AP Interview: EPA head removes Trump-era science advisers
Reganis taking steps to restore what he calls scientific integrity at the EPA. “Scientific integrity is a foundational value for EPA,'' Regan said. He said that “is very true," but added that "underpinning that is the importance of scientific integrity and transparency here at the agency. The actions we’re taking are indicative of how serious we are about repairing the scientific integrity at EPA.'' The overhaul announced Wednesday ousts more than 40 members of the two science advisory boards, including some whose terms do not expire this year.
US infrastructure gets C- from engineers as roads stagnate
In its “Infrastructure Report Card” released Wednesday, the group called for “big and bold” relief, estimating it would cost $5.9 trillion over the next decade to bring roads, bridges and airports to a safe and sustainable level. AdFour areas got Cs: bridges, which dropped from a C+ to a C in 2021, energy, drinking water and solid waste. Ad“This report card is a warning and a call to action,” Buttigieg told The Associated Press. In its report card, the group said years of inaction has had consequences. AdAccording to the report card, the nation is only paying about half of what it needs to lift overall U.S. infrastructure to an acceptable “B” level.
Airline CEOs, Biden officials consider green-fuel breaks
Airline officials are talking to the Biden administration about support for incentives to use cleaner fuels for airplanes. United Airlines said CEO Scott Kirby asked administration officials to support incentives for sustainable aviation fuel and technology to remove carbon from the atmosphere. A United Nations aviation group has concluded that biofuels will remain a tiny source of aviation fuel for several years. Some environmentalists would prefer the Biden administration to impose tougher emissions standards on aircraft rather than create breaks for biofuels. “We stand ready to work in partnership with the Biden administration.”
White House climate czar to AP: Texas storm 'a wake-up call'
In an interview with The Associated Press, Gina McCarthy said Friday that the storm that devastated Texas and other states “is not going to be as unusual as people had hoped. It is going to happen, and we need to be as resilient and working together as much as possible. McCarthy said she expects an “after-action” report on the Texas crisis and ways it can be avoided in the future. AdTexas is not connected to the rest of the nation's power grid, and McCarthy said the storm may be reason to rethink that. The aggressive plan is aimed at slowing human-caused global warming that is magnifying extreme weather events such as the Texas storm and deadly wildfires in the West.
Biden EPA nominee vows 'sense of urgency' on climate change
(Caroline Brehman/Pool via AP)WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden's nominee to run the Environmental Protection Agency pledged Wednesday to “move with a sense of urgency on climate change” and other priorities, while working with lawmakers from both parties to protect the environment. AdRegan, who has served as top environmental regulator in North Carolina since 2017, would be the first African American man to run the EPA. Regan told senators he learned the importance of preserving the outdoors while hunting and fishing with his father and grandfather in rural North Carolina. Regan told Capito he anticipates “healthy debates” on a variety of issues, adding that he reports to the president, not White House advisers. In a related development, Jennifer Granholm, Biden's nominee to be energy secretary, won approval from the Senate energy panel Wednesday.
Biden introduces his climate team, says 'no time to waste'
President-elect Joe Biden announces his climate and energy team nominees and appointees at The Queen Theater in Wilmington Del., Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020. The incoming Biden team will try to undo or block many of the current administration’s initiatives. In his remarks, Biden stressed the diversity of an emerging team that he described as “brilliant, qualified, tested and they are barrier-busting." The nominees Biden introduced Saturday had compelling personal stories that they cited as guiding them if confirmed by the Senate. Two other members of the team introduced Saturday do not need Senate confirmation.
Deal-makers and fighters make up Biden's new climate team
Progressives, energy lobbyists, environmental groups and auto workers welcomed Biden’s choice of popular former Mayor Pete Buttigieg as transportation secretary. The president-elect planned to introduce his climate team at an event Saturday in Wilmington, Delaware. Among those on his climate team, Granholm as Michigan's governor helped nudge auto workers toward accepting a switch to production of more electric vehicles. Also helping drive Biden's plan will be McCarthy, who as EPA head under President Barack Obama pushed for landmark rules to cut planet-warming pollution. The climate effort laid out in Biden's plan would take a series of heavy lifts.
Biden picks deal-makers, fighters for climate, energy team
Biden is expected to pick his former rival Pete Buttigieg as secretary of transportation and Granholm as energy secretary. Progressives, energy lobbyists, environmental groups and auto workers on Wednesday welcomed Biden’s choice of popular former Mayor Pete Buttigieg as transportation secretary. Jennifer Granholm for energy secretary and former Environmental Protection Agency chief Gina McCarthy as leader of domestic climate efforts also were met with general applause. Among those on his climate team, Granholm as Michigan's governor helped nudge auto workers toward accepting a switch to production of more electric vehicles. The climate effort laid out in Biden's plan would take a series of heavy lifts.
The Latest: Biden announces Buttigieg as transportation pick
President-elect Joe Biden speaks at a drive-in rally for Georgia Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)WASHINGTON – The Latest on President-elect Joe Biden (all times local):7:55 p.m.President-elect Joe Biden has formally announced former rival Pete Buttigieg as his pick to be secretary of transportation. ___1:30 p.m.President-elect Joe Biden says he’s spoken with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell after the Electoral College affirmed his victory Monday. ___8:40 a.m.Two foreign leaders who had not congratulated President-elect Joe Biden have now done so. ___7:30 a.m.Top U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci says President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris should be vaccinated for COVID-19 as soon as possible.
EPA chief pledges more cleanups, less focus on climate
Environmental Protection Agency chief Andrew Wheeler on Thursday defended the Trump administration's record on protecting the nation's air and water and said a second term would bring a greater focus on pollution cleanups in disadvantaged communities and less emphasis on climate change. Some of the nation's bedrock environmental laws, such as the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act, were enacted during his administration. Wheeler, an EPA and Senate staffer in the 1990s and a former coal industry lobbyist, said the agency had accomplished much. "Americas environment today is cleaner than its ever been in our lifetimes, he said, adding that during the Trump administration, air pollution has fallen while Superfund cleanups have accelerated and EPA programs have pumped $40 billion into clean-water infrastructure upgrades. Instead of confusing words with actions, and choosing empty symbolism over doing a good job, we can focus our attention and resources on helping communities help themselves, Wheeler said.
6 former EPA bosses call for agency reset after election
FILE - In this Sept. 21, 2017, file photo, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Building is shown in Washington. Six former Environmental Protection Agency chiefs are calling for an agency reset after President Donald Trumps regulation-chopping, industry-minded first term. The group is presenting a detailed action plan drafted by former EPA staffers for whoever wins the Nov. 3 presidential election. Most living former EPA heads joined in Wednesday's appeal, with Trumps first EPA chief, Scott Pruitt, being the notable exception. The group said the road map was meant to guide whatever administration the Nov. 3 presidential election puts in place, although many of the proposals are implicitly or explicitly critical of Trump EPA actions.
Azar leads highest-level US delegation to Taiwan in decades
TAIPEI U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar arrived in Taiwan on Sunday in the highest-level visit by an American Cabinet official since the break in formal diplomatic relations between Washington and Taipei in 1979. Beijing has already protested Azars visit as a betrayal of U.S. commitments not to have official contact with the island. China claims Taiwan as its own territory, to be brought under its control by military force if necessary. Azar is the first health secretary to visit Taiwan and the first Cabinet member to visit in six years. That, in turn, has increased already considerable bipartisan sympathy for Taipei in Washington and prompted new measures to strengthen governmental and military ties.