Check your answers below to see how much you know about 2023 legislation in the West.
1. Which states made historic investments in conservation funding?
b. AZ and NM
Thanks to the advocacy of WRA and partners like the Arizona Heritage Alliance and CHISPA, Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs signed a $17.4 million budget for the 2024 fiscal year that included $6 million to the Heritage Fund and $500,000 for the Arizona Trail. This funding will open up remarkable opportunities for programs benefiting Arizona’s cultural, historic, and natural resources and continues to ensure that future generations can enjoy the natural wonders of Arizona.
In 2023, New Mexico established the Land of Enchantment Legacy Fund, a permanent conservation trust to leverage federal money and deliver critical resources to New Mexican communities. The $100 million appropriation for the fund is the single largest land and water conservation investment in New Mexico history. This legislation also establishes New Mexico’s first dedicated and long-term funding stream for land and water conservation and situates the state to leverage federal money that has historically been left on the table without access to the required matching funds.
2. Which state created a new Clean Trucks and Buses Incentive Program to clean up their air?
Nevada passed Assembly Bill 184 creates the Clean Trucks and Buses Incentive Program, which will use new funding in the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to accelerate access and adoption of medium and heavy-duty vehicles – from delivery vans and garbage trucks to school buses and semi-trucks – for Nevadan businesses, public entities, and Tribal governments. Nevada businesses will benefit from the reduced fueling and maintenance costs of zero-emission vehicles, as well as a lesser upfront cost to purchase the vehicle(s). And the public will benefit from a reduction in transportation-related air pollution, especially in lower-income neighborhoods and diverse communities.
3. Which state passed regulation to address rising gas utility bills and gas system build out?
After a winter of record-breaking energy prices and calls from the public for accountability from Colorado’s largest public utilities, the legislature decided to act. This law incentivizes companies to use more cost-efficient methods to produce electricity and enact measures to protect customers from price spikes. The legislation takes several critical steps to protect ratepayers, including requiring utilities to eliminate fossil gas line extension allowances — expensive subsidies paid by utility ratepayers to developers for new gas line hook-ups. Colorado is the second state in the U.S. to eliminate these subsidies. The law also requires utilities to improve the cost efficiency of electricity production while minimizing fuel costs, saving Colorado ratepayers money. The Utility Regulation Act is a historic step by the Colorado Legislature to protect consumers against future rate spikes due to volatile gas prices and the rising cost of fossil gas investments.
Thank you to WRA’s sponsors for their support:
Impact sponsor: FirstBank
Premier sponsor: Sol-Up
Signature sponsors: Denver Water, Torch Clean Energy