September 1, 2017
Governor Pete Ricketts
Lincoln, NE 68509
RE: VW Emission Settlement
Dear Governor Ricketts:
The undersigned organizations unequivocally believe that we have a moral obligation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as much as possible as soon as possible.
The Volkswagen diesel emission settlement fund represents an opportunity to make investments that will lead to significant emission reductions in the transportation sector. The $11.5 million allocated to Nebraska also provides major opportunities for economic benefit for Nebraskans as well as benefits for the state and local governments. We respectfully request the following:
- Designation of a lead agency for management and disbursement of funds.
- Establish a robust and transparent public participation process to gather the best ideas from Nebraskans.
- Develop a plan that maximizes emission reductions in the transportation sector. This plan should include a statewide system of electric vehicle charging stations.
- Work with our public power districts to increase electrification of transportation.
- Support our public power districts’ efforts to increase renewable energy development to further reduce emissions in transportation.
- Support the purchase of electric vehicles by the state and political subdivisions. A recent study by the Nebraska Community Energy Alliance found major cost savings from the use of electrical vehicles due to reduced energy and maintenance costs.
- Support for leading edge technologies such as battery storage and high-speed charging stations.
The following reasons support our request:
- Electric vehicle use is expected to grow exponentially in the next decade, including major investments by GM, Ford, Volvo, Nissan, Toyota, and Mazda in electric vehicle technology, not to mention the groundbreaking products from Tesla. Nebraska should be ready to meet the demand from this trend.
- Last week’s total eclipse and the migration of cranes in the spring showcase Nebraska’s role as a tourist destination. Tourism is one of our most important industries; making electric vehicle drivers confident they will not be stranded could provide a major boost for our state.
- Cutting edge companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple seek out states and communities that make investments in clean energy and forward-looking technologies like electric vehicles.
- Recent reports indicate that Nebraska’s agricultural economy continues to decline. As a result, state and local tax receipts are also down. Proper investment of these funds can help reverse these trends by making Nebraska more attractive to business, reducing government spending, and creating a healthier environment.
We look forward to working with your administration to create a plan that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, make Nebraska a regional leader in electric vehicles and help grow our economy.
Kenneth C. Winston
Nebraska Interfaith Power & Light
Director of Policy and Outreach
Nebraska Interfaith Power & Light
Center for Rural Affairs
Sierra Club, Nebraska Chapter
League of Women Voters of Nebraska
Nebraska Wildlife Federation
Feature photo: Last week’s total eclipse showcased Nebraska’s role as a tourist destination. Tourism is one of our most important industries; making electric vehicle drivers confident they will not be stranded could provide a major boost for our state. | Photo by Rhea Landholm