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.

To some, VA gas shortage spotlights need for electric vehicles

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May 14, 2021

RICHMOND, Va. – As gas stations in Virginia wait for refueling after the Colonial Pipeline shutdown, advocates of electric vehicles say the gas shortage highlights the need to diversify America’s energy system.

The pipeline is the Southeast’s primary source of fuel, so this week’s cyberattack on it has disrupted daily life for millions.

Harry Godfrey – executive director of the group Virginia Advanced Energy Economy – said some folks couldn’t get to work or get kids to school, and points to the vulnerability of a fossil-fuel transportation system because of its reliance on oil, a single source.

Godfrey said an electric system draws power from multiple sources and can bounce back more readily from a breakdown. “From wind and solar generators, from nuclear plants, from hydro,” said Godfrey, “a whole range of resources so that you’re not overly reliant upon one individual fuel source. I think that reduces not just the risk of failure but the risk of, you know, sudden price spikes that we’re seeing occur now.”

Fishing to play key role in next decade of Maine conservation efforts

The Interior Department’s “America the Beautiful” report outlines key principles to guide the next decade of conservation efforts.

May 12, 2021

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BRUNSWICK, Maine — Members of the Maine fishing industry are among those looking forward to having a seat at the table, to make progress toward the White House’s goal to protect 30% of U.S. ocean waters by 2030.

The U.S. Interior Department released its “America the Beautiful” report last week, which outlines steps to restore biodiversity, curb climate change and increase access to natural spaces.

Ben Martens, executive director of the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association, said it’s important to bring together different stakeholders, including the fishing industry, to make decisions such as where and when to designate protected marine areas. “Fishermen are the best conservationists that we have,” Martens contended. “They need fish in the oceans to make a living. They need more fish in the oceans to build a future.”

Groups urge Governor Polis to support major climate bill

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May 11, 2021

DENVER — Environmental groups are urging Gov. Jared Polis to support a major climate bill pending in the Colorado Legislature.

Senate Bill 200, which aims to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and increasing environmental justice, would set caps on emissions for various business sectors and give an Air Quality Control Commission the power to enforce them.

Ean Tafoya, Colorado field advocate for the nonprofit GreenLatinos, said it also would establish an environmental justice ombudsperson and advisory board to listen to the perspectives of front-line communities feeling the effects of the climate crisis. “Rural communities that are on the front line are facing wildfires, drought, crop loss and irregular crop seasons,” Tafoya explained. “If you live in an urban setting, the impacts are air pollution, and we’re seeing the connections to COVID.”

It also would classify greenhouse-gas emissions as regulated pollutants, thus requiring businesses to pay fees for emitting carbon dioxide like they do for other pollutants.

Conservationists praise Biden’s Bureau of Land Management pick

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May 10, 2021

DENVER — President Joe Biden’s pick to direct the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is getting high marks from conservationists.

Aaron Kindle, director of sporting advocacy for the National Wildlife Federation, believes Tracy Stone-Manning, currently the federation’s senior advisor, is the right person for the job.

There hasn’t been a Senate-confirmed BLM director since 2017, and Kindle said the agency needs someone who understands what needs to be done to conserve, restore and steward America’s public lands for all users.

“Responsible energy development, hunters and anglers, hikers, agricultural businesses that rely on the area for grazing,” Kindle outlined. “We need somebody who understands all those things and is ready to work with all of those folks to get the job done.”

CA clean-Air advocates press to end oil, gas drilling faster than Newsom wants

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April 29, 2021

KERN COUNTY, Calif. — Environmental-justice advocates are calling on Gov. Gavin Newsom to wind down oil and gas drilling in California by 2035, instead of by 2045 as he proposed.

Last week, Newsom announced the state will work to end all fossil-fuel extraction and will stop issuing permits for fracking by 2024.

Salvador Solorio-Ruiz, a member of the city council in Delano, said the communities of color living near the wells in Kern County need relief sooner rather than later.

“It doesn’t have to be this way,” Solorio-Ruiz asserted. “We need to tackle this issue with urgency in order to end California’s legacy of environmental racism as well.”

WI lawmaker: Biden Climate Plans will help Agriculture, Clean-Job Training

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April 27, 2021

STEVENS POINT, Wis. — A number of elected leaders in Wisconsin have publicly supported the latest climate plans from the Biden administration, and a state lawmaker from the central region hopes it can boost training for clean-energy jobs while protecting agriculture.

As part of his vision to drastically cut greenhouse-gas emissions, President Joe Biden aims to create ten million new clean-energy jobs.

Rep. Katrina Shankland, D-Stevens Point, where the Midwest Renewable Energy Association is located, said organizations like it will play a key role in helping displaced workers transition to careers in wind and solar. “And I think that they would play a key role in enhancing workforce training, skilling up workers in this economy,” Shankland stated.

She pointed out having a local group train these workers not only benefits central Wisconsin, but the entire state and Midwest region as well. Shankland suggested it puts residents in a better position to be hired for renewable-energy work.

With NC native heading EPA, local officials build on renewed climate focus

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April 27, 2021

DURHAM, N.C. — North Carolina leaders said the state is well-positioned to tackle climate change while boosting local economies, especially with support from the Biden administration.

Last week, President Joe Biden and climate envoy John Kerry hosted a world leaders summit to recommit the U.S. to taking action on global warming and clean energy.

Rep. Zack Hawkins, D-Durham, pointed out native North Carolinian and former secretary of the state Department of Environmental Quality Michael Regan now oversees the federal Environmental Protection Agency. “We’re poised to move forward over the next few years in ways we have not been able to even under the Obama administration,” Hawkins explained. “There’s so much more data available.”

Rural areas in Alaska and other states that need stable jobs could benefit from the Biden climate plan

Listen to the podcast HERE.

April 26, 2021

Listen to  Alaska Anchorage Assemblyman Felix Rivera talk about the potential in clean energy to grow the economy in his state as climate change threatens livelihoods. This is a podcast of the daily news brief from PNS Public News. We work with PNS to amplify our climate news. The daily news brief also covers a surge in COVID-19 cases is hitting hard in India, and President Biden pledges raw materials for vaccines. Please listen here.

Climate Summit holds promise of jobs

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April 26, 2021

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Last week’s Climate Leaders Summit emphasized fighting climate change as an economic opportunity, and state leaders say that means investments and jobs in Pennsylvania.

At the conclusion of the virtual summit of more than three dozen world leaders, President Joe Biden stressed the massive investments necessary to fight climate change will help restore an economy ravaged by COVID-19 and create thousands of new, good-paying jobs.

U.S. Rep. Susan Wild, D-Pa., pointed out in an online news conference Biden’s American Jobs Plan (AJP) calls for investments and tax credits that could create many of those jobs in Pennsylvania.

“By manufacturing electric cars, electrifying public transit vehicles, and paving the way for a clean energy economy, that creates jobs while fighting climate change,” Wild contended.

Biden’s climate plans would bolster Virginia clean-energy jobs

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April 26, 2021

RICHMOND, Va. — With President Joe Biden’s virtual climate summit over, Virginia environmentalists say the president’s clean-energy actions and American Jobs Plan would boost employment and economic development for climate work already under way in the state.

Last year, Virginia lawmakers passed the Clean Economy Act, which aims for zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Last week at the summit, Biden announced the U.S. would cut greenhouse-gas emissions in half by 2030.

Harry Godfrey, executive director for Virginia Advanced Energy Economy, thinks the two pledges would supercharge job growth in clean-energy sectors such as transportation. “Provisions like the $174 billion toward transportation, electrification in the American Jobs Plan can really help to enhance our efforts to deploy the infrastructure to decarbonize and move from diesel school buses over to electric school buses and to steadily electrifying the passenger fleet,” Godfrey outlined.

WI officials see opportunities under Biden Climate Plans

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April 26, 2021

WESTON, Wis. — On the heels of last week’s global climate summit, elected officials in Wisconsin are looking to see how a changing federal tone can help the state. They say their areas can play a role, too.

President Joe Biden is pledging to cut U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions in half by 2030. The administration also stresses a boost in clean-energy jobs as part of the effort.

Nathan Fiene, village trustee in Weston in north-central Wisconsin, said the economy and climate issues are interlinked. “A lot of our manufacturing and agricultural industry that has sustained our state for so long is changing,” Fiene observed.

He pointed to plants linked to air pollution that are closing and taking jobs with them. He is also concerned about factory farms not embracing sustainable agriculture. Fiene believes Biden’s push for a new version of the Civilian Conservation Corps could put people back to work while making his area more climate resilient. Senate Republicans say states dependent on oil production will suffer under Biden’s approach, while objecting to tax increases on corporations to pay for plans laid out in the proposed infrastructure package.

Virginia officials embrace Biden’s Climate-Change Initiatives

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April 23, 2021

RICHMOND, Va. – With President Joe Biden pledging to cut U.S. greenhouse gas pollution in half by 2030 at the close of his global climate summit, Virginia officials say they’re eager to work with a federal ally who prioritizes climate solutions.

During the Trump administration, Mike Turner – Ashburn district supervisor in Loudoun County – said he continued clean-energy efforts, despite the lack of federal support.

Last year’s passage of Virginia’s Clean Economy Act, which requires zero carbon emissions by 2050, motivated Loudoun County to step up its initiatives. Turner said together, the two guidelines are setting a course for a greener Virginia with more economic growth. “I know the president’s Global Climate Summit focuses on a lot of initiatives that Virginia can take real advantage of,” said Turner. “All of these are going to create jobs. The key to this whole thing is exactly what the president is focused on, and exactly what Governor Northam and our board here in Loudoun County is focused on – jobs.”

Federal legislation would help Maine keep common wild species natural

FUNDING FROM THE RECOVERING AMERICA’S WILDLIFE ACT COULD HELP PROACTIVE EFFORTS TO PROTECT THE MAINE MOOSE POPULATION, THE OFFICIAL STATE ANIMAL.

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April 23, 2021

AUGUSTA, Maine – Maine conservation groups say the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, just introduced in Congress, would not only help the state help conserve its wildlife populations, but create jobs and improve the outdoor experience for Mainers and tourists.

The bill would allocate almost $1.4 billion for states, territories and tribes to implement their own wildlife action plans. It includes roughly $11.5 million for Maine.

Commissioner Judy Camuso of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife said they’ve identified 378 at-risk species in the state. “One of the primary goals of this is to keep common species common,” said Camuso. “Keep our biodiversity intact, and our systems healthy, and so that we don’t have to list species moving forward.”

Colorado officials welcome US government back as climate partners

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April 22, 2021

BASALT, Colo. — As President Joe Biden meets with world leaders on Earth Day to reaffirm America’s commitment to addressing climate change, Colorado officials say it’s good to have the federal government back as a partner.

Steve Child, a member of the Pitkin County Board of Commissioners, believes Biden’s American Jobs Plan will help the state ensure a just transition for fossil-fuel sector workers. Biden’s plan also directs at least 40% of investments to communities of color and others disproportionately impacted by pollution.

“We need to put the money on the main street here by getting jobs to those people who really need the jobs,” Child contended. “I think it’s important to target different disadvantaged populations.”

Child noted Colorado mostly ignored what was happening in the nation’s capital over the past four years to make change locally. He cited Holy Cross Energy’s move away from coal as one example. Nearly 40% of the electricity it delivers to mountain towns now comes from renewable sources, and the company said it will reach 100 percent by 2030.

Michigan welcomes federal unity on climate change

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April 22, 2021

LANSING, Mich. — President Joe Biden’s global climate summit could be a turning point in the fight for climate action.

Forty heads of state are expected at the virtual event today, which coincides with Earth Day.

Along with re-establishing the U.S.’ role as a global climate leader, Biden is expected to announce emission-reduction targets that are expected to create new jobs, cut carbon pollution and expand clean energy.

Simone Lightfoot, a former board member of the Ann Arbor Public School Board of Education and an Air Force veteran, is excited states such as Michigan will have a federal partner working together to create a clean-energy economy. “We haven’t always had the cleanest industries that have funded our state,” Lightfoot observed. “They’ve been quite high-pollutant industries, if you will. And so it’s important, of course, that we make that transition. Yes, there’s the need, and I think all of us agree: The ‘how’ is what requires all hands on deck.”

Ahead of Earth Day Climate Summit, Mainers call federal action long overdue

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April 20, 2021

AUGUSTA, Maine — President Joe Biden convenes a virtual climate summit with world leaders on Thursday, Earth Day.

He is also expected to unveil a new emissions-reduction target for the Paris Agreement, as well as pledge money to help countries with fewer resources than the U.S. combat climate change.

John Baldacci, Maine’s former governor, 2nd district Congressman and Bangor city council member, said Biden’s climate agenda would make a big difference in the state.

He pointed out Maine is poorer than the national average, has lost many manufacturing jobs to overseas and is in great need of high-paying union jobs. “Asthma is a big issue in terms of the ozone that comes into our state from the Midwest power plants,” Baldacci remarked. “So we try to recognize that health care and clean energy are tied together, from the air we breathe and the water we drink.”

Biden Climate Summit could bring jobs, infrastructure to Utah, U.S.

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April 19, 2021

SALT LAKE CITY — When President Joe Biden hosts a virtual summit on Earth Day, he’s not only seeking to engage world powers on environmental issues, but to reestablish federal partnerships with Utah and other states.

The president has invited 40 global heads of government to participate in the Leaders Summit on Climate, which starts Thursday.

In addition to reasserting America’s climate-change leadership on the world stage, he wants to help states reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and build a clean-energy economy.

Sen. Derek Kitchen, D-Salt Lake City, believes the effort will benefit Utahns in many ways.

“It’s important to know that it puts Utah and the United States more broadly back in the driver’s seat, by reestablishing clean energy, and job creation and climate action,” Kitchen asserted. “I think that this economic priority is setting us on a course for massive economic growth down the road. So, this is a good thing.”

PA’s policies play major role as U.S. convenes Global Climate Summit

The Biden administration’s American Jobs Plan would invest in creating good-paying, clean-energy jobs in Pennsylvania. (Sabrina/Adobe Stock)

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April 19, 2021

HARRISBURG, Pa. — President Joe Biden convenes a virtual Leaders Summit on Climate this week, putting the U.S. back into a leadership role after four years when states were leading the way.

Forty world leaders are invited to participate in the summit, which starts Thursday.

Biden also wants to reestablish the federal partnership with state and local leaders to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build out clean-energy infrastructure.

Jesse Barlow, president of the State College Borough Council, noted Gov. Tom Wolf is pushing to have Pennsylvania join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a multi-state effort to cut carbon emissions from the power sector. “It’s extremely important, because Pennsylvania is basically a polluter state,” Barlow explained. “And so, joining it would be a big deal and would help Pennsylvania on the road to reducing its carbon footprint.”

The Leaders Summit on Climate will focus on the urgency of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and the economic benefits of transitioning to clean energy, including job creation.

California’s McCloud River among “most endangered” in U.S.A.

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April 14, 2021

REDDING, Calif. – The 2021 top 10 list of America’s “Most Endangered Rivers” is out – and the McCloud River in Shasta County is number seven.

The report from the group American Rivers noted the McCloud is threatened by a 40-year-old plan that had been revived by the Trump administration to raise the Shasta Dam by more than 18 feet. Caleen Sisk, chief of the Winnemem Wintu tribe, said that would flood 5,000 acres upstream on the McCloud and drown 39 sites sacred to her people.

“Winnemum Wintu people still go to the ceremonies, and go to the sacred places to pray and carry on the traditions,” she said. “We’ve lived there for thousands of years, and so we have very deep-rooted connections to the river.”

CA lawmakers tackle energy, environmental justice issues

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April 13, 2021

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Two bills to combat pollution from the oil and gas industry will get hearings today in Sacramento, but clean-air advocates say they don’t quite go far enough.

The state Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water will consider Senate Bill 47, which would greatly expand the funding for plugging old wells.

Carmen Ramirez, Ventura County Supervisor, said the abandoned sites are a threat to public health. “Abandoned wells could leach into the ground and potentially hurt our ability to drink the water that we depend on,” Ramirez contended.

The committee will also consider Senate Bill 467, which would halt new permits for fracking starting next year and ban it altogether as of 2027.

Coastal resilience goal of new North Carolina program

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April 2, 2021

RALEIGH, N.C. — Twenty-five coastal communities will have money from the state to better prepare for natural hazards. The funding is geared to drive better-informed decision making at the local level and initiatives that reduce risk and vulnerability to flooding, storms and other effects of climate change.

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Coastal Management announced March 17 a total of $675,000 would be granted through the new Resilient Coastal Communities Program, launched in the fall to provide technical and financial help to governments in the state’s 20 coastal counties to develop resilience efforts. The application deadline was Jan. 15.

“We wish we had the funding to have accepted all interested communities into the program, but we hope to secure additional funding to offer another round of Phase 1 and 2 funding in the future,” Sam Burdick, coastal resilience coordinator with the Division of Coastal Management, recently told Coastal Review. The division received 30 applications representing 32 coastal communities – one application was submitted by three communities – for the first two phases of grant funding.

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