Clean transportation policies will be a topic of conversation with an expert – Merced County Times


Patricio Portillo,
Transport analyst

Are you interested in the future of electric vehicles? You are in good company because Patricio Portillo, a transport expert, is too.

The University of California at Merced is hosting an Ask Me Anything (AMA) virtual session open to the public on September 7 at 2 p.m., featuring Patricio Portillo, Transportation Analyst for the Climate and Clean Energy Program at Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC).

The NRDC, founded in 1970 by a group of law students and lawyers at the forefront of the environmental movement, works to protect the earth, including its people, plants and animals, and the natural systems upon which it depends. all life.

Today, his leadership team and board of directors ensure he works to ensure everyone’s rights to clean air, clean water and healthy communities.

It’s no secret what causes air pollution – the biggest source in California is the transportation industry, and diesel-powered trucks are a major contributor.

The California Air Resources Board has approved new regulations requiring truck manufacturers to switch to zero-emission electric trucks starting in 2024.

One of Portillo’s roles at NRDC is to work on clean transport policies so that the negative impact of transport on the environment can be minimized.

Andrea Guerra, who was Portillo’s intern when he was a student at UC Merced, worked closely with him and shared with The Times some interesting things about his work that would be good material for those attending the AMA to ask him questions. Guerra is currently finishing his internship at UC Merced and will be going to UC Santa Barbara in the fall, to prepare for a Masters in International Studies, the same degree that Portillo obtained.

Guerra told The Times: “Patricio Portillo is friends with Guillermo Ortiz, responsible for education programs on sustainability and diversity in the sustainability department at UC Merced. Patricio Portillo and Guillermo Ortiz decided to connect their spaces and do something powerful, and they wanted to create an internship exclusively for UC Merced students to help diversify the environmental world so that people of color can look for environmental jobs.

“I was fortunate enough to attend an environmental summit that they helped coordinate at UC Merced. I decided to apply for the internship. I was interviewed by Portillo, and he accepted me for the job and was my supervisor. He taught me transportation. I joined the coalitions he was a part of and got to see how he was doing his job, even though he was far away. I learned how he spoke to the state agency, California Air Resources Board, to convince them why they should be doing things.

“I ended my internship by writing a blog about life in a disadvantaged community, and it was all possible because Portillo was my supervisor and my mentor and fulfilled both roles. be an advocate and learn what it means to work in policy writing and blogging.

“As an expert, Portillo must know everything about transport, public and private, and he focuses on government vehicles, which belong to vehicle classes 2B through 8, which include utility fleets and medium and heavy vehicles. , and not so much the everyday car.

“He is currently working on the Advanced Clean Fleets Rule, a rule that will require people with large numbers of trucks to purchase electric vehicles that are manufactured.

“In transport, there are a lot of different sectors. Portillo does a bit of everything because he’s a transportation analyst, so he analyzes things like the economic and social benefits if we were to switch to electric vehicles. Its specialty is medium and heavy vehicles like the large freight trucks that we see on the highways.

“He also works with coalitions, community organizations, public health organizations and large green nonprofits where he talks to others and engages with them to find out how electric vehicles will be good for our economy. and our health and will meet our climate goals, so it examines their impact on society. Not only does it focus on the economic aspect, but it also focuses on the social aspect like how the switch to electric vehicles will ultimately reduce the health risks as there will not be as much pollution.

“One of his big roles in the NRDC is to be an advocate, and that includes lobbying. He regularly meets with the California Air Resources Board because it’s a state agency that sets the rules, and he lobbies for them to improve and strengthen the rules for clean transportation. He explains with them why the switch to electric vehicles is important and what they need to do to ensure that they meet the needs of communities and residents of the state so that everyone can breathe cleaner air and have less. of health risks.

“He educates others on how the process can be done. He writes blogs which are very powerful in educating NRDC members and staff, and they are also educational for outside parties as they are sometimes published by news organizations.

“He backs up his information with research and hard data. “

To join WADA, participants can register at

Those who cannot attend during the AMA, can send their questions for Patricio Portillo in advance to Erin Meyer at [email protected]

Erin Meyer, MS, Sustainable Food Programs Coordinator in the Office of Sustainability, Office of Leadership, Services and Careers at UC Merced, told The Times: “Portillo has an MA in International Affairs. from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, with a concentration in Energy and Environmental Policy, and a Bachelor of Business Administration in International Economics from Temple University.

“Patricio Portillo works on policies related to electric vehicles, which interests me a lot, and that’s why I chose him for WADA. He’s a good friend and colleague of Guillermo Ortiz, who is part of UC Merced’s sustainability office, and we wanted to tackle a different topic than sustainable food.

“I think some appropriate questions to ask Patricio Portillo during WADA would be:

What are you doing at the NRDC?

What type of populations do you work with (because his work focuses on inequalities in the environmental impacts of transport)?

What policies are you currently working on?

Why do we need to focus on sustainable transportation?

What role does sustainable transport play in job creation?


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