Hexbyte Glen Cove Biden administration will restore key environmental protections thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Biden administration will restore key environmental protections

Hexbyte Glen Cove

The Endangered Species Act is credited with saving iconic species like the bald eagle.

The administration of President Joe Biden on Friday announced it would restore protections under the Endangered Species Act, a law credited with saving iconic animals like the gray wolf and bald eagle, which were loosened by his predecessor Donald Trump.

Conservation groups welcomed the move but said they were concerned about how long the reversal might take.

“The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is committed to working with diverse federal, Tribal, state and industry partners to not only protect and recover America’s imperiled wildlife but to ensure cornerstone laws like the Endangered Species Act are helping us meet 21st century challenges,” said the agency’s Martha Williams.

The executive branch doesn’t have the power to change an act of Congress, but under Trump the protections for plants and wildlife were tweaked in key ways.

They included removing a rule that automatically conveys the same protections to threatened species and , and allowing information on economic impact to be gathered when making determinations on how wildlife is listed.

The FWS now proposes to undo those changes, saying it would formulate new rules in the coming months.

“We are grateful the Biden administration is moving to protect the most imperiled species by reversing the Trump-era rules, but time is of the essence,” environmental law non-profit group Earthjustice said in response.

“Each day that goes by is another day that puts our imperiled species and their habitats in danger.”

© 2021 AFP

Biden administration will restore key environmental protections (2021, June 5)
retrieved 6 June 2021
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Hexbyte Glen Cove Biden administration proposes restoring California's right to set car pollution rules thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Biden administration proposes restoring California’s right to set car pollution rules

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by Anna M. Phillips

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

The Transportation Department announced Thursday it was withdrawing part of a Trump-era rule that blocked states from setting their own tough car pollution standards, reversing actions by the Trump administration that weakened California’s ability to fight climate change.

The newly proposed rule change, which will be subject to a 30-day comment period, would restore California’s authority to set and greenhouse gas emission standards for cars and SUVs, and to require car companies to sell more electric vehicles.

The agency’s action Thursday suggested the Biden administration was laying the groundwork to eventually reinstate California’s legal waiver, which was granted by the Obama administration under the authority of the 1970 Clean Air Act. The waiver had allowed the state to set stricter auto emission and fuel efficiency rules than even the federal government. That power was widely considered one of the state’s most effective weapons in the fight against and air pollution.

Trump revoked California’s waiver in 2019 shortly before his administration issued a new set of fuel economy and emissions rules that were significantly weaker than the Obama standards. The change also affected the District of Columbia and the 13 states that follow California’s tighter standards.

California and nearly two dozen other states sued the administration, challenging the decision. Major auto manufacturers, including General Motors, Fiat Chrysler and Toyota, joined the lawsuit on Trump’s side in an effort to block the state’s tough fuel economy rules. They quickly abandoned the cause after President Joe Biden was elected.

“The Trump administration should never have challenged California’s legal authority to set our own vehicle emission standards,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said in a statement. “The Clean Air Act clearly gives us the right to protect the air Californians breathe and I want to thank the Biden administration for dropping this frivolous challenge.”

©2021 Los Angeles Times.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Biden administration proposes restoring California’s right to set car pollution rules (2021, April 23)
retrieved 24 April 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-04-biden-administration-california-car-pollution.html

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Biden poised to halt fossil fuel leasing on federal land

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The Biden administration has drafted an order imposing a moratorium on oil and gas auctions on federal land and water, according to reports

President Joe Biden will announce new bans on drilling on federal lands, as well as a US-hosted climate summit in April, as part of a raft of actions that take aim at rising global temperatures.

The federal government will pause new oil and natural gas leases on public lands or offshore waters “to the extent possible,” and review existing leases, according to a statement.

The issue was politically explosive during the election campaign, especially in the battleground state of Pennsylvania where fracking led to a natural gas boom.

The US would also pledge to conserve 30 percent of all federal land and water by 2030, part of an international push to stem biodiversity loss and confront climate change.

Other actions include establishing climate considerations as an essential element of US foreign policy and national security, resurrecting a presidential council of science advisors, directing agencies to invest in areas with deep economic ties to fossil fuels, and assisting communities disproportionately impacted by environmental harm.

A presidential memorandum on scientific integrity will direct agencies to make decisions guided by the best available evidence.

The US will further announce a US-hosted Climate Leaders’ Summit on April 22—Earth Day and also the fifth anniversary of the signing ceremony of the Paris Agreement.

Almost a quarter of American carbon dioxide emissions come from energy produced on public lands, according to a government report from 2018.

The drilling generated $11.7 billion in revenue in 2019, according to official data.

Environmental activist Leann Leiter uses an infrared camera to look for invisible emissions from the Mad Dog 2020 fracking site in Pennsylvania

The measures are therefore significant steps towards Biden’s campaign pledges to transition away from fossil fuels on the way to net zero emissions in the power sector by 2035 and the economy as a whole by 2050.

Taken together, the actions are “consistent with President Biden and Vice President Harris raising global climate ambition starting here at home,” Sherri Goodman, deputy undersecretary of defense for environmental security under former president Barack Obama, told AFP.

Industry backlash

Nonprofit Oceana has called on Biden to go further and turn the moratorium into a ban.

It released an analysis that found making offshore drilling protections permanent for unleased federal waters could prevent over 19 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions and more than $720 billion in damages.

“By permanently protecting our coasts from dirty offshore drilling and advancing clean energy sources like offshore wind, we can simultaneously combat climate change and safeguard our clean coast economy,” said Oceana campaign director Diane Hoskins.

But the proposals have triggered a backlash from the fossil fuel industry.

“Restricting development on federal lands and waters is nothing more than an ‘import more oil’ policy,” said American Petroleum Institute President and CEO Mike Sommers.

“Energy demand will continue to rise—especially as the economy recovers—and we can choose to produce that energy here in the United States or rely on foreign countries hostile to American interests.”

Wind turbines are viewed at a wind farm in Colorado City, Texas

International summit

David Waskow, of the World Resources Institute, said the proposed summit on April 22 is a chance for a new multilateral climate push after four years under Donald Trump.

“This will be an opportunity for the US to come to the table with others to press forward the agenda and sort of add to the drumbeat on the way to COP26,” the UN climate meeting that will be hosted in Glasgow later this year, he told AFP.

The US would also be expected to raise its Paris accord ambitions at the summit, and potentially target as much as a 50-percent reduction in total greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 2005 levels.

Biden, who will seek a green infrastructure package from Congress next month that could run up to $2 trillion or more, will face political challenges from Republicans.

But Goodman, now a senior fellow at the Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program, said she saw opportunities for bipartisanship.

“Remember that states like Texas and Wyoming also have huge wind potential,” she said, adding that there was increased recognition of the realities of climate change.

“More rapid polar ice melt, sea ice retreat, collapsing permafrost and higher temperatures all underscore the importance of recognizing climate as an essential element of our foreign policy and national security planning.”

© 2021 AFP

Biden to halt fossil fuel leasing on federal land (2021, January 27)
retrieved 27 January 2021
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