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CA Governor Issues Executive Order On Zero-Emission Vehicles; Activists Say More Can Be Done

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John Lloyd
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Governor Gavin Newsom today issued an executive order to restrict new car sales in the state to only zero-emission vehicles by 2035 and called for a ban on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, by oil companies. But some activists say even more can be done to curb pollution and slow climate change. 

Under the executive order, the California Air Resources Board would implement the phasing out of new gas-powered cars and trucks, and require medium and heavy-duty trucks to be zero-emission by 2045.

California would be the first state in the nation to do so, although several countries have already committed to similar bans on new gas-powered cars and trucks.

Andrea Vidaurre is with the Inland Empire-based Warehouse Worker Resource Center.

She says the executive order highlights the transportation industry’s greenhouse gas emissions.

“It was also an important highlight of the opportunity that it holds for real transformation. And so our organization is hopeful that the executive order allows us to look at the ways that industry is not only shaping the climate but also how it's shaping our economy, how it's shaping the workforce, and you know the careful actions are taken from here on out to address what's going on in this industry with the health and safety concerns, the occupation, wage theft, so that we can really have this green job economy that he spoke of, we can have this real just transition," Vidaurre says.

But Vidaurre says the executive order could have done more to help polluted regions in California like the Inland Empire.

"It comes down to the details, how much investment is really going to go into infrastructure, how much investment is going to go into workforce development, how much investment's really going to come into these pockets that have been severely polluted, not only in the I.E. but in places like Long Beach, Oakland, San Joaquin Valley, etc. so that we can see these communities are the first to see the opportunities of the green job market," Vidaurre says.

Other demands from environmental groups like the nonprofit Earthjustice include the end of fossil fuel infrastructure, the increase in use of clean energy, phasing out fossil fuels in homes, and the appointment of leaders to regulatory agencies that will enact bolder climate change policies.

Meanwhile, California oil industry representatives have argued that phasing out the use of fossil fuels in California, home to some of the strictest environmental regulations in the world, would encourage more oil to be imported from countries that don’t share those regulations.

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