean energy.
Federal level The Build Back Better Act provides substantial tax incentives for wind and solar energy, clean transportation and energy efficiency.
At the state level Environment CaliforniaIt will work to protect solar incentive programs – as well as push to increase the use of solar panels on public roofs – from schools to fire stations – and make access to solar easier through programs like the free SolarAPP+. In addition, the group will push for the implementation of a million solar batteries to match the group’s Campaigns that have been successful previouslyTo build more solar roofs than a million
Environment Georgia, Environment Massachusetts, Environment North Carolina, Environment New Jersey, Environment VIrginia Wisconsin EnvironmentThey will all be urging their states to make 100% renewable energy a priority. Environment Georgia will also be advocating for this. Fair compensation for solar generation, and will work to get the state to join Atlantic offshore wind task force to increase its participation in the use of this renewable energy. Environment Massachusetts will work to get the state to require all large buildings to replace fossil fuel heating with clean alternatives that meet efficiency standards — including in office buildings, apartment buildings, hospitals and university campuses.
Advocates in North Carolina will also push for policies to increase solar storage and boost efficient and gas-free houses. We will also be addressing Virginia. Encourage the commonwealth’s national offshore wind leader status to be recognized and adopted clean building codes that make our places of work and living all-electric.
New Jersey organizersWill press the state to codify its goal to have 7,500 megawatts off the Jersey Shore by 2035 via legislation; to expand community-based solar projects; to adopt policies that turbocharge green financing for projects to finance clean energies improvements; and to oppose legislation banning state electrification mandates in buildings. Wisconsin Environment will look for opportunities for households to adopt renewables and storage. The Wisconsin group will also work to promote solar and wind energy incentives at both the state and local levels and to develop solar farms that generate renewable energy responsibly.
Not only do we need to see more incentives for solar energy, but also a greater emphasis on making buildings all electric. Environment IllinoisWe will advocate for higher appliance efficiency standards and a transition to renewable energy sources from a gas infrastructure. Environment Maine will engage the public and stakeholders in the process of creating Maine’s Offshore Wind Roadmap(To be finalized, and released December 2022). Environment Missouri will work for an increase in the state’s renewable energy standard from just 15% in 2021 to at least 50% in 2035. Missouri also has policies that encourage community rooftop solar and prohibit new gas infrastructure. It also built the Grain Belt Express, an 800-mile transmission link that delivers wind energy from Kansas to Missouri. This was done in order to help achieve the renewable energy standards goals.
Environment WashingtonWe will also be working towards clean, all-electric buildings as well as community solar. Environment TexasThe group will fight to protect renewable energy from discriminatory charges as state regulators overhaul the electric market after the February blackouts. The group will advocate for Texas cities to offer a public option to 100% renewable energy to their residents. It will also support the development of offshore wind in the Gulf of Mexico (especially when the U.S. Department of the Interior starts offering leasing at the end of 2022).
Environment America staff fighting for the protection of the Arctic. Staff photo.
Protecting our wild spaces and a cross-section of species is high on Environment America’s agenda. This includes: Getting Congress to approve protections for Tongass National Forest. Continuing to shift tissue products away from virgin wood to recycled paper, bamboo, wheat straw (with particular attention to the likes of Costco Procter & Gamble); ending oil leasing in the Arctic Refuge (as well as ending offshore drilling along the United States’ contiguous 48 coast); permanently protecting land surrounding the Grand Canyon and Chaco Canyon; safeguarding Alaska’s Bristol Bay from copper mining; and ending dangerous old-school lobster and fishing practices in New England Right whale ocean habitats.
New campaigns will be launched in the new year, including an effort at saving mature trees in all natural forest, as well as new efforts to expand ocean monuments, sanctuaries, and where appropriate, offshore our coasts.
The national priorities will be a focus for state partners. California, Illinois, Missouri and New Jersey will be among the states that will work together to protect vital pollinators like bees. While policies will vary from one state to the next, most states will ban bee-killing pesticides such as neonicotinoids or chlorpyrifos for agricultural and non-agricultural purposes.
It is crucial to build wildlife corridors to reconnect endangered species. Environment California, Environment North Carolina and Environment Virginia are some of the groups that will be working to address this issue.
There are also state-specific priorities. Environment Maine will, for example, work to protect Acadia National Park and Frenchman Bay by stopping the development a large-scale industrial salmon farm.LD 736) to expand and enhance Maine’s ecological reserve system to protect additional ecosystems and wildlife habitat. Environment Georgia will support the preservation of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.
In New Jersey, some specific plans include: ensuring constitutionally dedicated funds for open space increase; watchdogging state funding from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund and the National Park Service to protect our natural lands and state and national parks; and pressing for the federal designation of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreational Area as the state’s first national park. Environment Oregon and Environment Texas will work together to reintroduce sea-otters to the state following years of environmental degradation. We will push for Texas governor candidates who support the creation one million more acres of state parks.
Environment Virginia will continue to demand protections for the Chesapeake Bay. Environment Washington, on the other hand, will push for the removal of Snake River dams as part of a statewide effort for salmon restoration and elimination of pollution in the Salish area.
Environment America works to eliminate the threat from fossil fuels, mining, industrial pollution, and sewage system. Photo credits: (from left) ILoveMountains.org/CC BY 2.0, Public Domain, Public Domain, Kate Boicourt / Integration and Application Network, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
Environment America will lead a massive education campaign, as the Clean Water Act celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2022.to increase public awareness of and support this foundational environmental law. Our success Get the Lead OutCampaign will continue to push forward. The Environmental Protection Agency at the federal level will be updating the Lead & Copper Rule. We will ask the agency to replace lead service lines within 10 year (with limited exceptions for cities such as Chicago that can’t meet that deadline).
This issue will also be addressed by state partners. Environment Georgia will, for instance, advocate for the state. use funds from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and other federal sources to immediately start addressing this threat by replacing lead service lines, especially near child care centers and schools. This can be accomplished by replacing water fountains with filtered water bottle station and installing filters certified for removing lead at all other taps that are used for cooking or drinking. Similar efforts will be made for Illinois. Environment Illinois foundIn 2018, 78% of suburban Cook County schools found lead in their water. Additional locales where advocates will push for policies to get rid of lead in our water system – particularly in schools – include Missouri, North Carolina, New Jersey, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
Other clean water priorities include pressing state and local officials to use new federal infrastructure funding to adopt stronger local policies to make waterways safe for swimming – from Pittsburgh and Philadelphia to Austin, Texas. In Illinois and Wisconsin, the agenda will include a discussion on how to improve factory farm pollution regulations. Environment New Jersey is putting the Environment Georgia will implement a comprehensive cleanup plan for Barnegat Bay as one of its priorities. Environment Georgia will also work to protect communities against the toxins in coal-ash by ensuring that all coal-ash is kept out of waterways in dry, lined, and capped facilities.
Destination: Zero Carbon
With transportation continuing to be the number one source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., reimagining our transportation system with a clean renewable roadmap remains high on Environment America’s to-do list.
We will continue to push for stronger regulations at the federal level to ensure 100% EV sales by 2035 and earlier. We will also push for federal incentives to EV buyers. In our Charge Across America campaign, however, we are supporting the Green Spaces and Green Vehicles ActTo bring electric vehicle charging into national parks and forests.
Environment California in California will push for a commitment from the state to build a network statewide of one million electric vehicle charging stations. It will also support expanding such local programs. Clean Cars 4 AllCalifornia’s EV Coalition works to get rid of the most dangerous cars. Environment Georgia will push for tax credits for new EV owner and the elimination of fees. The group will also advocate for increased state support for mass transit, and for greater autonomy for counties to decide their own futures in transit.
Environment Illinois, Environment Maine. Environment New Jersey. Environment Oregon. Environment Texas. Environment Virginia. Environment Washington. Many of our groups will be focusing their efforts on increasing electric school bus fleets. These groups will also be working to improve EV charging infrastructure.
Our Maine group will also push for the Pine Tree State’s adoption of the legislation. Advanced Clean Truck rule (along with pass legislation)LD 1579) to establish targets and timetables for the state, counties and municipalities to transition to zero-emission light-, medium- and heavy-duty vehicle fleets. Environment Missouri will remove the requirement for alternative fuel decals for electric vehicles. New Jersey’s goals include fully financing consumer rebates of up to $5,000 at point of EV purchase; implementing NJ Transit electric bus pilot program across the state (including Camden and Newark); as well as instituting advanced clean truck regulations.
PennEnvironmentWill push for the Keystone State’s membership in the CA Clean Cars Program – Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV).. Environment Texas in Texas will work with Austin and other cities to ensure that new buildings are EV-ready. Our Texas group will also press for an end to the expansion of I-35 through Austin. In Virginia, that will include advocating for the Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI), and, in Wisconsin, efforts will be made to increase the state’s Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) by $10 million per biennium.
Environment America has had a long-standing goal of eliminating waste to protect wildlife and people. HIt is important that older producers are held responsible for the costs of managing and cleaning out their wasteful packaging. Campaigns will take place in Colorado, Illinois and New Jersey, Oregon, Virginia, Washington, among others.
We will continue to support bans on single use plastics and protect against any preemptive statewide efforts. California will be the first state to take action on this matter. Connecticut, Georgia.
Advocates will also fight against chemical incineration and plastic to fuel conversion (sometimes referred to as advanced “recycling” or chemical incineration). This will happen at the state level, by opposing the permitting and building of these facilities – for example, stopping the construction of the Brightmark facility in Macon, Georgia. The federal level is where we will be urging the EPA and the EPA to establish rules that cover this unregulated, dangerous technology. We also work with federal legislators to push for important bills. These include banning the sale single-use polluting plastics in national parks. This bill is the most powerful in U.S. history to reduce the amount of plastic waste. Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act.