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 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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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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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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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

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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Natural disasters aren’t going anywhere. FEMA is stepping up to tackle them

By Ayesha Rascoe   08/27/23  
Natural disasters are intensifying and happening more often. NPR's Ayesha Rascoe talks with former FEMA administrator Craig Fugate about the agency's role in the worsening climate crisis.
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API, State of Louisiana, Chevron U.S.A. Inc. Challenge Lease Sale 261 Final Notice of Sale

08/24/23  
The American Petroleum Institute (API) today joined with the State of Louisiana and Chevron U.S.A. Inc. in filing a challenge to the Department of the Interior (DOI) Bureau of Ocean Management’s (BOEM) Final Notice of…
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New gas pipeline rules floated following 2018 blasts in Massachusetts

By The Associated Press   08/24/23  
Federal regulators are proposing a series of rules changes aimed at toughening safety requirements for millions of miles of gas distribution pipelines nationwide following a string of gas explosions in Massachusetts in 2018.
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BOEM Identifies Draft Wind Energy Areas Offshore Oregon for Public Review and Comment

08/15/23  
As part of the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030 and 15 gigawatts of floating offshore wind by 2035, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) today…
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Utilities say they want clean energy. So why are they opposing Biden’s plan?

By Sammy Roth   08/10/23  
The Rosemead-based electric utility — which serves 15 million people and, full disclosure, buys ad space in this newsletter — got 45% of its power from climate-friendly sources last year and has called for an…
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Extreme heat is the deadliest natural disaster. FEMA can’t treat it like one

By Ella Nilsen   08/08/23  
Extreme heat is far deadlier than other natural disasters, killing on average more than twice as many people each year as hurricanes and tornadoes combined, according to data tracked by the National Weather Service.
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The Biden Administration Wants To Boost Fuel Efficiency To 58 MPG By 2032

By Alan Ohnsman   07/28/23  
The U.S. Transportation Department on Friday unveiled a proposal that would require the fuel efficiency of the average new passenger vehicle to be at least 58 miles per gallon in less than a decade, building…
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Biden-Harris Administration Proposes to Improve Air Pollution Emissions Data

07/25/23  
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced proposed updates to the Agency’s Air Emissions Reporting Requirements rule, including proposing to require reporting of hazardous air pollutants, or “air toxics.” Air toxics are known or suspected…
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EPA Proposes to Streamline Requirements for States and Tribes, Strengthen Co-Regulator Partnerships to Protect Nation’s Waters

07/19/23  
Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a proposed rule that would streamline and clarify the requirements and steps necessary for states and Tribes to administer programs protecting waterways from discharges of dredged or…
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FEMA set to run out of money before peak hurricane season

By Jacob Knutson   07/15/23  
The federal government's disaster relief fund is on pace to run out of money at the height of both the hurricane and wildfire seasons, a top official warned this week. Why it matters: Government funding…
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How Exxon’s $4.9B deal to buy Denbury may reshape the emerging carbon capture landscape

By Amanda Drane   07/14/23  
Exxon Mobil's plan to buy Plano-based Denbury hastens the supermajor's plans to develop a carbon capture hub along the Gulf Coast and positions it as a global leader in the emerging carbon capture industry, analysts…
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USDA launches effort to upgrade climate data tracking

By Ellyn Ferguson   07/12/23  
The Agriculture Department will use $300 million to improve its measurement, verification and tracking of carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions as it moves ahead with climate-smart agriculture and forestry efforts, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack…
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U.S. Department of Agriculture to invest $300 million in monitoring agricultural emissions

By Melina Walling   07/12/23  
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Wednesday that his department will invest $300 million to improve the measurement and reporting of planet-warming emissions by the country’s agriculture and forestry sectors.
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How $90 million could help U.S. buildings withstand climate disasters

By Maxine Joselow   07/12/23  
When Hurricane Ida battered Louisiana, strong winds ripped the roofs off tens of thousands of homes. But today, the Biden administration is hoping a simple fix could save homes in that state — and others…
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U.S. truckmakers reach deal to phase out polluting diesel big rigs

By Timothy Puko   07/06/23  
Some of the largest manufacturers of heavy trucks and engines in the country have agreed to accept a California plan to ban sales of new diesel big rigs by 2036 under a deal aimed in…
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Biden approved the largest offshore wind project in the US to date

By Ananya Bhattacharya   07/06/23  
The Biden administration just approved the biggest offshore wind project in the US. Located about 13 nautical miles southeast of Atlantic City, the Ocean Wind 1 project offshore New Jersey will have a capacity of…
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U.S. EPA Launches $7 Billion Program To Bring Solar Energy to Low-Income Households

By ESG News   06/29/23  
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched a $7 billion grant competition through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to increase access to affordable, resilient, and clean solar energy for millions of low-income households. Residential…
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Pressure builds for FEMA to declare deadly heat events as disasters

By Kate Selig   06/29/23  
Extreme heat kills more people than nearly every other weather event combined. But does the government respond to these potentially lethal events as they do with hurricanes and floods? Not yet. A disaster declaration by…
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Remarks By Assistant Secretary For Financial Institutions Graham Steele At Event Hosted By The Brookings Institution’s Assessing Insurance Regulation And Supervision Of Climate-related Financial Risk

06/28/23  
As the Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions, my portfolio includes developing the Department’s policy views on banks, credit unions, consumer protection, access to capital, and financial sector cybersecurity matters. My remarks will focus on the…
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Oil Lobby Pushed Pollution Loophole for Wildfire Smoke

By Rebecca Burns   06/09/23  
Climate change is intensifying toxic wildfires, but Big Oil has pushed to exempt the resulting pollution from federal air quality standards.
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NorthWestern seeks PSC help in fighting tougher pollution laws

By Tom Lutey   06/08/23  
Worried about Colstrip Power Plant being able to pass tougher mercury and toxic air emissions standards, NorthWestern Energy is asking its state regulator to lobby the EPA against tighter pollution controls.
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US Interior boosts investment in plugging orphaned oil, gas wells on public lands

By Jasmin Melvin   06/08/23  
The Biden administration is stepping up efforts to advance environmental justice through the cleanup of toxic, legacy pollution sites, announcing a near doubling of investment this fiscal year to $64 million to plug, remediate and…
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Clean Fuels & Products Shot™: Alternative Sources for Carbon-based Products

05/30/23  
To significantly reduce the negative impacts of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) from carbon-based fuels and products critical to our way of life, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) launched the Clean Fuels & Products ShotTM.…
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Supreme Court weakens EPA power to enforce Clean Water Act

By Robert Barnes and Others   05/25/23  
The Supreme Court on Thursday cut back the power of the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate the nation’s wetlands, another setback for the agency’s authority to combat air and water pollution.
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Major polluter escapes EPA power plant rule

By Benjamin Storrow   05/25/23  
The agency goes easy on gas-fired steam turbines, which generally operate only when demand is high. But the units are among the country's largest emitters of planet-warming pollution.
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DOE Launches New Energy Earthshot to Decarbonize Transportation and Industrial Sectors

05/24/23  
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced the launch of the Clean Fuels & Products ShotTM, a new initiative that aims to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) from carbon-based fuels and products critical…
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Biden seeks to tighten regulation of toxic power plant coal waste dumps

By Timothy Puko   05/17/23  
Scores of power plant coal waste landfills, previously exempted from EPA oversight, would be regulated under a proposed rule
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Funding carbon removal in FY24

By Alyson Lee   05/16/23  
The federal government’s annual appropriations process is central to our efforts to fund carbon dioxide removal (CDR). Each year, Carbon180 submits requests to various congressional offices to help guide where next year’s dollars will flow.…
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A swaggering clean-energy pioneer, with $400 billion to hand out

By Brad Plumer and Lisa Friedman   05/12/23  
The hotel ballroom was packed before breakfast as Jigar Shah took the stage at the oil and gas industry’s annual conference in Houston this spring. The host joked he was confident a huge crowd would…
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The U.S. is taking a giant step toward meeting its climate goal

By Timothy Puko   05/11/23  
The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday announced a proposal for the tightest limits ever on power plants’ planet-warming pollution, a policy it must enact to meet President Biden’s pledge to halve U.S. emissions by 2030…
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EPA says pollution limits proposed for U.S. coal, gas power plants reflect climate crisis ‘urgency’

By Matthew Daly   05/11/23  
The Biden administration proposed new limits Thursday on greenhouse gas emissions from coal- and gas-fired power plants, its most ambitious effort yet to roll back planet-warming pollution from the nation’s second-largest contributor to climate change.
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Want fiscal responsibility? Stop paying wealthy farmers.

By The Editorial Board   05/04/23  
Though major inefficiencies and inequalities persist in how the United States distributes food, its fantastically productive agricultural sector has conquered the problem of supplying it. The most recent data from the Agriculture Department shows that…
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These 7 States Are Banning New Gas-Powered Cars

By Dan Avery   05/04/23  
Starting in 2035, California will prohibit the sale of new gas-powered cars. A measure approved by the California Air Resources Board requires all new cars, SUVs and pickup trucks sold in the state to generate…
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After Dangling Climate Carrots, Biden’s EPA Brings The Sticks

By Alexander C. Kaufman   04/24/23  
New regulations at the Environmental Protection Agency aim to set requirements so tough, power plants turn to carbon capture and carmakers roll out more EVs. Eight months ago, President Joe Biden signed into law one…
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US solar boom on hold as industry awaits subsidy rules

By Joe Lo   04/24/23  
U.S. President Joe Biden’s plan to challenge China’s dominance in solar panel manufacturing hinges in large part on rules his administration will soon release defining what it means for a product to be American-made, according…
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EPA plan would impose drastic cuts on power plant emissions by 2040

By Timothy Puko   04/22/23  
The Biden administration is preparing to unveil a proposal to require power plants to drastically reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions by 2040, another attempt to regulate one of the country’s biggest contributors to climate change after…
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E.P.A. to Propose First Controls on Greenhouse Gases From Power Plants

By Coral Davenport and Lisa Friedman   04/22/23  
President Biden’s administration is poised to announce limits on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants that could compel them to capture the pollution from their smokestacks, technology now used by fewer than 20 of the…
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