Biden and Dems Brings New Energy to Climate Crisis
Positive Start, But We Need to Keep the Pressure On
One reason for optimism rests with President Biden’s key climate appointments as part of his promise to make climate change a top priority. A majority are Obama Administration veterans. They include John Kerry as Special Envoy on Climate Change; Gina McCarthy as head of a new White House Office of Climate Policy, Jennifer Granholm as Energy Secretary and Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM) as the first Native American Interior Secretary. (Granholm and Haaland await full Senate confirmation).
Biden inspired more climate optimism on Day 1 of his administration, rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement, terminating construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, issuing a moratorium on drilling leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and ordering the review of more than 100 environmental rules and regulations that ex-President Trump weakened or rolled back entirely.
A week later, on what the new administration dubbed Climate Day, Biden instructed the federal government to pause and review all oil and gas leases on federal land, eliminate fossil fuel subsidies, and transform the government’s vast car and truck fleet into electric vehicles. He also pledged to put climate change at the center of all U.S. government policies, and pay special attention to environmental justice.
Despite these promising steps—and a Democratic Party sweep of the two Senate seats in Georgia (yay!) to eke out a one-vote majority for Democrats in the upper chamber—we’ll need to fight hard for climate wins given slim margins in both houses of Congress. Especially since Democrats have close ties to the fossil fuel industry, which won’t stop its efforts—and neither can we!
To that end, we’re excited to be building a new federal Legislative Committee to join with our experienced state Legislative Team. We’re training more volunteers and will identify some priority federal climate actions to work on early in the new Biden Administration. There is a lot to do! We’ll be telling you more about this soon and how you can help.
Here are 2 actions you can take right now!
In Solidarity and Action,
Dean, Kathy and Clair, Legislative Team
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