Legislators in Dover are trying to address climate change with a series of bills
A package of bills introduced in the General Assembly aim to address climate change.
The eight bills look to cut greenhouse gas emissions, and legislators say they complement each other - seeking to reach goals laid out in the recently introduced Climate Solutions Act that lawmakers are also considering again this session.
That bill was released from the House Natural Resources & Energy Committee to the House floor.
It bill creates a framework for enacting the state’s Climate Action Plan. according to DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin.
And Garvin says these additional bills introduced will play a key role continuing that process.
"These other ones are very important pieces of what the Climate Action Plan lays out, which is the idea that there's a lot of different options and activities, and we need to continue to look at what makes the most sense at any given time,” said Garvin. “And so we're working with the House and the Senate on a number of those bills as well."
The bills would reduce the state’s carbon footprint, cut emissions, offer incentives to residents, and ensure businesses are prepared to utilize renewable energy.
And State Rep. Krista Griffith says a robust package like this is needed to hit those targets in the Climate Solutions Act.
"It has to be more than just one legislative effort. We need to look at different ideas and that's what I love about this package as it not only deals with construction of big properties requiring their roofs to support solar power, but we're requiring that new properties as they're developed have charging stations," said Griffith.
One bill introduced by Griffith along with State Sen. Sarah McBride sets a goal of 2040 for state-owned vehicles to have zero emissions. Law enforcement and school district vehicles are excluded.
Another bill establishes targets for the annual purchase of state-owned electric school buses through 2030 starting with 5% in fiscal 2025 to 30% in fiscal 2030.
And one piece of legislation would codify the existing Clean Vehicle Rebate Program allowing up to a $2,500 rebate on electric vehicles and a maximum of $1,000 for hybrid vehicles that retail up to $60,000.
The seven House Bills will go before House Natural Resources & Energy Committee, while the lone Senate Bill is assigned to the Senate Environment, Energy and Transportation Committee.
The bills introduced on Tuesday include House Bill 99 which lays out targets from the 2005 baseline and it codifies a planning process to guide the ate to meet the goals and require the state to draft and implement a climate action plan to serve as a framework to guide the state to meet these goals.
House Bill 9 sets a goal that all state-owned and operated passenger and light-duty vehicles are zero emissions by 2040.
House bill 8 directs state agencies to develop and implement clean construction preferences allowing sustainability and carbon impact data to be incorporated and considered in awarding public works contracts.
House Bill 11 requires new commercial buildings with a foundation footprint of 50,000 square feet or greater to ensure their roof can support solar infrastructure. This would start for building permits beginning on January 1, 2025.
House Bill 10 would establish targets for the annual purchase of state-owned electric school buses through fiscal year 2030.
House Bill 12 codifies the existing Clean Vehicle Rebate Program allowing up to a $2,500 rebate on electric vehicles and a maximum of $1,000 for hybrid vehicles that retail up to $60,000.
House Bill 13 would require DNREC and DelDOT to assess the availability of residential charging stations for electric vehicles and to develop strategies to deploy additional charging stations in high-need areas.
Senate Bill 103 makes it easier and more convenient to own an electric vehicle by requiring that newly constructed single-family and multi-family homes include certain electric vehicle charging infrastructure.