Local Change Is Creating Big Impact
A rundown of some of our most significant wins in communities across the country.
While the federal government is dismantling protections for our environment, climate, and health, towns, cities, and states across the nation are continuing to fight back. Local communities are stepping up to fight the climate crisis, transition to clean energy, protect safe water and clean air, safeguard wild places, and help secure a more sustainable and equitable future for all.
States are taking bold climate action and transitioning their economies to clean, renewable energy.
- California, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, and Washington have committed to transitioning to 100 percent clean electricity.
- Colorado set a goal of reducing carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2030 and 90 percent by 2050, and is now working on plans on how best to achieve this target.
- Virginia state lawmakers passed the Clean Economy Act to slash power plant carbon pollution in the state.
- Oregon Governor Kate Brown took bold executive action to cut carbon pollution from power plants, vehicle fuels, and industrial sources and expand the state's clean energy economy.
- Montana Governor Steve Bullock just showed his commitment to climate action by releasing recommendations on how to reduce carbon pollution, increase climate resilience, and grow the state’s clean, renewable energy economy.
- Michigan just set a goal of dramatically cutting carbon pollution and becoming carbon-neutral by 2050 across all sectors of its economy, including electric power, transportation, buildings, industry, and agriculture.
States are taking action to reduce transportation pollution—the largest source of climate-busting carbon emissions in the nation.
- Colorado and Nevada have committed to pursuing California’s Advanced Clean Cars Program to help cut dangerous carbon pollution from transportation and increase the number of clean electric vehicles in their states.
- Washington also passed legislation to move in this direction, and New Mexico’s governor has committed to doing the same. These moves are critical to improving harmful air quality that’s plaguing our communities, especially low-income communities and communities of color.
- California passed a policy to spur construction of new electric vehicle charging stations and finalized its Advanced Clean Truck Rule—a global first that requires truck makers to sell clean, zero-emission trucks in place of polluting diesel trucks. Following this, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia agreed to work collaboratively to zero out pollution from new trucks and buses by 2050.
- Electric vehicle pilot programs have been launched in Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, and South Carolina to help increase the number of EV charging stations.
Cities are stepping up in big ways on climate and clean energy.
- This year, Honolulu passed a policy to reduce energy use (and energy bills) in new buildings by requiring that they be energy efficient and wired to be ready for rooftop solar and electric vehicle charging.
- Hamilton County, Ohio, passed a critical ballot measure to help improve Greater Cincinnati’s public transportation system, increase funding to fix roads, cut traffic, and tackle the climate crisis.
- St. Louis acted to make buildings—the city’s biggest source of pollution—more energy efficient.
- As a result of a lawsuit filed by NRDC and our partners, the owners of a coal plant in Peoria, Illinois, have agreed to shut the plant and contribute $8.6 million to local energy efficiency, solar, bus electrification, lung health, and job training programs, which NRDC is now overseeing.
- San Jose, California, passed a groundbreaking policy to power more new buildings with clean, renewable all-electric energy instead of dirty fossil fuels.
States and cities are protecting drinking water and communities from toxic chemicals and other contaminants.
- Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and New York have all taken first steps toward protecting our drinking water from PFAS (aka "forever chemicals") by establishing standards limiting the amount of some of these toxic chemicals.
- Following a New York law to restrict the use of PFAS in firefighting foam, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill to get these dangerous chemicals out of firefighting foam to protect communities, drinking water, and firefighters.
- NRDC helped Michigan strengthen and defend its Lead and Copper Rule—now the strongest drinking water protection against lead in the country.
- Sixteen states, plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, adopted statewide water shutoff moratoria during the pandemic to help ensure that people have access to safe running water. And at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer ordered public water systems to reconnect services to all occupied households in the state.
- California phased out the toxic pesticide chlorpyrifos to help protect children and farmworkers, and New York has committed to doing the same. California also passed a bill to help keep agricultural workers safe from COVID-19.
- California also passed a law to help make air ventilation and drinking water in underserved public schools healthier. This will help schools reopen safely.
- Maryland passed a law to protect communities from toxic flame-retardant chemicals in various household products. Maryland lawmakers also banned the use of chlorpyrifos; although the governor vetoed the bill, the Assembly is expected to override the veto.
- New York took action to help protect children from toxic chemicals in consumer products.
- Chicago; Flint, Michigan; Newark, New Jersey; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania agreed to replace lead water lines/pipes to protect safe drinking water and public health.
States are protecting the health of communities and our climate from dangerous fossil fuel projects and protecting wildlife.
- NRDC helped prohibit any offshore drilling off New York’s coastline and block the fracked-gas Williams pipeline in New York and New Jersey. New York also passed new laws banning fracking across the state and protecting communities from dangerous fracking wastes carted into the state.
- NRDC helped stop the dangerous Atlantic Coast Pipeline in Virginia and North Carolina.
- Virginia passed legislation to block oil and gas drilling off its coast.
- California voted to protect the Mojave Desert from a dangerous water extraction project and took action to protect communities from dangerous oil spills.
- Colorado passed a bold policy to ensure state regulators prioritize protecting communities, wildlife, and the environment over fossil fuel profits.
- Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Save Our Species bill into law in New York to help protect imperiled species like polar bears, pangolins, and giraffes from being sold in or trafficked through the state.
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