June 24, 2024

Contact: Ramona Cornell du Houx

EOPA Communication Director Cell: 207.319.4727

On EV tour lawmakers highlight public health benefits from the transition to EVs as communities plug into the incentives from the IRA, especially for Justice40 communities

On EV tour lawmakers say, with strong EPA clean car standards GA’s transition to EVs will improve health and help ensure energy security

ATLANTA, GA. At a press conference at the Capitol, Elected Officials to Protect America (EOPA) highlighted the public health benefits from the transition to EVs as communities plug into the incentives from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) during their United for Health, Prosperity and Energy Security Electric Vehicle Tour. Afterwards there were EV demonstrations so lawmakers could drive an EV. There Sheriff LaVon Allen, from Clayton County, showcased one of his department’s EVs.


EOPA’s EV educational tour is raising awareness about what lawmakers are doing to combat the climate crisis to help Justice40 communities by using the tools from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), and how EVs are important to clean up toxic air pollution. America’s transition to use 100 percent clean energy is the nation’s road to energy security. Additionally, IRA incentives for EVs and the infusion of federal funding for more charging stations works in tandem with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPAs) new strong clean vehicle emission standards.


“Thousands of jobs for Justice40 communities continue to be created from IRA incentives for multiple clean energy projects. Battery manufacturing for EVs has increased dramatically in Georgia as well as EV production. One facility will supply materials for more than 5 million EV batteries per year. Additionally, residents will benefit from homes that are no longer burdened by the harmful health effects of fossil fuel energy,” said Alex Cornell du Houx, former Maine State Representative, Marine combat veteran, and President of EOPA. “Electrification is our opportunity to protect public health, bring prosperity, and help ensure our energy security while we combat the climate crisis. As we electrify the transportation sector and our buildings, more electricity generated by renewables will feed our grid on our road to 100 percent clean energy,”


Solvay Specialty Polymers in Augusta, GA received $178 million from DOE to build a new battery manufacturing plant for support the EV and grid storage markers. Since President Biden took office the Department of Energy has tracked more than $100 billion in new battery supply chain investments, including 19 facilities in Georgia, adding up to over $26 billion and over 23,000 jobs.


With more EVs on our roads there will be less tailpipe pollution that can lead to health problems including increased risk of asthma attacks, strokes, heart attacks, cancer, and premature deaths. 

The EPA’s new clean vehicle emissions will help environmental justice communities that are disproportionately impacted by this toxic air pollution because they are located next to highways or near manufacturing and/or shipping facilities.


“Tragically, environmental justice communities suffer disproportionately the most from vehicle emission pollutants that can lead to lung and cardiovascular disease, and premature death. This fact makes the EPA’s new vehicle emissions standards critical as a bridge on the road to a zero emissions future,” said Georgia State Representative Sandra Scott, District 76, Army Veteran, EOPA Leadership Council member. “Additionally, Georgia will receive almost $219 million from the IRA to implement a Home Energy Rebate program. Low-income households in Atlanta could save an average of 41 percent on their home energy bills when they upgrade their appliances and improve energy efficiency through this program. This is our opportunity to protect our communities from the threat of the climate crisis and fossil fuel pollution while we strengthen our energy security with the benefits from the Inflation Reduction Act as it helps Justice40 communities across Georgia.”


The EPA standards are important on the road to achieve zero emissions, and a more just world. Estimates show that transitioning to zero-emission trucks could save nearly 67,000 lives and prevent premature deaths and chronic respiratory illnesses, particularly in Justice40 communities.


“We are beginning to discover how Electric Vehicles (EVs) can offer significant health benefits by reducing tailpipe pollution, which is linked to asthma, respiratory disease, strokes, heart attacks, cancer, and premature deaths. The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) provides incentives for climate initiatives that support environmental justice communities, often situated near highways, by cutting down harmful emissions,” said Georgia State Representative Kim Schofield, District 63. “This is a human rights issue requiring bipartisan support. I believe by advancing towards zero-emission vehicles, we can improve the quality of lives for many and prevent chronic respiratory illnesses, particularly in Justice40 communities, paving the way for a healthier, more equitable future.”


In the American Lung Association’s annual State of the Air Report, for the year-round average level of particle pollution, Fulton County, Georgia, received a failing grade for pollution levels above the federal standard. The fossil fuel industry has neglected public health across the state, and held back clean energy production for too long. The state, nation and world will be positively impacted by the transition to EVs.


“On a daily basis the invisible toxic particulates from gas emissions invade the lungs of unsuspecting people just by breathing air—with Justice40 communities suffering disproportionately the most from these pollutants,” said Christian Brock, Elected Officials to Protect America (EOPA) Chief Executive Officer, Air Force veteran “Lower tailpipe emissions are key as we transition to zero-emission vehicles. They will protect millions who can’t avoid breathing in dirty emissions. In the process with the EPA’s new vehicle standards and more EVs manufactured in the U.S. job creation and economic growth is underway, and family cost savings are happening. Importantly, new EPA standards promote American energy security, averting 14 billion barrels of oil imports by 2055 through reduced gasoline consumption.”


The transportation sector accounts for approximately 45 percent of NOx emissions in the U.S.; tailpipe pollution contains toxic and harmful compounds that pollute air quality and harm public health. EVs have zero emissions. 


“It is imperative that we support innovative ways, such as electric vehicles (EVs) to protect the health, welfare and wellbeing of our most vulnerable population which includes our children, seniors and medically challenged individuals,” said Georgia State Representative Debra Bazemore, District 69.


With the successful passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act, production and sales of EVs have exponentially increased. The IRA makes it easier and cheaper for many to purchase an electric vehicle, with upfront discounts up to $7,500 for new EVs and up to $4,000 for used EVs, helping many Americans skip the gas pump and save on fuel costs.


In 2022, Georgia had 70,400 registered electric vehicles, a 48 percent increase from the 47,600 vehicles in 2021. Drivers switching to an electric pickup truck could save over $1,700 per year in fuel and maintenance costs compared to a gasoline-powered truck. Drivers of smaller electric cars could save over $1,200 per year.


Additionally, there are other IRA clean energy incentives that are lowering the carbon footprint and improving public health and energy security. All of the funds awarded through certain IRA programs, like the Solar for All program, will be invested in Justice40 communities.


“Not only does the Inflation Reduction Act provide incentives for EVs, it has spurred clean energy investments in Georgia, and includes grants to help state and local governments adopt the latest building energy codes, which would save the average new homeowner in Georgia 15.1 percent on utility bills. That amounts to $327 per year,” said Georgia State Representative Shelly Hutchinson, District 106.  “With federal funding through this historic law we can transform our state into a clean electric powerhouse where we will see public health outcomes and everyone’s quality of life improve as environmental justice takes root.”


In 2023, a record 1.2 million EVs were bought in the United States, with sales consistently greater each month than in the prior two years. EV interest will continue to grow as consumers gain more familiarity with them, and fast-charging public infrastructure is built out. 


Georgia currently has over 4,200 EV charging ports. The state will also receive over $28.7 million in federal funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to help build out more EV charging stations. Plus, the IRA has incentives for home plug in ports.


Additionally, companies are providing innovative solutions so that every EV owner can feel safe knowing their EV will find a charging source.

“The Lynkwell team has had the privilege of collaborating with municipalities across the country as they build and expand their EV infrastructure, said Kate Kruk, former School Board member, Partner and Engagement Director, Lynkwell. “We applaud the leaders here in Atlanta for their part in transitioning their fleets to EV and supporting EV infrastructure projects that provide the public opportunities to charge their vehicles in their communities.”

Livingston Energy Group, a Lynkwell company, is a full-deployment electric vehicle charging solutions provider that has close to 10,000 charging stations active and in development on its cloud-based software platform, which hosts dozens of EV charging networks. 


Previously, the tour stopped in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Georgia is the last stop.


The tour is led by Elected Officials to Protect America. EOPA partners for the tour include Climate Action Campaign, National Electric Vehicle Association, Alliance for Clean Energy New York, Charge EVC, and the Lightning Clubs of America. The Tour is made possible by the Environmental Defense Fund, PSG&E, Zeem, and Lynkwell. 

Elected Officials to Protect America is a network of current and former elected officials who care deeply about protecting the planet and people. EOPA is committed to solving the climate crisis, ensuring environmental justice, and protecting our lands, waters, and democracy. EOPA educates through value-based storytelling, trains lawmakers, and connects elected officials to inspire strong environmental leadership.