FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

Do all citizens have a right to a hospitable climate? Can legislation be passed to mitigate the consequences of greenhouse gases? How do regulations (or deregulations) have the power to promote sustainable practices and curb emissions, or do the reverse? Are high-emitting corporations liable for climate-related damages? Where does the judicial system come into play? Climate change has pushed these questions to the forefront of our national conversation. They all highlight the integral role of our government in confronting climate change and the critical need for policies.

As a nation we have three branches of government with separate but interrelated responsibilities. This “separation of powers” was intended to prevent one governmental body from gaining too much power and becoming autocratic.

Our federal laws are created by Congress (the legislative branch) which is comprised of the Senate (2 Senators from every state) and the House (there are currently 435 representatives, a number fixed by law since 1911, representing each state in proportion to the size of the state’s population).

The laws, once passed by both House and Senate and signed into law by the President, are carried out by the executive branch, which also has the power to regulate and deregulate, as well as to issue executive orders. The President, supported by the Vice President, department heads (cabinet members), and heads of independent agencies such as the EPA make up the executive branch.

The third branch is the judicial system wherein the courts retain responsibility for interpreting the laws that have been passed by the legislative branch and enforced by the executive branch. The Supreme Court is the highest court in the federal judiciary of the United States.

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Government Sets Carbon Limits on Concrete for Federal Projects

By Arianna Skibell  Photo: Greg Pease , Getty Images   03/30/22  
The procurement arm of the federal government is imposing new limitations on high carbon-emitting building materials for all its major projects, a move that will affect billions of dollars of federal infrastructure investments.

Here’s what Biden’s budget would do, and not do, for climate change

By Somini Sengupta  Photo: Leigh Vogel for The New York Times   03/29/22  
On Day 1 of his presidency, Joseph R. Biden Jr. brought the United States back into the global climate accord. His administration made bold pledges to cut emissions. It urged other countries to set ambitious…

Inside Biden’s $5.8 trillion wish list

By Andrew Ross Sorkin, Jason Karaian, Stephen Gandel, Michael J. de la Merced, Lauren Hirsch and Ephrat Livni  Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters   03/29/22  
President Biden proposed a $5.8 trillion annual budget yesterday, a request that reflects growing security and economic concerns at home and abroad. There are billions set aside to invest in police departments and the military,…
AP

US pipeline agency pulls back plan to assess climate impacts

By Matthew Daly  Photo: Ted Shaffrey , AP   03/25/22  
Amid pushback from industry groups and lawmakers in both parties, federal energy regulators on Thursday scaled back plans to consider how natural gas projects affect climate change and environmental justice.

FERC walks back pipeline policies changes, approves three pipeline projects

By Catherine Morehouse  Photo: John Shinkle , Politico   03/24/22  
In an abrupt about-face after weeks of blowback, FERC voted unanimously on Thursday to solicit input and consider changes to its revamped policy statements that brought additional climate and environmental justice scrutiny to new fossil…

Opinion: We’re in a fossil fuel war. Biden should say so.

By Farhad Manjoo  Photo: Jessica Lutz for The New York Times   03/24/22  
On one hand, it would seem uncontroversial to point out that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a war enabled and exacerbated by the world’s insatiable appetite for fossil fuels. It couldn’t not be so: Russia…

FEMA is giving homeowners money to prepare for floods — or move away

By Zoya Teirstein  Photo: Warren Faidley , Getty Images   03/23/22  
On Monday, the Federal Emergency Management Administration, or FEMA, announced a new pot of funding for victims of flooding in four states that got pummeled when Hurricane Ida slammed into the Gulf Coast last August…

New SEC climate rule leaves progressives wanting more

By Rachel Frazin and Saul Elbein   03/23/22  
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) took a long-sought step this week by proposing to require that publicly traded companies disclose their direct and indirect climate change contributions, but advocates are pointing to loopholes they…

American companies can’t sugarcoat their carbon pollution anymore

Robinson Meyer  Photo: Davidy Ryder / Getty   03/23/22  
On Monday, the SEC announced that it would add another layer to this set of essential disclosures, requiring companies to also release information about their climate risks. Starting next fiscal year, the country’s largest public…
NPR

The SEC wants companies to disclose how climate change is affecting them

By David Gura  Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images   03/21/22  
Every year, public companies in the U.S. are required to provide investors and regulators with detailed data about their financial performance and the risks they face. Soon, they may also have to disclose information about…

U.S. International Climate Finance: FY2022

03/17/22  
U.S. International Climate Finance Over the past several decades, to varying degrees, the

Sarah Bloom Raskin withdraws her nomination to the Fed Board

By Jane Mayer  Illustration: Nicholas Konrad / The New Yorker   03/15/22  
Biden’s nominee had publicly encouraged measures to mitigate climate change, including a transition to cleaner energy, which triggered a backlash from America’s powerful oil, gas, and coal industries.

SEC plans to force public companies to disclose greenhouse gas emissions

By Douglas MacMillan and Maxine Joselow  Photo: San Francisco Chronicle/Hearst Newspapers   03/15/22  
From Coca-Cola to Tesla, companies report emissions in widely different ways. A new federal rule is expected to standardize climate disclosures, putting the U.S. on closer footing with other countries.

Manchin won’t support Raskin for the Fed, imperiling her nomination.

By Emily Cochrane and Jeanna Smialek  Photo: Ken Cedeno/Pool photo   03/14/22  
Senator Joe Manchin III, a key centrist Democrat, announced on Monday that he would not support Sarah Bloom Raskin for a top position on the Federal Reserve, potentially dooming her chances for confirmation as Republicans…

Democrats Want Investigation Into Postal Service’s Gas Guzzlers Contract

By Lisa Friedman  Photo: Desiree Rios , The New York Times   03/14/22  
A group of House Democrats called Monday for an investigation into a decision by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to purchase up to 165,000 gasoline-powered mail trucks over the Biden administration’s objections that the multibillion-dollar contract…

EPA plans sweeping regulatory strategy for power plants

By Ethan Howland  Photo: Mark Wilson via Getty Images   03/11/22  
The Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to issue a series of proposals covering air, water and waste pollution from power generators, especially coal-fired power plants, EPA Administrator Michael Regan said Thursday.

Why aren’t U.S. oil companies increasing production faster?

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios   03/10/22  
Gas prices have of $4.318 per gallon as of Thursday morning (not ), with the prospect of going even higher.

AP Source: Biden to ban Russian oil imports over Ukraine war

By Zeke Miller, Mike Balsamo, and Josh Boak  Photo: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik   03/09/22  
President Joe Biden has decided to ban Russian oil imports, toughening the toll on Russia’s economy in retaliation for its invasion of Ukraine, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Biden administration moves to cut smog-forming pollution from trucks

By Dino Grandoni  Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images   03/07/22  
The Environmental Protection Agency proposes curbing nitrogen oxide and carbon pollution amid an online shopping boom, but some environmentalists call for stricter limits

Supreme Court hears case on EPA GHGs regulation

By Lexi Smith   03/07/22  
Oral arguments held February 28 gave attorneys on both sides of West Virginia v. EPA, which concerns the EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gasses, the chance to present their case before the Justices of the…

Russian invasion offers GOP a new opening to slam Biden’s climate plan

By Ben Lefebvre and Zack Colman  Photo: Sue Ogrocki/AP Photo   03/02/22  
Democrats are calling foul, saying the choice between shifting away from fossil fuels and fighting Putin is a false one.

Full transcript of Biden’s State of the Union address

Photo: Sarahbeth Maney/The New York Times   03/01/22  
President Biden delivered his annual State of the Union address on Tuesday to a joint session of Congress. The following is a transcript of his remarks, as recorded by The New York Times.

Statements from the White House Office on Science and Technology

02/28/22  
“Today, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its latest report documenting the consequences of climate change for our planet, our nation, and our communities. It provides two clear messages. First, climate change has…

Treasury to Host Virtual Roundtable on State and Local Efforts to Address Climate Change

02/28/22  
The U.S. Department of the Treasury will host a virtual roundtable, entitled The Climate Transition: Federal Policy and State and Local Government Best Practices, on Thursday, March 3, 2022. The roundtable will open at 10:00…

DOE Releases First-Ever Comprehensive Strategy to Secure America’s Clean Energy Supply Chain

02/24/22  
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today released America’s first comprehensive plan to ensure security and increase our energy independence. The sweeping report, “America’s Strategy to Secure the Supply Chain for a Robust Clean Energy…

Supreme court case could restrict Biden’s effort to tackle climate crisis

By Oliver Milman  Photo: Clarence Holmes Photography/Alamy   02/24/22  
Court to hear West Virginia case that takes aim at EPA’s ability to issue strict rules to curb pollution from fossil fuel power stations.

U.S. Postal Service moves ahead with plan to spend billions on gas vehicles

By Emma Newburger  Photo: Angus Mordant | Bloomberg | Getty Images   02/23/22  
The U.S. Postal Service on Wednesday completed a final regulatory requirement for its plan to replace its delivery fleet with thousands of gas-powered vehicles, forging ahead with a decision that’s drawn strong opposition from the…

New White House climate justice screening tool excludes race to avoid legal challenges, officials say

By Drew Costley  Photo: Carolyn Kaster   02/21/22  
The Biden administration on Friday released a screening tool to help identify disadvantaged communities long plagued by environmental hazards, but it won't include race as a factor in deciding where to devote resources.

Biden Administration Halts New Drilling in Legal Fight Over Climate Costs

By Lisa Friedman  Photo: Chris Carmichael , The New York Times   02/20/22  
The Biden administration is indefinitely freezing decisions about new federal oil and gas drilling as part of a legal brawl with Republican-led states that could significantly impact President Biden’s plans to tackle climate change.

US envoy warns geopolitics risk hurting climate efforts

By Frank Jordans  Photo: Tobias Hase , AP   02/19/22  
Geopolitical tensions, including the current crisis between Russia and Ukraine, could hamper international efforts to curb global warming even as time to tackle the problem is running out, U.S. climate envoy John Kerry said Friday.

Why the White House Never Released Its 2030 Climate Strategy

By Jean Chemnick , E&E News  Photo: Alex Wong , Getty Images   02/18/22  
The United States still owes the world details about how it plans to meet President Biden’s pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by the end of this decade.

Race Excluded as WH Rolls Out Climate Justice Screening Tool

By Associated Press  Photo: Carolyn Kaster , AP File Photo   02/18/22  
The Biden administration has released a screening tool to help identify disadvantaged communities long plagued by environmental hazards, but it won’t include race as a factor in deciding where to devote resources.

In their own words: Local leaders urge Congress to act on climate

By Lisa Frank   02/17/22  
“Climate change poses a very serious threat, but also a significant economic opportunity for our city and our nation. Fayetteville is committed to working with leaders of other cities, states, universities, and businesses to combat…

US overhauls review policy for gas pipelines, LNG

By Chris Knight   02/17/22  
The agency's Democratic majority voted 3-2 to approve two policies, one revising the agency's project certification process and another creating a new framework for scrutinizing greenhouse gas emissions. Together they mark the largest change in…

Fact Sheet | Updated Pipeline Certificate Policy Statement (PL18-1-000)

02/17/22  
The update of FERC’s 1999 Policy Statement on the certification of new interstate natural gas facilities provides a more comprehensive analytical framework for the Commission’s decision-making process. The policy statement includes the first revision in…

U.S. senator blocks Biden EPA nominees over carbon capture

By Timothy Gardner  Photo: Rod Lamkey/Pool via   02/17/22  
A Republican U.S. senator said on Wednesday he is blocking President Joe Biden's nominees for environmental regulatory positions in a bid to win permission for his state to regulate storage of the primary gas blamed…

The White House is going after one of climate change’s thorniest problems

By Robinson Meyer  Photo: The Atlantic   02/16/22  
It is one of the strangest feelings that modern transportation can afford: You’ve just gotten on a train and are gazing out the window. And then, slowly, the scene outside begins to move, and for…

EPRI, Battelle Announce Unique Research and Development Partnership to Accelerate Clean Energy Transition

By Battelle Media Relations   02/15/22  
Research and development powerhouses the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and Battelle are teaming up, announcing today a new partnership with industry and other key stakeholders to accelerate the demonstration and deployment of new low-carbon…

DOE will build nation’s first large-scale facility to turn fossil fuel waste into rare materials for tech

By Ella Nilsen   02/14/22  
The vast majority of critical minerals and rare earth elements that help power electric vehicles and wind turbines come from mining operations overseas. But a new initiative spearheaded by the US Department of Energy is…

U.S. Energy Dept to provide about $3 bln to boost production of advanced batteries

By Reuters  Photo : Mike Blake , Reuters   02/12/22  
The U.S. Energy Department said it intends to provide $2.91 billion to boost production of advanced batteries to grow clean energy industries, including electric vehicles, as directed in the infrastructure legislation.
CNN

US Army releases climate strategy to reach net-zero emissions by 2050

By Ellie Kaufman   02/08/22  
The US Army released its first climate strategy on Tuesday with goals to reduce the Army's greenhouse gas pollution by 50% by 2030 and attain "net-zero" emissions by 2050.

How The Pentagon and Partners Are Working Together to Combat Climate Change

By Joseph Gordon and Jack Greenberg  Photo: Carolene Brehman , Getty Images   02/04/22  
For years, the U.S. Defense Department has been advancing on another front that is critical to—but not often associated with—national security: conservation. In fact, the Pentagon, which oversees millions of acres of land and water,…

DOE Announces $420 Million to Advance Clean Energy Breakthroughs at Energy Research Centers Across America

01/13/22  
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced a $420 million funding opportunity for DOE’s Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRC). This funding will advance climate solutions through early-stage research on clean energy technology, advanced and…

DOE Invests $13.4 Million to Combat Plastic Waste, Reduce Plastic Industry Emissions

01/11/22  
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $13.4 million in funding for next generation plastics technologies that reduce the energy consumption and carbon emissions of single-use plastics. The seven selected research and development (R&D)…

DOE Establishes New Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations Under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

12/21/21  
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced the establishment of the Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations, a new DOE office that will help deliver on President Biden’s bold climate agenda, create new, good-paying jobs…

Federal Citations to the Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases

03/21/17  
Executive Order 12866 requires that federal agencies assess the cost and the benefits of intended regulations as part of their regulatory impact analyses (RIAs). The 1993 executive order stated