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.

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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