Protecting our clean air and water is challenging work. At the beginning of the year, the Biden administration promised significant change concerning green initiatives. It now seems it will be challenging for Biden to keep those promises to Americans.
In January, President Biden ordered the suspension of new oil and gas leases on federal land. It only took a matter of weeks for hurdles to block the action. In March, Louisiana’s Republican Attorney General, Jeff Landry, filed a lawsuit against the suspension. According to critics of the President’s action, the Administration failed to complete required comment periods and other bureaucratic procedures before enacting the moratorium. The government insists that leases are up to the discretion of the Administration and not subject to those rules.
Another campaign promise Biden made was to cease drilling for oil and gas on U.S. public lands. No changes have occurred to date, and in fact, the approvals provided by the Interior Department for drilling on public and tribal lands surpassed the 2,500 mark in the first six months of his Presidency. At this rate, an estimated 6,000 permits will be issued in 2021, which will be the most issued in a single year since 2008.
Several conditions are making environmental change difficult for Democrats in office. Legislation to curb harm to our environment is seen as radical and dangerous by many Republican peers, making forward movement and bipartisan support impossible. Gas prices took a sharp rise in 2021 after the airline industry rebounded from a stagnant “shelter-at-home” 2020 year. Inflation is rising prices at the check stand and the pump for Americans, but fears are being kept at bay because the stock market and our economy are robust. Putting legislation in place that could potentially hinder domestic oil production would inevitably negatively affect many coastal communities where jobs are supported by the industry and lead to even higher gasoline prices.
What can we do to make progress amidst these challenges?
It can be easy to lose sight of solid and forward-moving efforts by communities and corporations nationwide despite the lack of legislative support. For example, many large organizations are leading the way by using solar technology to power corporate centers and manufacturing hubs, adopting zero-emission fleets, choosing recycled materials for packing and shipping materials, and improving manufacturing processes to protect surrounding waterways.
The financial industry is also receiving pressure to adopt “green principles.” Banks have an enormous amount of ability to impact change by deciding where to invest their funds. Climate advocacy groups are pushing banks to amend their policies to direct investments to funds supportive of alternative energy and green initiatives. All financial institutions also have the ability to support local organizations using or manufacturing green technology and are encouraged to provide affordable financing for them to help promote development and growth.
All of us can help keep our air and water clean. By purchasing products from companies using green processes, we vote with our dollars to support these activities. Most of us can implement green initiatives in our homes–by using solar energy, recycling actively, driving electric or hydrogen-powered vehicles, and not purchasing products in single-use plastic containers. Every action we implement helps.
Do you want to keep up-to-date with clean air and water initiatives?
The Rogue Valley Clean Cities Coalition’s mission is to enhance the livability of the Rogue Valley. We promote and educate on alternate fuels, seek to decrease dependency on petroleum, and promote clean air and water in the Rogue Valley via alternate fuels. Contact us today for more information!