Before you do anything else, the EPA Climate Tracker is Back!!!

Cabinet

CABINET

President George Washington created the Cabinet by having meetings with three advisers, but James Madison gave the group its enduring name. Today, the President’s Cabinet has expanded from three to fifteen, including the Vice President. Cabinet members determine the order of succession should the President pass away or be unable to serve — the Secretary of State, for example, follows the Vice President, Speaker of the House, and President pro tempore of the Senate — but they are also heads of their own Executive Departments. Cabinet members are nominated by the President and require a majority vote from the Senate to be confirmed.

Examples include the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Energy, the Department of the Interior, and the Department of Transportation. The presidentially-appointed Secretaries of each Department develop, enforce, and oversee federal regulations. Because climate change touches every single aspect of our lives, the position of every government leader towards climate change has significant consequence; however, there are certain positions, like Head of the Department of Energy and the Department of Interior, where this connection is especially explicit.

It is for this reason that, on occasion, the relationship between a Cabinet member and private interests have drawn public ire. For example, it doesn’t sit well that Dan Brouillette, the Secretary of Energy under President Trump, was a former lobbyist for Ford Motor Company. Similarly, Secretary of the Interior, David Bernhardt, was a former lobbyist for oil and gas companiesThese conflicts of interest are undoubtedly connected to the approximately 100 environmental rollbacks that occurred under President Trump.

Most of these rollbacks came from the Environmental Protection Agency, then headed by Andrew Wheeler. While the EPA Administrator is not a part of the Cabinet, the position has Cabinet-level rank, and also has regulatory power. Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist, continued trends set by former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt (who was also appointed by Trump and one who does not believe in scientific evidence supporting climate change) to aggressively challenge Obama-era environmental regulations. As Gina McCarthy, head of the EPA under Obama vocalized, rollbacks that allow for increased pollution exacerbate the threat of Covid-19, particularly for marginalized populations who are more likely to live in areas with poor air quality and less likely to have access to health insurance.

Many of President Joe Biden’s climate team have been announced.

  • John Kerry has been, a cabinet level post named special presidential envoy on climate change with a seat on the National Security Council. Kerry helped write and steer the negotiation of the Paris Agreement, and the appointment signals Joe Biden’s commitment to the climate crisis.
  • Jennifer Granholm will be the Energy Secretary. A former governor of Michigan, she is currently teaching at UC Berkeley and will be the second woman to run the 14,000-employee department, long focused on maintaining the nation’s stockpile of nuclear weapons. She has long advocated for renewable energy sources.
  • Michael Regan will run the EPA, and will be responsible for crafting fuel-efficiency standards for the nation’s cars and trucks, overseeing emissions from power plants and oil and gas facilities, and cleaning up the country’s most polluted sites.
  • Deb Haaland, if confirmed, will be the Interior Secretary. Haaland, a member of the Pueblo of Laguna, will be in charge of an agency that has tremendous sway over the nearly 600 federally recognized tribes as well as over much of the nation’s vast public lands, waterways, wildlife, national parks and mineral wealth.
  • David Hayes, will be special assistant to the president for climate policy, coming to the Biden White House with a background in both the Obama and Clinton administrations, as deputy secretary at the Department of the Interior.
  • Brenda Mallory will be the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality, and  brings deep and versatile expertise working directly with communities and partners across the public and private sectors to solve climate challenges and advance environmental protection and environmental justice.
  • Gina McCarthy will be the first-ever National Climate Advisor. McCarthy will head up the newly formed White House Office of Climate Policy, where she will drive an “all of government” approach to combating climate change. A leading voice on climate and environmental issues for more than 30 years, she will oversee the National Climate Task Force, which President Biden created as part of a series of executive actions during his first week in office.
  • Ali Zaidi will be Deputy National Climate Advisor, Zaidi helped draft and implement the Obama-Biden Administration’s Climate Action Plan and negotiate the Paris Climate Agreement.

CURRENT NEWS

Biden-Harris Administration Announces $725 Million from President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda to Clean Up Legacy Pollution

06/05/24
The Department of the Interior today announced that nearly $725 million from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is available to 22 states and the Navajo Nation to create good-paying jobs and catalyze economic opportunity…
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‘New Territory’ for Americans: Deadly Heat in the Workplace

By Coral Davenport and Noah Weiland 05/25/24
For more than two years, a group of health experts, economists and lawyers in the U.S. government has worked to address a growing public health crisis: people dying on the job from extreme heat.
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EPA Formally Denies Alabama’s Plan for Coal Ash Waste

By Lee Hedgepeth 05/23/24
The federal agency says the state’s plan was not as protective as federal standards, allowing toxic waste to remain in unlined pits that may contaminate groundwater. Alabama officials say they will appeal.
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The U.S. just took its biggest step yet to end coal mining

By Maxine Joselow 05/16/24
In one of its biggest steps yet to keep fossil fuels in the ground, the Biden administration announced Thursday that it will end new coal leasing in the Powder River Basin, which produces nearly half…
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America’s Power Line Problems Just Got a FERC Fix

By Matthew Zeitlin 05/13/24
On the two ends of the energy transition, public policy is working to encourage more non-carbon-emitting electricity generation (think wind, solar, and batteries) and convert what was once powered by combustion in electric power (think…
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Biden Administration Moves to Speed Up Permits for Clean Energy

By Coral Davenport 04/30/24
The Biden administration on Tuesday released rules designed to speed up permits for clean energy while requiring federal agencies to more heavily weigh damaging effects on the climate and on low-income communities before approving projects…
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Energy Department finalizes rule to phase out fossil fuels in federal buildings

By Nish Amarnath 04/29/24
In a push for net-zero emissions from federal facilities by 2045, the new rule mandates a 90% reduction in on-site fossil fuel use by 2029 and complete elimination after 2030.
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Can Biden Ditch Coal Without Killing Coal Country?

By Emily Pontecorvo 04/26/24
There’s no question that coal is on its way out in the U.S. In 2001, coal-fired power plants generated about 50% of U.S. electricity. Last year, they were down to about 15%.
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The New EPA Power Plant Rules Are Out — and Could Change the Calculus for Gas

By Emily Pontecorvo 04/25/24
Utilities all over the country have proposed to build a slew of new natural gas-fired power plants in recent months, citing an anticipated surge in electricity demand from data centers, manufacturing, and electric vehicles. But…
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The White House Also Has Some Transmission News

By Matthew Zeitlin 04/25/24
The Environmental Protection Agency’s power plant rules were not the only big energy policy announcement from the Biden administration Thursday. The White House also announced a bevy of initiatives and projects meant to bolster infrastructure…
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New rules will slash air, water and climate pollution from U.S. power plants

By Maxine Joselow 04/25/24
The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday finalized an ambitious set of rules aimed at slashing air pollution, water pollution and planet-warming emissions spewing from the nation’s power plants.
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E.P.A. Severely Limits Pollution From Coal-Burning Power Plants

By Lisa Friedman and Coral Davenport 04/25/24
The Biden administration on Thursday placed the final cornerstone of its plan to tackle climate change: a regulation that would force the nation’s coal-fired power plants to virtually eliminate the planet-warming pollution that they release…
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KEY RESOURCES

Principles for Net-Zero Financing & Investment

09/25/23
In recent years, financial institutions — including over 100 U.S. firms1 — have independently made voluntary net-zero commitments. Successful execution of such commitments can help firms mitigate exposure to climate-related risk and unlock economic opportunities…

The Cost Of Climate Pollution

08/28/23
Climate change will have, and in some cases has already had, severe consequences for society. These consequences range from disruption of daily life to major physical destruction, including the spread of disease, decreased food security,…

Energy Earthshots Initiative

06/12/23
The climate crisis calls for a different kind of moonshot. Energy Earthshots™ will accelerate breakthroughs of more abundant, affordable, and reliable clean energy solutions within the decade. They will drive the major innovation breakthroughs that…

Report on the Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases

09/01/22
This report presents new estimates of the social cost of carbon (SC-CO2), social cost of methane (SC-CH4), and social cost of nitrous oxide (SC-N2O), collectively referred to as the “social cost of greenhouse gases” (SC-GHG).…

America’s Strategy to Secure the Supply Chain for a Robust Clean Energy Transition

02/24/22
Demand for clean energy technologies such as wind turbines and batteries for electric vehicles has increased significantly as technology costs have plummeted over the last decade and countries seek to diversify their energy systems with…

Investing in a Clean Energy Future: Solar Energy Research, Deployment, and Workforce Priorities

09/13/21
The immediate need for action on climate change has been made clear in the recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Limiting the rise in global temperatures would help avoid future catastrophic…

Climate Change Indicators in the United States

05/18/21
The Earth's climate is changing. Temperatures are rising, snow and rainfall patterns are shifting, and more extreme climate events – like heavy rainstorms and record high temperatures – are already happening. Many of these observed…

Vineyard Wind

05/16/21
The Departments of the Interior and Commerce announced the approval of the construction and operation of the first large-scale, offshore wind project in the United States, located offshore Massachusetts. The 800-megawatt Vineyard Wind energy project…

Climate Change Adaptation: Department of the Interior

03/02/21
The Department of the Interior (DOI) and many agencies within it, including the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation), National Park Service (NPS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and U.S. Geological…

Tracking turnover in the Trump administration

01/01/20
The rate of turnover among senior level advisers to President Trump has generated a great deal of attention. Below, we offer four resources to help measure and contextualize this turnover. The first set of resources…

The Cabinet

01/27/19
Established in Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution, the Cabinet’s role is to advise the President on any subject he may require relating to the duties of each member’s respective office.

MORE NEWS

Biden Shields Millions of Acres of Alaskan Wilderness From Drilling and Mining

By Lisa Friedman   04/19/24  
The Biden administration expanded federal protections across millions of acres of Alaskan wilderness on Friday, blocking oil, gas, and mining operations in some of the most unspoiled land in the country.
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Interior Said to Reject Industrial Road Through Alaskan Wilderness

By Lisa Friedman   04/16/24  
The Biden administration is expected to deny permission for a 211-mile industrial road through fragile Alaskan wilderness to a large copper deposit, handing a victory to environmentalists in an election year when the president wants…
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The SEC Climate Fight Enters a New Round

By Emily Pontecorvo   04/05/24  
The legal battle over the Securities and Exchange Commission’s new rule on climate-related disclosure has begun. On Thursday, the Commission issued a pause on the rule, which sets standards for publicly-owned companies to report their…
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Biden admin doles out $20B in “green bank” funding

By Ben Geman   04/04/24  
Biden officials just unveiled organizations that will receive $20 billion designed to flow into tens of thousands of clean energy and pollution-cutting projects nationwide. Why it matters: The "Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund" is the largest…
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Biden-Harris Administration Approves Eighth Offshore Wind Project

04/02/24  
The Biden-Harris administration today announced its approval of the New England Wind offshore wind project – the nation’s eighth approval of a commercial-scale, offshore wind energy project under President Biden’s leadership. With today’s approval, the…
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DOE Releases First Ever Federal Blueprint to Decarbonize America’s Buildings Sector

04/02/24  
The Biden-Harris Administration today released Decarbonizing the U.S. Economy by 2050: A National Blueprint for the Buildings Sector, a comprehensive plan to reduce greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions from buildings by 65% by 2035 and 90% by…
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IEA takes heat as GOP alleges shift from energy security

By Ben Geman   03/27/24  
Senior Capitol Hill Republicans are pressing the International Energy Agency for information on its analytical decisions, accusing the multilateral body of straying from its energy security mission. Why it matters: The GOP move elevates criticism…
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The Roadblocks to Biden’s Electric Vehicles Plan

By David Gelles   03/21/24  
The Biden administration rolled out new rules on Wednesday designed to thrust the United States — the greatest car culture the world has ever known — into the era of electric vehicles. With new tailpipe…
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Inside the Republican Attacks on Electric Vehicles

By Coral Davenport, Lisa Friedman and Jack Ewing   03/21/24  
The electric vehicle, a breakthrough achievement in automotive technology, has driven into this year’s presidential election, inflaming partisan fights that have come to define much of American culture.
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Biden seeks to accelerate the EV transition in biggest climate move yet

By Maxine Joselow   03/20/24  
The Biden administration finalized the United States’ toughest limits on planet-warming emissions from passenger cars and light trucks Wednesday, in a controversial bid to accelerate the nation’s halting transition to electric vehicles.
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BOEM Announces Environmental Review of Proposed Wind Energy Project Offshore New Jersey

03/15/24  
In support of the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of deploying 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management today announced it will initiate the environmental review of a…
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New York’s Empire Wind 1 Gets Federal Green Light for Grid Connection

03/13/24  
Equinor has received an approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to connect the Empire Wind 1 offshore wind project directly into the New York City’s transmission system.
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Why EPA can cut carbon pollution from power plants without sacrificing grid reliability

By Dena Adler and Jennifer Danis   03/07/24  
Roughly 1,800 regulators and other energy professionals gathered for the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ Winter Policy Summit last week where state and federal regulators had a lot to say about the clean energy…
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New rules will force U.S. firms to divulge role in warming the planet

By Maxine Joselow and Evan Halper   03/06/24  
Corporations will have to share key details about their role in driving climate change and the threat that warming poses to their operations under a contentious proposal the Securities and Exchange Commission approved 3-2 on…
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How a Climate Rule Got Watered Down

By David Gelles   03/05/24  
What should companies have to tell their investors about climate change risks? The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission will unveil its long-awaited disclosure rules tomorrow. They are expected to be much weaker, Reuters reported, than…
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Biden EPA Narrows Power-Plant Rule With Plan For Later Curbs on US Gas Fleet

By Jennifer A Dlouhy   03/01/24  
The Biden administration is narrowing the scope of its pending rule to cut greenhouse gases from the electricity sector as it develops a new initiative to set stronger pollution limits for natural gas plants.
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Biden Just Caved on a Bunch of Climate Rules. Or Did He?

By Emily Pontecorvo and Others   03/01/24  
Let’s start with a quick recap: In late-January, the Biden administration turned the energy world on its ear by announcing that it would pause approvals of new export facilities for liquified natural gas — a…
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Inside the E.P.A. Decision to Narrow Two Big Climate Rules

By Lisa Friedman   03/01/24  
Michael Regan, the E.P.A. administrator, said the Biden administration would meet its climate goals despite tweaking regulations on automobiles and power plants...
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The White House is delaying this key climate rule. Here’s why.

By Maxine Joselow   02/29/24  
The Environmental Protection Agency plans to delay final limits on planet-warming emissions from gas-fired power plants to significantly strengthen them, the agency announced Thursday.
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Why the SEC’s New Climate Rules Matter

By Emily Pontecorvo   02/26/24  
A new era of transparency for corporate sustainability is coming — finally. After two years of deliberation, the Securities and Exchange Commission is expected to issue a final rule requiring public companies to make climate-related…
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Exclusive: US regulator drops some emissions disclosure requirements from draft climate rules

By Chris Prentice, Isla Binnie, Jarrett Renshaw and Douglas Gillison   02/23/24  
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has removed some of its most ambitious greenhouse gas emission disclosure requirements from corporate climate risk rules it is preparing to adopt, people familiar with the matter said…
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BOEM finalizes two Oregon offshore wind energy areas with up to 2.4 GW in capacity

By Diana DiGangi   02/14/24  
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced Tuesday that it has made two final wind energy area, or WEA, designations offshore Oregon, totaling around 195,012 acres and offering up to 2.4 GW of potential capacity.
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U.S. Department of Energy Establishing National Center of Excellence to Accelerate Domestic Offshore Wind Industry

02/08/24  
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced it is investing $4.75 million to establish a new national center of excellence to accelerate reliable and equitable offshore wind energy deployment across the nation. The Academic…
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Biden Administration Toughens Limits on Deadly Air Pollution

By Lisa Friedman   02/07/24  
The Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday tightened limits on fine industrial particles, one of the most common and deadliest forms of air pollution, for the first time in a decade.
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Senate confirms head of EPA’s air office, key to Biden climate rules

By Maxine Joselow   01/31/24  
The Senate on Wednesday voted to confirm Joseph Goffman to lead the Environmental Protection Agency’s air office, which is racing to finalize some of President Biden’s most consequential climate rules before the end of his…
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2.6 GW Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Project Gets Final Federal Go-Ahead to Begin Construction

By Adnan Memija   01/30/24  
Dominion Energy has received the last two major federal approvals needed to begin construction of its 2.6 GW Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) project, located 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach in the…
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White House Said to Delay Decision on Enormous Natural Gas Export Terminal

By Coral Davenport   01/24/24  
The Biden administration is pausing a decision on whether to approve what would be the largest natural gas export terminal in the United States, a delay that could stretch past the November election and spell…
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DOE Invests $104 Million for Clean Energy Projects at Federal Facilities

By Sydney Leimbach   01/22/24  
The Department of Energy is investing $104 million in energy conservation and clean energy projects at 31 federal facilities across the United States.
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New EPA rule could save 4,200 lives a year. Industry warns it could cost Biden his reelection.

By Maxine Joselow   01/19/24  
The Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to significantly strengthen limits on fine particle matter, one of the nation’s most widespread deadly air pollutants, even as industry groups warn that the standard could erase manufacturing jobs…
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Oil and gas industry needs to let go of carbon capture as solution to climate change, IEA says

By Spencer Kimball   11/23/23  
The oil and gas industry needs to let go of the “illusion” that carbon capture technology is a solution to climate change and invest more in clean energy, the head of the International Energy Agency…
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Treasury floats tax lifeboat for struggling offshore wind

By Heather Richards and Brian Dabbs   11/17/23  
The Biden administration rolled out a major tax proposal Friday that offers hope to an offshore wind sector that’s been swamped in recent months by financial problems.
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Democrats tell DOE to reboot natural gas export reviews

By Carlos Anchondo   11/15/23  
The Department of Energy should update how it decides whether licenses for natural gas export projects are in the public interest, more than 60 Democratic lawmakers told the agency in a letter Tuesday.
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EPA to strengthen lead protections in drinking water after multiple crises, including Flint

By Michael Phillis And Mike Stobbe   10/29/23  
About four decades ago, when the Environmental Protection Agency was first trying to figure out what to do about lead in drinking water, Ronnie Levin quantified its damage: Roughly 40 million people drank water with…
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Old U.S. government buildings get a second life fighting climate change

By Maxine Joselow   10/12/23  
Robin Carnahan cruised a Ford F-150 electric pickup truck through a seemingly endless maze of federal buildings.
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Biden memo directs US agencies to restore ‘healthy and abundant’ salmon runs in the Northwest

By Matthew Daly   10/05/23  
In a move that conservationists and tribes called a potential breakthrough, President Joe Biden has directed federal agencies to use all available authorities and resources to restore “healthy and abundant” salmon runs in the Columbia…
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Biden approves new offshore oil leases, faces hits by both sides

By Timothy Puko   09/29/23  
The Biden administration said Friday it will approve just three offshore oil and gas lease sales through 2029 — the smallest offshore oil drilling plan in history and one designed to narrowly comply with limits…
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The Biden Administration’s Next Big Climate Decision

By Bill McKibben   09/22/23  
Earlier this year, the Biden Administration approved the Willow Project, a huge oil-drilling complex to be built in Alaska on thawing permafrost that may need to be mechanically refrozen before it can be drilled. Not…
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White House Directs Agencies to Account for Climate Change in Budgets

By Coral Davenport   09/21/23  
A directive issued on Thursday by the Biden administration would, for the first time, have federal agencies consider the economic damage caused by climate change when deciding what kinds of vehicles, equipment and goods to…
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Update needed for 1872 mining law to boost clean energy, report says

By Timothy Puko   09/12/23  
Because of a 151-year-old U.S. mining law, miners hold claims on federal land for years at little cost, work in secret and frequently submit incomplete plans to environmental regulators, according to a new report Tuesday…
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Electric cars have a road trip problem, even for the secretary of energy

By Camila Domonoske   09/10/23  
When Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm set out on a four-day electric-vehicle road trip this summer, she knew charging might be a challenge. But she probably didn't expect anyone to call the cops.
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Community Disaster Resilience Zones

09/08/23  
Community Disaster Resilience Zones will build disaster resilience across the nation by driving federal, public and private resources to the most at-risk and in-need jurisdictions.
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Biden Approved a Big Oil Project. Now, He’s Cracking Down on Drilling.

By Lisa Friedman   09/07/23  
President Biden’s decision on Wednesday to block drilling on millions of acres of Alaskan tundra was the latest in a series of aggressive actions recently taken by the administration to curtail fossil fuel extraction on…
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FEMA gives special status to 500 climate-vulnerable neighborhoods

By Thomas Frank   09/07/23  
Nearly 500 U.S. neighborhoods vulnerable to climate change have been selected to receive special help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and potentially other federal agencies, FEMA said Wednesday.
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Why Biden’s methane fee could backfire

By Maxine Joselow   09/07/23  
President Biden’s signature climate law, the Inflation Reduction Act, largely offers carrots for polluting industries to cut their emissions. But it also has a powerful stick: the Methane Emissions Reduction Program.
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U.S. bets it can drill for climate-friendly hydrogen—just like oil

By Eric Hand   09/07/23  
A dark horse concept in the race to develop clean and sustainable energy sources is getting its first major investment from the U.S. government. Today, the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), the high-risk, high-reward arm…
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Biden to block oil drilling in ‘irreplaceable’ Alaskan wildlands

By Timothy Puko   09/06/23  
President Biden moved Wednesday to protect more than 10 million acres of Alaska’s North Slope from development, barring oil drilling across giant swaths and canceling leases in the iconic Arctic National Wildlife Refuge issued under…
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FACT SHEET: Biden-⁠Harris Administration’s Latest Actions to Support Communities Impacted by Maui Wildfires

08/30/23  
Since the onset of the unprecedented wildfires on Maui, Hawaiʻi, President Biden launched a whole-of-government effort to support survivors and affected communities, and as soon as Hawaiʻi Governor Josh Green requested a Major Disaster Declaration,…
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Biden rule, heeding Supreme Court, could strip over half of U.S wetlands’ protections

By Allyson Chiu   08/29/23  
The Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday that it has revised a key rule to comply with a sweeping Supreme Court ruling from this year, which could strip federal protections from up to 63 percent of…
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More Than Half Of U.S. Wetlands Could Lose Protections As EPA Rolls Back Federal Rules

By Brian Bushard   08/29/23  
More than half of the country’s wetlands could lose federal protections after the Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday rolled back its definition of federal waters to comply with a momentous Supreme Court ruling in May—marking…
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FEMA allocates $3B for climate change as Congress stalls on disaster fund

By Jacob Knutson   08/28/23  
The Biden administration announced on Monday nearly $3 billion in funding for hundreds of communities across the U.S. to reduce their vulnerability to climate-change-influenced extreme weather events. Why it matters: The new money for resilience…
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