The following radio reports are done in partnership with Public News Service. Please click on the headline to read the entire article or on the highlighted “HERE” to listen to the report.

Offshore wind backers: Long-term benefits outweigh initial costs

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July 29, 2022   

As part of New York state’s climate goals, Gov. Kathy Hochul has announced the third competitive solicitation of offshore wind projects, with the hope of powering 1.5 million homes. This comes after Hochul committed $500 million to offshore wind development earlier this year.

The state’s goal is to develop 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035. However, it isn’t without cost to local communities, said John Polimeni, an associate professor of economics at Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

“With any new initiative, it is expensive to develop the ports,” he said. “If your port is not currently prepared for wind energy, you need to do some changes to the port to make it accessible and proper for wind energy.”

Inaction on climate change called an “unprecedented failure”

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By Mary Schuermann Kuhlman

July 28, 2022   

Calling it a “clear and present danger,” President Joe Biden announced new measures last week to make communities more resilient against climate change.

Environmental groups want the administration to declare a National Climate Emergency.

Tracy Sabetta, Ohio state field coordinator for Moms Clean Air Force, said the emergency declaration would allow Biden to use executive powers to combat climate change. “It’s an unprecedented failure to not invest in a safe and healthy Future for our kids,” Sabetta asserted. “The Biden administration must use every tool at their disposal to reduce climate pollution that is directly threatening our children’s health.”

Actions could include halting crude oil exports to reduce emissions and directing federal investments toward renewable energy projects.

Big Oil is keeping prices high as crude prices drop

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By Eric Galatas

July 28, 2022   

A new analysis shows big oil companies are much more reluctant to lower gasoline prices when crude prices drop than they are to raise prices when crude costs rise.

In one example documented by the group Accountable.US, when crude prices dropped by just over 1% in April, oil companies raised gas prices by nearly 2%.

Jordan Schreiber, energy and environment director for the group, said Wyoming consumers might expect prices at the pump to go down as the cost of crude oil drops, but gas prices remain stubbornly high. “We would hope that the American people who have been really having a tough time paying for gasoline over the last few months would see some price drops,” Schreiber noted. “But unfortunately, this is just another example of big oil really gouging folks at the pump.”

Report: Joining Regional Initiative (REGGI) could help NC meet climate goals

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July 25, 2022   

North Carolina wants to reduce carbon emissions from its power plants by 70% by 2030, but experts say the state is currently not on track to meet its goals.

new analysis found joining a group of states working collectively to cap emissions could help, while also increasing renewable-energy development.

Alex DeGolia, director of state legislative and regulatory affairs for U.S. Climate for the Environmental Defense Fund, explained the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative puts a price on carbon pollution. “So when a state joins, it works with the existing members of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to decide on a sort of statewide cap,” DeGolia explained.

He noted North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality is considering participation. The analysis showed a combined approach of joining the initiative, plus the passage of bipartisan energy legislation, could curb emissions three times greater than anticipated by 2030.

Offshore wind development coming to East Hampton, Long Island, NY

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July 20, 2022   

Amid record-setting heat waves and increased energy usage, New York is looking to offshore wind developments for a cleaner energy source.

The state has 50 so-called “peaker plants,” oil and gas-fired power plants operating when there is a larger energy demand.

The Town of East Hampton has been working since the mid-2010s to get its power elsewhere. Offshore wind energy should be a reality in 2024, with five turbines built 35 miles off Long Island.

Sylvia Overby, a member of the East Hampton Town Board, said the development is much-needed.

“The East End is growing, and we’ve had growth in the last ten years, between the census,” Overby observed. “We know that there’s more demand for electricity. And this is hopefully going to help us, as a township, meet our goal of 100% renewable energy.”

Courts asked to block oil and gas leases over health and climate

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July 18, 2022   

A new lawsuit hopes to reverse the Bureau of Land Managment’s recent approval of oil and gas lease sales on public lands across eight western states, including nearly 120,000 acres in Wyoming, in part to protect public health.

Melissa Hornbein, senior attorney with the Western Environmental Law Center, said regions surrounding federal oil and gas production face dangerous air quality issues – due to methane leaks, ground-level ozone, and toxic benzene released through flaring – that cause direct harm to human health. “There are higher incidences of things like cancer,” said Hornbein. “There are also much higher rates of things like childhood asthma, developmental impacts, maternal and fetal health impacts.”

The lawsuit claims the BLM failed to review the full climate impacts of the leases, including the bite that extracted oil and gas would take out of the remaining global carbon budget, the amount of climate pollution left to burn in order to keep temperatures at safe levels.

OR and NM elected officials and 550 other elected officials urge congressional climate action

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July 8, 2022   

Elected officials in Oregon and across the country are calling on Congress to speed up the transition to clean energy. At least 20 elected leaders in the state signed a letter to congressional leaders alongside 550 other officials across the U.S.

Rep. Paul Evans, D-Monmouth
, said passing the climate provisions in the Build Back Better bill is crucial, noting it is important to find a way to motivate people to understand the scale of climate change.

“We’re in the fight for the survival of our planet,” Evans emphasized. “You either get on the team or you need to find something else to do because it is our responsibility as human beings to ensure that we pass this planet on to the next generation and the generations that come with at least a possibility of having a livable, meaningful future.”

The letter pointed out renewable energy is key not only to save the planet but also so the country can gain energy independence, which it argued is important for national security. The Build Back Better legislation passed by the House has been stalled since last year. Republicans have opposed it, citing its price tag of $2 trillion over the next decade.

Rep. Debbie Sariñana, D-Albuquerque, an Air Force veteran and a state representative in New Mexico who signed onto the letter, said western states are facing a major crisis right now, with widespread drought, wildfires and water shortage. Sariñana stressed the Build Back Better Act would inject $555 billion into a clean, renewable infrastructure and create jobs.

“The legislation has been stalled,” Sariñana acknowledged. “But it’s not too late for the Senate to do the moral thing and join the majority of Americans in taking action against climate change and enacting legislation that will do so.”

Virginia Elected Officials, who are also veterans, call on U.S. Senate to pass climate actions

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July 7, 2022   

A coalition of elected officials from Virginia has joined a group of more than 565 elected leaders asking the federal government to accelerate the nation’s clean-energy transition.

The stalled Build Back Better act included several climate provisions advocates say would have created hundreds of thousands of new jobs.

In a conversation hosted by the group Elected Officials to Protect America, Loudoun County Supervisor Mike Turner, veteran, said federal funding would provide critical support for his county to implement new clean-energy initiatives.

“The portions of the Build Back Better act that address this would be absolutely instrumental,” said Turner, “$500 billion directed towards climate-change initiatives.”

Virginia activists: Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Essential

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June 30, 2022   

As Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin pushes forward on plans to withdraw the Commonwealth from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), environmental activists are raising concerns over the plan.

The multistate compact aims to reduce greenhouse-gas pollution through carbon allowances and capping carbon dioxide emissions. It also funds Virginia’s Community Flood Preparedness Fund, a program supporting strategies to mitigate and prevent flooding.

Andrea McGimsey, executive director of Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions, said pulling out of RGGI would end the initiative.

“Our rainfall is just getting a lot harder, we’re seeing these deluges like we’ve never seen before, and the science backs that up,” McGimsey pointed out. “Our communities are flooding more and more, and we need to prepare for that, because we know it’s going to get worse.”

Groups to rally Thursday at CA Capitol for climate-change progress

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June 22, 2022   

A big rally is planned for tomorrow (Thursday) in Sacramento on issues related to climate change. Advocates will urge the California Air Resources Board to reject any expansion of natural gas plants. and urge lawmakers to pass SB 1020, which would set near-term targets for 100% renewable energy. They also want Gov. Gavin Newsom to block any future oil and gas permits. Comments from Alex Walker-Griffin, vice mayor of the Bay Area town of Hercules (HER-cue-leez); from Dan Kalb, a member of the Oakland City Council and immediate past chair of the East Bay Community Energy Board; and Marisol Rubio, vice president of the Dublin-San Ramon Water District Board.

Groups fighting the effects of climate change will gather Thursday at the state Environmental Protection Agency building in Sacramento to call for action on multiple fronts.

Protesters want the California Air Resources Board, which meets Thursday, to reject a proposed 20-year scoping plan option that would allow new gas-fired power plants in the state.

Oakland City Councilmember Dan Kalb said he wants Gov. Gavin Newsom to push for a swift transition away from oil and gas.

“Elected officials from up and down the state are urging our good governor to stop issuing any new permits for fossil-fuel development,” he said, “and urge the passage, and then sign, SB 1020 when it gets to his desk.”

Senate Bill 1020, which will be heard today in the Assembly Committee on Utilities and Energy, would set interim goals toward getting 100% of the state’s power from renewable sources. Supporters of the oil and gas industry have said it provides thousands of jobs and should remain in California’s energy portfolio.

CA Offshore-wind backers press state to stop issuing fossil-fuel permits

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June 20, 2022   

Local elected officials are calling on Gov. Gavin Newsom to halt all permitting for future oil and gas projects, in light of recent progress with offshore wind.

The feds are getting ready to hold a lease auction in August or September for sites off Morro Bay to build floating wind turbines.

Andy Pease, a member of the San Luis Obispo city council, said the potential for offshore wind on the Central Coast and for Humboldt County is huge; enough to power 1.6 million homes.

“There’s no reason to be having new gas extraction permits or any fossil fuels,” Pease contended. “We need to leave those in the ground. We’ve got the capability. Let’s make it happen.”

Newsom has already pledged to cease all fracking permits by 2024. Groups fighting climate change would like him to take the next step and also block any expansion of oil drilling. Opponents want oil and gas to remain part of the energy mix and say jobs in the field are at risk.

Study: AZ can save billions by converting to Electric Vehicles by 2035

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May 31, 2022   

new report found by speeding up the timetable to fully adopt electric vehicles, Arizona could reap significant health and economic benefits in the decades ahead.

The study said by setting and meeting a goal of 100% all-electric new vehicles by 2035, Arizona would save billions of dollars and significantly reduce fossil-fuel pollution.

Alex Routhier, senior energy policy analyst for Western Resource Advocates, which developed the report, said policymakers need to rethink their goals for making Arizona carbon-neutral. “We found that when compared to a no-action scenario, kind of a ‘business-as-usual’ scenario, the pathway that we’re recommending shows about $13.7 billion annual savings for the state of Arizona by 2050,” Routhier reported.

On Memorial Day, veterans who are elected officials say battling climate change is key

Memorial Day, May 30, 2022

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This Memorial Day, state and local leaders are speaking out – calling climate change the battle of our time – crucial to national security.

Advocates are calling on President Joe Biden to invoke the Defense Production Act to speed up the transition to renewable energy and phase out dependence on fossil fuels.

Mayor Daniel Lee of Culver City is a veteran of the Air Force and the California Air National Guard who currently works as project director at the James Lawson Institute. He said the invasion of Ukraine is being financed by Russian oil and gas.

“The war in Ukraine is a resource war,” said Lee. “And the more the world doesn’t rely on Russian oil for electricity for heating or cooling, the less we are apt to engage in resource wars and the more we can slow down the effects of climate change.”

Elected Officials call on NY to pass All-Electric Building Act

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May 20, 2022   

New York elected officials are calling on the General Assembly to pass legislation to transition new buildings off fossil fuels, saying it would make the state cleaner and healthier.

The All-Electric Building Act would require new buildings to have all-electric appliances for space and water heating and cooking by 2023. It also would mandate state agencies to identify policies to make electricity more affordable and accessible for low-income residents.

Dominic Frongillo, co-Founder of Elected Officials to Protect America, said it is about saving lives and money.

“Right here in New York, air pollution from burning gas and buildings leads to about 1,000 deaths a year and most of those are in communities of color,” Frongillo reported. “It’s a real, real harm to our public health.”

IN officials ask public to weigh in on electric-vehicle infrastructure federal funds

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May 12, 2022   

Indiana is in line to receive about $100 million from the federal government to support new electric-vehicle infrastructure. State transportation officials are asking Hoosiers to weigh in on how that funding should be used.

At a virtual open house on the initiative Wednesday, Scott Manning – deputy chief of staff with the Indiana Department of Transportation – said the department hopes to receive input from a diverse range of folks.

“We’re very much interested,” said Manning, “in hearing from as many different stakeholders as we can that have an interest in electric-vehicle infrastructure and how this funding can provide benefit for EV users, but also for local communities from an economic-development standpoint.”

Court upholds trail-blazing ordinance to protect wildlife corridors

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May 3, 2022   

Animals such as the mountain lion, gray fox and California red-legged frog may now have a better shot at thriving in Southern California after a court victory left wildlife corridor protections in place.

A judge recently finalized two decisions that upheld two Ventura County ordinances regulating land use, lighting and fencing in areas considered vital to the animals’ passage.

Dennis Arguelles, Los Angeles program manager for the National Parks Conservation Association, said the ordinances are the first of their kind in the state.

“We think that what they proposed were just common-sense, very minimally intrusive measures, to make sure that we maintain that habitat connectivity,” Arguelles asserted.

New Mexico latest to consider adoption of clean car rules

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May 3, 2022   

New Mexico may soon join more than a dozen other states in adopting California’s clean car standards.

The statewide and Albuquerque environmental-air quality boards will hold a joint hearing beginning Wednesday on the proposed Clean Car Rule. As written, car dealers would need to sell a certain percentage of low- and zero-emission cars.

Tammy Fiebelkorn, New Mexico representative for the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, said if adopted, residents who drive an electric vehicle could benefit from cleaner air and also save money.

“There’s no oil changes, there’s no moving parts, there’s no maintenance schedule,” Fiebelkorn outlined. “It’s good for the environment, but it’s also really good for my pocketbook.”

Report: Low-Producing Oil, Gas Wells Make Up 50 percent of Methane Emissions

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April 25, 2022   

new study found low-producing oil and gas wells make up about half of potent methane emissions emitted from all well sites in the U.S. while accounting for just 6% of the nation’s oil and gas production.

Led by the Environmental Defense Fund, the report found an estimated 565,000 low-producing sites making less than 15 barrels of oil per day across the country, with a large number in Pennsylvania and the Appalachia region.

Mark Omara, senior analyst for the Environmental Defense Fund, said the high amount of leaking methane emissions, about four million metric tons annually, is a big concern for the climate. “This matters a great deal,” Omara stressed. “Because methane, which is the main component of natural gas, is such a powerful greenhouse gas, with its emissions into the atmosphere packs more than 80 times the global warming effect of carbon dioxide over the first 20 years following emissions.”

This weekend, Pennsylvania officially entered the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which puts a price on carbon, as the regulation was published in the state code. It is the first fossil fuel-producing state to join the program.

Elected Officials to Feds: Accelerate Clean Energy Transition

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By Jonah Chester

April 22, 2022

As folks across America celebrate Earth Day, nearly 500 lawmakers have signed a petition calling on the President and Congress to develop a Climate Emergency Plan to accelerate the country’s transition to clean energy.

Rep. Katrina Shankland, D-Stevens Point, one of the petition’s signers, said a speedy clean energy transition will create countless new jobs for Wisconsinites, a financial benefit which will help mitigate the cost of extreme weather events.

“Wisconsin has experienced 16 extreme weather events from 2010 to 2020, and that cost billions of dollars in damages,” Shankland pointed out.

President Biden has earmarked billions of dollars to fund green energy initiatives over the next several decades.

Montgomery County installs ‘Litter Trap’ to keep trash out of waterways

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April 14, 2022   

Montgomery County has installed its first-ever “litter trap,” which will capture trash and debris and prevent it from flowing downstream into the Anacostia River and eventually Chesapeake Bay.

Located in the Lockridge Drive Tributary, the floating trap is anchored to the banks and uses the stream current to guide the debris into it.

Ryan Zerbe, watershed outreach planner for the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection, said the litter trap is one way to keep Maryland waterways free of trash pollution. Plastic bottles make up 60% of all the trash found in other traps in the Anacostia River. “Any litter in our streams ends up going into our drinking water,” Zerbe pointed out. “And water treatment plants can only treat so many things. Unfortunately, until we change our behavior, we’ll need tools like trash traps to keep our streams clean, and the more we eliminate litter, the better.”

Report: IL Clean-Energy Plan to Spur Job Creation

April 11, 2022   

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“We can’t outrun or hide from climate change. There is no time to lose. Illinois is taking action in the fight to stop and even reverse the damage that’s been done to our climate.” With those words, Gov. JB Pritzker signed the state’s ambitious Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA) last fall.

CEJA aims to get the state to 100% clean energy by 2050. Not only does it address climate change, it also includes significant workforce development components, including an emphasis on building a more diverse workforce with equitable access to the skills needed to get green jobs.

“Illinois is a force for good, for an environmental future we can be proud of. With economic growth and jobs woven into its fabric, this new law is the most significant step Illinois has taken in a generation toward a reliable, renewable, affordable, and clean energy future in a generation,” the governor added.

“It used to be called the Rust Belt. [Illinois] is moving on an industrial scale from the past to the future by way of a green transition,” says Paula DiPerna, a consultant to WorkingNation on the green economy and a special advisor to CDP, a nonprofit that works with its members to manage their environmental impacts.

Elected official coalition and other groups press for drilling ban to weaken power of petro-states

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April 6, 2022

Climate activists are calling for a rapid shift away from oil and gas, as a way to reduce world dependence on the fossil fuels that prop up the Russian regime and its war in Ukraine. Rallies are set for Friday in 10 cities across California, from Sacramento to San Diego.

Ukrainian immigrant Igor Tregub, chair of the California Democratic Party Environmental Caucus and former Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board member, said the country must stop the importation of any Russian fossil fuels.

“We vote with our dollars,” he said, “and no longer rely on authoritarian petro-states that murder citizens of neighboring democratic countries.”

CA updates climate adaptation strategy in wake of new IPCC climate crisis report

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April 5, 2022   

State and international reports on the effects of climate change are out this week, urging government efforts fighting climate change to speed up significantly if the world is to avoid the worst effects, from megafires and drought, to sea level rise and floods.

In a report released Monday, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said countries need to cut carbon emissions by 43% in the next eight years.

Lauren Sanchez, senior climate adviser to Gov. Gavin Newsom, said California is taking a “whole-of-government approach.”
“The world’s leading climate scientists have made it clear,” Sanchez asserted. “Our window to avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis is narrowing faster than expected, and success requires unprecedented collective effort and transformational change.”

Veterans who are elected officials ask Biden to invoke the Defense Production Act for renewable energy

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March 24, 2022   

As gas prices across the country are at record levels due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis, elected officials who are also military veterans are calling on the Biden administration to invoke the
Defense Production Act to accelerate a clean-energy transition.

The rise in gas prices is connected to the ban on the importation of Russian oil as a result of Vladimir Putin’s assault on Ukraine.

Joel Hicks, a city council member in the Borough of Carlisle and a 20-year Navy veteran, said during a news conference hosted by Elected Officials to Protect America, U.S. dependence on foreign oil is a threat to national security and to the planet.

“The only way to free democratic countries from the grip of autocratic oil-producing nations is to accelerate this transition,” Hicks argued. “To free ourselves from the corrupt nature that petrostates yield and wield as we see quite dramatically in the last several weeks.”

Hicks added his also supports the Build Back Better Act’s clean-energy provisions, which include $555 billion for renewable energy and clean transportation incentives.

Virginia elected officials who are veterans urge Biden Administration to push forward on clean energy with DPA

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March 24, 2022   

As the war in Ukraine continues to unfold, a national coalition of elected officials is urging the Biden administration to expedite the nation’s plans to divest from fossil fuels.

The group Elected Officials to Protect America, which includes lawmakers in Virginia, is pushing the president to invoke the Defense Production Act to accelerate the country’s transition to clean energy.

Derrick Wood, mayor of Dumfries, said in a news conference with elected military veterans this week by permanently cutting off a key source of income for Russia, America could both aid Ukraine and develop its own energy infrastructure.

“Once we cut off that fossil-fuel need, the ones who aren’t our allies, we’ll begin to hit them in the pocketbook pretty heavy,” Wood explained. “And a lot of people will start to see they don’t need dependency on fossil fuels.”

AZ lawmaker who is a veteran, with coalition urges Biden to expedite transition to clean energy with DPA

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March 24, 2022   

As prices at the pump hit record-highs, a coalition of elected officials is asking President Joe Biden to invoke the Defense Production Act to accelerate the nation’s transition to clean energy.

The Act, which is employed during times of crisis, allows the federal government to expedite the manufacturing of certain goods.

Rep. Richard Andrade, D-Phoenix, speaking at a discussion hosted by Elected Officials to Protect America earlier this week, argued while gas companies continue to profit over spiking gas prices, working families are feeling the pinch.

“When energy costs go up, who absorbs it? We do,” Andrade pointed out. “Working families absorb the higher energy costs, and we’re seeing that today.”

Clean-Energy Advocates: fossil fuel reliance fuels soaring gas prices

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March 21, 2022   

As Pennsylvania residents are feeling pain at the pump amid the Ukraine-Russia crisis, clean-energy advocates say it is a prime example of why the country needs to find more sustainable energy sources beyond oil and gas.

The rise in gas prices is connected to the ban on the importation of Russian oil as a result of Vladimir Putin’s assault on Ukraine.

Rep. Joe Webster, D-Montgomery, said although Russian oil makes up only about 4% of daily oil usage in the U.S., it still has a global impact. Webster argued the volatility of the market combined with nations using it as a tactic against Putin speaks to the need for the U.S. to move toward energy sources such as solar and wind. “If you realize fossil fuels are the funding source for Putin’s war in Ukraine, in the short term and in the long term, solutions to our crisis right now and the gas prices begin with reducing our reliance on fossil fuels,” Webster contended.

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