To: Interested Parties
From: Bill Holland, LCV Vice President of State Policy and Advocacy
Date: February 9th, 2023
Re: Governors across the country commit to climate action in 2023 Addresses
On Tuesday we heard President Biden’s vision for the country. His 2023 State of the Union celebrated his Administration’s historic job creation, the passage of the largest investment in clean energy infrastructure ever, and his vision for revitalizing manufacturing jobs through clean energy. Much of the success of those investments lies in the hands of state and local leaders.
Below is a recap of 2023 State of the State and inaugural addresses so far where Governors have made major climate and clean energy commitments. Governors and legislatures across the country will work to implement the billions of new federal dollars coming into states over the coming years and have the opportunity this year to double down on federal climate action with real state commitments that accelerate clean energy targets and implement Justice 40.
State and local progress will make or break our path to a clean energy future. Thankfully in 2023, from Arizona to New York, we have heard Governors promise to continue our progress. Some like Governor Tim Walz in Minnesota have already signed ambitious new laws making those commitments reality. League of Conservation Voters’ state partners around the country are working tirelessly to ensure Governors and our state legislatures live up to the promises they have made because every community deserves a healthier future and an economy run on clean energy.
“First, my administration has heard loud and clear that re-establishing the Governor’s Energy Office is a priority for communities across the state. In response, we will relaunch this entity as the Governor’s Office of Resiliency, which will focus on water, energy, and land use solutions. This office will help coordinate efforts with the many departments, tribal governments, universities, organizations, and others involved in this effort. Arizona needs partnerships on a local, state, regional, and national level, and I intend to put us in the best position to do so.”
“And I’m proud to propose $120 million annually in new, clean energy tax credits. With this tax relief and incentives, we can improve our air quality, accelerate innovation, and make more rapid progress towards our goals, while saving people money at the pump and on their utility bills, and increasing access to clean, low-cost transportation options. We’ve made a lot of progress on electric vehicles, with 10% of vehicles sold now electric – making us 5th in the nation, and these tax credits will help us continue pushing toward more zero emission cars and trucks sooner rather than later.”
“These efforts will help us capitalize on these untapped resources, close the 20% gap to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2040, reduce emissions, clean our air, and do our part on climate. They would also help us prevent the kind of spikes in utility bills that Coloradans are experiencing due to high costs of natural gas.”
“The only long-term solution is to continue pursuing low-cost, reliable, renewable energy. We simply must end our reliance on costly fossil fuels, improve energy security, and save people money.”
“We are often told climate change is a problem for the future, or something you only have to worry about if you live on farmland or in a flood zone. But climate change is an existential threat for our entire state, and it is happening now. Confronting climate change represents another chance for Maryland to lead. We can be a leader in wind technology, in grid electrification, and clean transit. We will protect our Chesapeake Bay, and address the toxic air pollution that chokes our cities. And we will put Maryland on track to generate 100 percent clean energy by 2035 — creating thousands of jobs in the process. Clean energy will not just be part of our economy; clean energy will define our economy.”
“I’ve pledged to double our offshore wind and solar targets, and quadruple our energy storage deployment. In transportation, we will electrify our public fleet, and put a million electric vehicles on the road by 2030.”
“Tomorrow, I am submitting an executive order to create the country’s first Cabinet-level climate chief — reporting directly to me. She will work across government and with every city and town to meet our climate goals and achieve our economic potential. We will match our ambitions with our investments. For the first time in our state’s history, we will commit at least 1% of the state budget to environmental and energy agencies. We will triple the budget of the Clean Energy Center. We’ll create a Green Bank to foster investment in resilient infrastructure and attract new businesses to Massachusetts.”
“Let’s build a Climate Corridor that stretches from the Berkshires to Barnstable harnessing research, innovation and manufacturing. We’ll create thousands of new jobs in cleantech and blue tech, coastal resiliency, and environmental justice. And I believe 10 years from now, we will look back and see the undeniable benefits for our workers, our economy, and our planet.”
“Let’s tackle climate change head-on while: creating jobs, lowering costs, and protecting our air and our lakes, both Great and small.”
“Let’s bring supply chains home from China to Michigan and become an epicenter of innovation in clean energy, batteries, and chips.”
“Last, but certainly not least, it is our shared duty to face climate change head-on and protect our land and water. We must pursue climate action while creating jobs, lowering costs, and becoming a hub of clean energy production. Last year, we unveiled the MI Healthy Climate Plan, and this year, we should make bold investments in climate action to deliver on its targets. Let’s get it done.”
In the Governor’s new budget she proposed major tax credits for electric vehicles, funding to electrify state and local government fleets and $2 billion in incentives for electric vehicle and battery manufacturing.
“Let’s invest in clean energy jobs and grow our economy by manufacturing solar panels and building the infrastructure necessary to support electric vehicles. And let’s protect the right to collectively bargain so highly skilled union workers move here to build it! Let’s make Minnesota’s electricity carbon free by 2040.”
Governor Walz signed a new 100% carbon free electricity bill into law on Tuesday February 7th.
“We will also take another step in our sustainability efforts by codifying our zero-emissions goal in state statute—because there should be no question that New Mexico is committed to a cleaner, healthier future. In the coming months and years, we intend to design and implement a range of projects and initiatives to achieve that objective. We will take on this challenge the same way we have approached all others: with creativity, with tenacity, and with the bold and innovative spirit that has always driven us forward.”
“And we also want to ease the burden on our residents struggling with high electric bills. So we’ll be providing at least $165 million in relief to more than 800,000 utility customers. We know that the key to long-term sustainability – for our wallets and our planet – is weaning ourselves from fossil fuels. To set us on that path, I’m proposing a plan to end the sale of any new fossil-fuel-powered heating equipment by 2030. And I’m calling for all new construction to be zero-emission, starting in 2025 for small buildings and 2028 for large buildings. We are taking these actions because climate change remains the greatest threat to our planet, and to our children and grandchildren.”
“We’ve passed several landmark policies that are transitioning us to clean transportation, clean electricity, and clean buildings. Just last week, our clean fuel standard and cap-and-invest programs went into effect. And we’re doing this in a way that ensures overburdened communities will experience the economic and health benefits of this transition. Now, our focus must shift to implementation and investment. We need more capacity to site and permit clean energy projects in a timely manner, and we need to bolster our transmission infrastructure to reliably deliver clean energy throughout the state. We also need to expand our research and development capacity. On the investment side, the Climate Commitment Act (CCA) we passed in 2021 is now live. Our state’s new cap-and-invest program will allow us, this year, to transform how we invest in transportation and our communities. Heat pumps for low-income families, charging stations across the state, hybrid-electric ferries, free transit for youth, grants to clean up air pollution — the list goes on.”
The CCA will provide an estimated $1.7 billion that we will use for projects to drive down emissions, create jobs and make communities healthier.”
“I’m proposing to invest more than $100 million to take a three-pronged approach to confront PFAS across our state. We’re going to increase PFAS testing, sampling, and monitoring statewide so we can find these contaminants and get them out of our water. We’re going to make more resources available to on-the-ground partners to respond to PFAS contamination when it happens. And we’re going to work to increase awareness about the dangers of PFAS so folks can take steps to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.
Whether it’s PFAS and clean water, supporting our farmers and our agricultural industry, finding more district attorneys and public defenders, or expanding access to affordable housing and child care, every level of government must be working together to address the challenges facing our state. And the state must do its part if we want our local partners to help with this important work.”