Category Archives: Environment

FACT SHEET: President Biden Marks Earth Day 2024 with Historic Climate Action

On Earth Day, President Biden is  traveling to Prince William Forest Park in Triangle, VA, a national park system site developed by FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps, to announce $7 billion in awards through EPA’s Solar for All program and unveil major steps to advance the American Climate Corps. This Fact Sheet outlining President Biden’s historic climate actions was provided by the White House :

Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante, and Northeast Canyons are among the 41 million acres of public lands which President Joe Biden has protected, including lands sacred to Tribal peoples, and has set a target of protecting 30 percent of land by 2030. On Earth Day, the Biden Administration announced a rule requires the Bureau of Land Management, which oversees 245 million acres of public land, that conservation and recreation —of natural habitat, cultural resources, recreation areas—be on equal footing with resource extraction in granting licenses © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

When President Biden took office, he pledged to restore America’s climate leadership at home and abroad. On his first day in office, the President signed the United States back into the Paris Agreement. And each day since, the Biden-Harris Administration has continued to lead and deliver on the most ambitious climate agenda in history, including securing the largest ever climate investment and unleashing a clean energy manufacturing boom that has attracted hundreds of billions in private sector investment and created over 270,000 new clean energy jobs. The President’s agenda is also advancing environmental justice and ensuring that the benefits of climate investments reach overburdened communities, mobilizing the next generation of clean energy workers through the American Climate Corps, and delivering historic investments in our nation’s climate resilience. At the same time, the Administration is protecting America’s natural wonders, conserving more than 41 million acres of lands and waters.  

Building on his climate, clean energy, and environmental justice agenda, President Biden will travel today to Prince William Forest Park in Triangle, Virginia, to celebrate Earth Day 2024, and highlight his Administration’s unprecedented progress in tackling the climate crisis, cutting costs for everyday Americans, and creating good-paying jobs.

Expanding Access to Affordable Solar Energy

The President will announce $7 billion in grants through the Environmental Protection Agency’s Solar for All grant competition, a key component of the Inflation Reduction Act’s $27 billion Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. Selectees under the Solar for All program will serve every state and territory in the nation and deliver residential solar power to over 900,000 households in low-income and disadvantaged communities, saving overburdened households more than $350 million in electricity costs annually – approximately $400 per household – and avoiding more than 30 million metric tons of carbon pollution over the next 25 years.

The selectees will provide funds to states, territories, Tribes, municipalities, and nonprofits across the country to develop long-lasting solar programs that enable low-income and disadvantaged communities to deploy and benefit from distributed residential solar. In total, solar projects funded by this program will create nearly 200,000 jobs. The program also advances the President’s Justice40 Initiative, which set a goal that 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal climate, clean energy, affordable and sustainable housing, and other investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution.   

Mobilizing the Next Generation of Climate Leaders through the American Climate Corps

Joined by future members of President Biden’s American Climate Corps, including current AmeriCorps members, President Biden will also announce several new actions to stand up the American Climate Corps – a groundbreaking initiative modeled after FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps that will put more than 20,000 young Americans to work fighting the impacts of climate change today while gaining the skills they need to join the growing clean energy and climate-resilience workforce of tomorrow. The President will announce these actions at Prince William Forest Park, a national park system site developed by FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps and stewarded by the Department of the Interior’s National Park Service.

Nearly a century after FDR established the Civilian Conservation Corps, President Biden will announce today that Americans can now apply to join the American Climate Corps through a newly launched website, ClimateCorps.gov. The website will feature nearly 2,000 positions located across 36 states, DC, and Puerto Rico. These positions are hosted by hundreds of organizations advancing clean energy, conservation, and climate resilience. The website, which is launching in its beta form, will be regularly updated with new American Climate Corps positions. Its goal is to make it easy for any American to find work tackling the climate crisis while gaining the skills necessary for the clean energy and climate resilience workforce of the future. The first class of the American Climate Corps will be deployed to communities across the country in June 2024.

The Biden-Harris Administration is also announcing a new partnership with the North America’s Building Trades Unions’ nonprofit partner TradesFutures. Beginning this summer, every American Climate Corps member will have access to TradesFutures’ industry leading apprenticeship readiness curriculum during their term of service in the American Climate Corps, providing members with the opportunity to be trained in the foundational skills necessary for careers in the clean energy and climate resilience economy and putting them on a pathway to good paying, union jobs.

Many American Climate Corps members will also have access to a streamlined pathway into federal service after a recent update to modernize the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s Pathways Programs. The update will expand applicant eligibility for the Recent Graduates program to include individuals who have completed qualifying career or technical education service within designated American Climate Corps programs.

Today, three states – Vermont, New Mexico, and Illinois – are launching new state-based climate corps programs, building on 10 states that have already launched successful climate corps programs, demonstrating the power of skills-based training as a tool to expand pathways into good-paying jobs. These states will work with the American Climate Corps as implementing partners to ensure young people across the country are serving their communities, while participating in paid opportunities and working on projects to tackle climate change.

Additionally, beginning as a collaboration between the Department of the Interior, the Energy Communities Interagency Working Group, and AmeriCorps VISTA, a new interagency public private partnership – Energy Communities AmeriCorps – will place American Climate Corps members in priority energy communities across the country. The program will help support community-led projects, including environmental remediation, in the places that have powered our nation for generations.

Conserving America’s Lands, Waters, and Wildlife

These announcements come on the heels of a series of major conservation actions by the Biden-Harris Administration. Just last week, the Department of the Interior published a final rule to maximize protections of significant surface resources such as irreplaceable wildlife habitat for caribou and migratory birds on more than 13 million acres in the western Arctic while supporting subsistence uses and needs of Alaska Native communities. This action brings the number of acres of America’s lands and waters conserved under President Biden to 41 million. Additionally, the Interior Department released a final environmental analysis last week recommending denial of a right of way for the Ambler Road project; the proposed road, which would cross more than 200 miles of pristine lands, would have significant impacts on caribou and other subsistence resources upon which more than 60 Alaska Native communities rely.

In addition to these landmark conservation announcements in Alaska, the Interior Department released a rule to help guide the balanced management of all 245 million acres of America’s public lands that are overseen by the Bureau of Land Management. The rule will help to ensure the BLM continues to protect land health while managing other uses of public lands, such as clean energy development and outdoor recreation.

Throughout Earth Week, the Biden-Harris Administration will announce additional actions to build a stronger, healthier future for all: Tuesday will focus on helping ensure clean water for all communities; Wednesday will focus on accelerating America’s clean transportation future; Thursday will focus on steps to cut pollution from the power sector while strengthening America’s electricity grid; and Friday will focus on providing cleaner air and healthier schools for all children.

Biden-Harris Administration’s Top Climate Accomplishments

Deploying Clean, Affordable Electricity and Strengthening America’s Power Grid – 
President Biden has secured unprecedented investments in a clean power sector, unleashing a boom in American solar, wind, battery storage, and other clean energy technologies that are creating good-paying jobs and saving families money on utility bills. Through the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, U.S. solar generation is projected to increase up to eight-fold and wind generation is projected to triple by 2030. President Biden has jumpstarted the U.S. offshore wind industry, with 10 gigawatts of commercial-scale projects now approved, enough to power nearly four million homes, including two projects that are already delivering power to the grid and others with construction underway. The President’s Investing in America agenda is also supporting transmission buildout and other power grid upgrades, deployment of distributed energy resources in disadvantaged communities, investments in clean electricity across rural America, and American manufacturing of clean energy technologies – all in pursuit of the President’s goal of 100% clean electricity by 2035. Through the President’s Federal Sustainability Plan, the U.S. Government is leading by example and has already signed agreements to provide federal facilities in 18 states with 100% carbon pollution-free electricity by 2030.

And thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, clean energy project developers get access to expanded tax incentives if they pay workers prevailing wages and employ registered apprentices, helping make more clean energy jobs good-paying and union jobs.

Bolstering Climate Resilience and Adaptation – President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is building communities that are not only resilient to the impacts of the climate crisis, but also safer, more equitable, and economically stronger. To support this vision, the President secured more than $50 billion for climate resilience and adaptation through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act and released the first ever National Climate Resilience Framework. The President’s investments are upgrading aging roads and bridges, including critical evacuation routes, providing tax credits for families to weatherize their homes, restoring critical waterways, forests, and urban greenspaces, supporting resilient and climate-smart agriculture, bolstering water infrastructure and drought resilience across the American West, protecting federal assets from future flood riskmodernizing our electric grid, and funding research to develop the latest energy-storage technologies here in America.

Accelerating a Clean Transportation Future – President Biden is taking a whole-of-government approach to position the U.S. as a global leader in innovative and sustainable transportation.  The Administration’s National Blueprint for Transportation Decarbonization is a landmark strategy for cutting all greenhouse gas emissions from the U.S. transportation sector by 2050. The President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act invest tens of billions to decarbonize shippingtruckingtransitrail, and aviation, all while making communities more walkablebikeable, and connected. And through the President’s Federal Sustainability Plan, the federal government has ordered over 58,000 zero-emission vehicles and has begun installing more than 25,000 charging ports, adding to the 8,000 already in use across the government.

In addition, the President rallied automakers and autoworkers around a historic goal of having electric vehicles (EVs) account for at least 50% of new passenger vehicles sold by 2030. To support this goal while driving down consumer costs, the Administration secured tax credits that reduce the cost of new or used clean vehicles by thousands of dollars directly at the dealership and is investing $7.5 billion into building out a national EV charging network. Since President Biden took office, EV sales have quadrupled, prices have come down by more than 20%, the number of charging stations has grown by over 80% – putting us on track to deploy 500,000 chargers by 2026 – and the U.S. auto industry has added more than 100,000 jobs. Driven by Biden-Harris Administration policies, the sector is experiencing a manufacturing renaissance with more than $160 billion of investments in EVs, batteries, and their supply chains. And just last month, the Environmental Protection Agency finalized the strongest-ever vehicle emission standards for light, medium, and heavy-duty vehicles.

Cutting Energy Costs and Pollution at Homes, Schools, and in Communities – Reducing building emissions through efficiency improvements and electrification lowers energy bills for families, improves resiliency, and creates good-paying jobs. The President has created new programs to save American families on their energy bills through the Department of Energy’s Home Energy Rebates, the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Green and Resilient Retrofit Program, and Treasury’s Home Energy Tax Credits. The Biden-Harris Administration is also strengthening energy efficiency standards to save households and businesses money, with standards updated by DOE for dozens of appliances expected to provide nearly $1 trillion in consumer savings over 30 years, while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2.5 billion metric tons – equivalent to the emissions of 18 million gas-powered cars over 30 years. By invoking emergency authority, the President is expanding domestic heat pump manufacturing, which will cut the costs of heat pumps. To ensure that the 10 million new homes that will be built by 2030 are efficient and resilient, President Biden’s National Initiative to Advance Building Codes is accelerating adoption of modern building codes that protect people from extreme-weather events and help contribute to avoiding an estimated $1.6 billion a year in damages.

Revitalizing American Manufacturing for the Clean Economy – President Biden’s Investing in America agenda has helped catalyze historic manufacturing growth, with factories opening across the nation. To date, the private sector has announced nearly $700 billion in investments in manufacturing and clean energy. The President’s agenda is helping to make U.S. manufacturing the cleanest and most competitive in the world. The Inflation Reduction Act is investing more than $6 billion to slash climate pollution and support worker and community health at U.S. factories producing the steel, aluminum, cement, and other materials that form the backbone of our economy. To further support U.S. industrial competitiveness, the Biden Administration’s landmark Buy Clean initiative is leveraging the government’s sway as the largest purchaser on Earth to spur demand for low-emissions manufacturing and construction products.

Repowering EnergyCommunities – The Biden-Harris Administration is deploying programs to build capacity and spur economic development in the communities that powered our nation for generations, such as the clean manufacturing investments in the Qualifying Advanced Energy Project Credit (48C) Program and DOE’s Advanced Energy Manufacturing and Recycling Grants Program, in addition to ARC’s Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative and EDA’s Assistance to Energy Transition Communities. In addition, new bonus tax credits in President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act are incentivizing clean energy companies to expand access to good-paying jobs in energy communities across the nation.

Advancing Environmental Justice –  Since Day One, the Biden-Harris Administration has prioritized a whole-of-government approach to environmental justice. The President signed a historic Executive Order that calls on the federal government to bring clean energy and healthy environments to all and mitigate harm to those who have suffered from pollution and environmental burdens like climate change. Through the Justice40 Initiative, over 500 programs across 19 federal agencies are being reimagined and transformed to maximize the benefits of President Biden’s unprecedented investments – from clean energy projects to floodwater protections to wastewater infrastructure – to communities that need them most. At the same time, the Administration is taking unprecedented action to protect communities from PFAS pollutionaccelerate Superfund and brownfield cleanupstighten standards for hazardous air pollutants, and enhance air quality enforcement.

Delivering Clean Water and Replacing Lead Pipes – President Biden and Vice President Harris are fighting to ensure a future where every American has access to clean, safe water. The President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests over $50 billion in upgrading the nation’s water infrastructure – the largest investment in clean water in American history. This funding is going towards expanding access to clean drinking water, replacing lead pipes, improving wastewater and sanitation infrastructure, and removing PFAS pollution in waterPresident Biden has also made a historic commitment to replace every toxic lead pipe in the country within a decade, protecting families from lead poisoning that can irreversibly harm brain development in children. Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency issued proposed improvements to the Lead and Copper Rule that would require water systems to rapidly replace lead service lines.

Conserving our Lands and Waters –The Biden-Harris Administration has taken historic action to conserve and restore America’s lands and waters, including signing an Executive Order to set the first-ever national conservation goal to conserve at least 30% of U.S. lands and waters by 2030 through the America the Beautiful Initiative. Last week the Administration launched Conservation.gov and the American Conservation and Stewardship Atlas, a new website and data portal that will help connect people with information, tools, resources, and opportunities to support land and water conservation projects in communities across the country. The Administration has already protected more than 41 million acres of lands and waters, and President Biden is on track to conserve more lands and waters than any President in history. This includes establishing five new national monuments and restoring protections for three more; creating four new national wildlife refuges and expanding five more; protecting the Boundary Waters of Minnesota, the nation’s most visited wilderness area; safeguarding Bristol Bay in southwest Alaska; and withdrawing Chaco Canyon in New Mexico and Thompson Divide in Colorado from further oil and gas leasing to protect thousands of sacred sites and pristine lands.

To conserve and steward old growth forests, USDA announced a proposal to amend 128 forest land management plans to conserve and steward old-growth forest conditions on national forests and grasslands nationwide. This builds upon the Biden-Harris Administration’s protection of Tongass National Forest, the largest intact temperate rainforest in the world. The Administration is also taking continued action to protect and conserve our nation’s rivers and watersheds for the people and communities that depend on them, protecting the stability and sustainability of the Colorado River Basin in the face of an ongoing megadrought, and beyond. This includes taking historic action to restore healthy and abundant wild salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River Basin, part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s unprecedented commitment to honor the United States’ obligations to Tribal Nations.

Investing in Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry – President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is supporting America’s farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners, who play a critical role in addressing the climate crisis through the deployment of climate-smart practices and systems. Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA has supported 80,000 farms in implementing climate-smart practices on over 75 million acres. In Fiscal Year 2023, USDA made record investments in private lands conservation, totaling nearly $3 billion in financial assistance to producers.  Leveraging both climate impact and economic opportunities, the Administration is creating new market opportunities through the groundbreaking Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities and efforts that are part of the Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) Grand Challenge.

Rallying Leaders of the World’s Largest Economies to Raise Global Climate Ambition –President Biden has restored America’s climate leadership at home and abroad. Under his leadership, the Administration is securing commitments from more than 155 countries to reduce methane emissions by at least 30 percent by 2030; successfully galvanizing other countries at COP28 to commit, for the first time, to transition away from unabated fossil fuels, stop building new unabated coal capacity globally, and triple renewable energy globally by 2030 and nuclear energy by 2050; launching a new Clean Energy Supply Chain Collaborative to work with international partners to diversify supply chains that are critical to a clean and secure energy transition; mobilizing other governments to follow the U.S. lead and commit to achieve net-zero government emissions by 2050 through a new Net-Zero Government Initiative; and becoming a world leader in innovative debt-for-nature swaps that have helped countries restructure over $2 billion in debt and unlock hundreds of millions of new financing for nature and climate.

FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Takes Critical Action to Protect Communities from PFAS Pollution in Drinking Water

The EPA announced  first-ever national standard to address PFAS in drinking water, delivers an additional $1 billion through President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda to combat PFAS pollution. This fact sheet is provided by the White House:
 

The 8,315 acre Ashokan Reservoir in the Catskills is a major component of the New York City Water supply. The EPA announced first-ever national standard to address PFAS in drinking water, delivers an additional $1 billion through President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda to combat PFAS pollution. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

President Biden believes every community has the right to clean, safe drinking water, free of pollutants that harm people’s health and wellbeing. That is why the President launched a comprehensive action plan and provided billions in funding to protect communities from toxic “forever chemicals” that are linked to a range of severe health problems, including cancers, liver and heart damage, and developmental impacts in children. Found in drinking water, soil, air, and our food supply, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) persist in the environment for long periods of time, posing a serious health threat across rural, suburban, and urban areas.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the first-ever national legally enforceable drinking water standard for PFASwhich will protect 100 million people from PFAS exposureprevent tens of thousands of serious illnesses, and save lives. This action complements the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to combatting PFAS pollution and delivering clean water.

President Biden has secured historic levels of funding to meet this new standard. The Biden-Harris Administration also announced an additional $1 billion through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to help every state and territory fund PFAS detection and treatment systems to meet the new standard. This funding is part of the $9 billion in dedicated funding through the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to address PFAS and other emerging contaminants in drinking water – the largest-ever investment in tackling PFAS pollution. An additional $12 billion in funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law supports general drinking water investments, including PFAS treatment. The investments are part of the Justice40 Initiative, which aims to ensure that 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities.

These actions will help tackle PFAS pollution that has devastated communities like Oakdale, outside of St. Paul, Minnesota, where decades of PFAS-containing waste dumped by a chemical plant has contaminated the community’s drinking water. In this area, cancer was found to be a far more likely cause of death in children than in neighboring areas. The funding announced today will build on funding from the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that is already helping communities address PFAS contamination, including a $33 million award for Tucson, Arizona to treat its PFAS-contaminated drinking water wells.

This funding also builds on President Biden’s action plan to address PFAS pollution, safeguard public health, and advance environmental justice – all while advancing the Biden Cancer Moonshot goal of cutting the cancer death rate by at least half by 2047 and preventing cancer before it starts by protecting communities from known risks associated with PFAS exposure.

As the first-ever Safe Drinking Water Act standard for PFAS – and the first for any new contaminants since 1996 – this rule sets health safeguards and will require public water systems to monitor and reduce the levels of PFAS in our nation’s drinking water, and notify the public of any exceedances of those levels. The rule sets drinking water limits for five individual PFAS, including the most frequently found PFOA and PFOS. Because PFAS can often be found together in mixtures, EPA is also setting a limit for any combination of four PFAS, including GenX Chemicals. This standard will reduce PFAS exposure in our drinking water to the lowest levels that are feasible for effective nationwide implementation.

These announcements advance President Biden’s broader commitment to deliver clean water for every American. The President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests over $50 billion to upgrade water infrastructure – the largest investment in clean water in American history. This includes a historic $15 billion to replace toxic lead pipes and protect children from brain damage, as part of President Biden’s goal of replacing every lead pipe in the country within a decade.

Recent Federal Actions to Protect Communities from PFAS

Under President Biden’s leadership, nearly two dozen federal agencies and offices have made systematic and substantive progress to safeguard public health and protect the environment from PFAS in drinking water and beyond. This work is coordinated by the White House Council on Environmental Quality, which leads the Interagency Policy Committee on PFAS. Other new actions the Biden-Harris Administration has advanced to combat PFAS pollution over the past year include:

Protecting Firefighters from PFAS: The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to protecting firefighters from the harmful effects of PFAS contained in fire suppressing agents and firefighter gear. The Department of Defense is offering PFAS blood tests to military firefighters. The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s U.S. Fire Administration is working to reduce PFAS exposure and promoting access to early cancer screenings and participation in the National Firefighter Registry for Cancer led by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health as part of President Biden’s mission to end cancer as we know it.

Reducing PFAS in Fire Suppressants: The Department of Defense (DoD) qualified three fluorine-free foams to replace fluorinated Aqueous Film Forming Foam for shore-based firefighting activities at military installations, which the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has authorized for civilian airports. The FAA is assisting airports to transition to these new foams, and funding foam testing systems for airports that prevent environmental discharge. These changes will reduce the release of PFAS in the environment and protect the health of firefighters and local communities.

Supporting Healthcare Providers: The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released the PFAS: Information for Clinicians resource guide. This information gives clinicians up-to-date resources and information they need to help patients with questions and concerns about PFAS exposure and health effects.

Phasing Out PFAS in Food Packaging: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the completion of the voluntary market phase-out of PFAS used on paper and paperboard food packaging, eliminating the primary source of dietary exposure to PFAS. FDA can now also test for 30 PFAS in a variety of foods to further protect people from dietary PFAS exposure.

Testing for and Cleaning Up PFAS Pollution: EPA continues to take key actions to address PFAS. For example, EPA is gathering data on 29 PFAS in the nation’s drinking water systems has collaborated with DoD to develop a method to test for 40 PFAS in various media including biosolids, groundwater, and fish tissue. EPA also updated its interim PFAS disposal and destruction guidance and has released a new method to test for 30 volatile fluorine-containing compounds in air including potential products of incomplete combustion of PFAS. DoD recently identified 40 installations where interim cleanup actions to prevent further PFAS migration are underway or will start in FY2024. These actions will address PFAS in groundwater to protect public health and the environment.  

Reducing PFAS in Federal Procurement: EPA and the U.S. General Services Administration announced this week that custodial contracts for federal buildings will now only use cleaning products certified to ecolabels such as EPA’s Safer Choice and certain Green Seal standards, thereby avoiding products that contain intentionally added PFAS. This shift will protect the environment, federal custodial workers, other federal employees, and those visiting government buildings.

Photo Highlights: Total Solar Eclipse Above Long Lake, in New York’s Adirondacks is Stellar

In the path of totality of the Solar Eclipse, April 8, 2024, at Long Lake, in New York State’s Adirondacks © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com.

By Karen Rubin, News-Photos-Features.com, [email protected]

With a huge swath of New York State in the path of totality for the April 8, 2024 Solar Eclipse, we headed to the Adirondacks, cleverly basing ourselves at The Lorca on Indian Lake, which was scheduled to have totality for two minutes, with a plan to drive 30 minutes further to Long Lake, which was scheduled for totality to last a full minute longer, 3 minutes, 1 second, beginning at 3:24 pm, where we based out of the historic (140 years!) Adirondack Hotel, right on the lake.

That proved fortuitous, because though totality spanned a 124-mile wide path stretching from Chautauqua-Allegheny to the majestic Niagara Falls in Greater Niagara, over the pristine Finger Lakes, mighty Adirondacks, and magical Thousand Islands-Seaway, and while Niagara Falls and Buffalo were scheduled to have totality for as much as four minutes, the weather clouded up for most of it. New York State won’t be in the path of totality again for 400 years.

Meanwhile, we had a magical three minutes of totality on Long Lake, starting exactly at 3:24 pm, experiencing the thrill of night-in-the-daytime where you could see stars, then the Diamond Ring, and hearing a dog howl along with everyone’s collective gasps. Then, only a few minutes after, the sun’s crescent started to reappear, but was hazy behind a thin cloud cover, making us appreciate the experience we had all the more.

Here are highlights of the stellar show:

In the path of totality of the Solar Eclipse, April 8, 2024, at Long Lake, in New York State’s Adirondacks © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com.
In the path of totality of the Solar Eclipse, April 8, 2024, at Long Lake, in New York State’s Adirondacks © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com.
In the path of totality of the Solar Eclipse, April 8, 2024, at Long Lake, in New York State’s Adirondacks © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com.
In the path of totality of the Solar Eclipse, April 8, 2024, at Long Lake, in New York State’s Adirondacks © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com.
In the path of totality of the Solar Eclipse, April 8, 2024, at Long Lake, in New York State’s Adirondacks © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com.
Day turns to night, stars can be seen, and the moon is a tiny dot in the crown of the sun’s corona, during totality of the Solar Eclipse, April 8, 2024, at Long Lake, in New York State’s Adirondacks © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com.
Day turns to night, stars can be seen, and the moon is a tiny dot in the crown of the sun’s corona, during totality of the Solar Eclipse, April 8, 2024, at Long Lake, in New York State’s Adirondacks © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com.
The Diamond Ring formation lasts mere seconds during totality of the Solar Eclipse, April 8, 2024, at Long Lake, in New York State’s Adirondacks © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com.
The moon is a tiny dot in the crown of the sun’s corona, during totality of the Solar Eclipse, April 8, 2024, at Long Lake, in New York State’s Adirondacks © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com.
The sun begins to reemerge as a crescent after totality, but soon, clouds make it hazy © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com.
Our family enjoys this once-in-a-lifetime experience of a Total Solar Eclipse in New York’s Adirondacks, on April 8, 2024
The Long Lake community gets set for the Total Solar Eclipse © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
 
Long Lake was a setting for Hudson River School painter Thomas Cole © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com.
The Adirondack Hotel was a fabulous base for watching the Total Eclipse © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com.
Staying over before and after the Total Solar Eclipse at The Lorca on Indian Lake avoided the traffic coming and going to the Adirondacks  © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com.

The next time you go:

It may be 400 years before a total solar eclipse returns to New York State, and this may have been a once-in-a-lifetime experience for millions, but there will be total solar eclipses coming up around the world. If you are now hooked on pursuing totality or if you regret missing out:

Prepare well in advance – even a year in advance. Research ideal locations based on path of totality and duration of totality (in North America, ranged from two to four minutes, so significant difference). Scout out locations and book hotel accommodations, travel to the extent possible even a year in advance for the best locations. (See: Fjords, Pharaohs or Koalas? Time to Plan for Your Next Eclipse).

Make sure you have solar glasses and necessary camera gear (solar filters, long-focus lens, ie 300 mm. Have TAPE to attach a paper solar filter to camera, as I used, if you don’t have the glass filter, check www.bhphotovideo.com). Practice in advance (the hardest part is switching from partial to total eclipse – you have to remove the solar filter and reset the manual settings). Review videos of techniques and get a list of suggested camera settings.

Go to the location at least the day before. Scout where you will be standing. Take sample photo of where sun will be at the time of the eclipse (usually one hour before and one hour after totality). Fill up gas tank, get supplies (food, water for next day).

Day of: download maps/directions (cell service may not be available). Get to the site EARLY to get parking and a position (set up your chair, so you can roam around, use restroom). Plan for extra traffic/time to get to site. Bring chair, camera, lenses, extra memory cards, SOLAR GLASSES, SOLAR FILTER, tripod, hat, sunglasses, jacket, book, charged cell phone, food, water.

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© 2024 News & Photo Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. For editorial feature and photo information, go to www.news-photos-features.com, email [email protected]. Blogging at www.dailykos.com/blogs/NewsPhotosFeatures. ‘Like’ us at facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures, Tweet @KarenBRubin

FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Takes Historic Action to Ban Asbestos, Advancing Biden Cancer Moonshot

This fact sheet on the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic action banning asbestos and advance the Biden Cancer Moonshot is provided by the White House:

President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot is accelerating progress to prevent, detect, and treat cancer while boosting support for families facing cancer, including by undertaking an aggressive effort to protect families and workers from hazardous chemicals like known carcinogens. After more than three decades of inadequate protections, today the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing a historic ban on ongoing uses of asbestos. This marks the first rule finalized under the nation’s updated chemical safety law, a milestone in the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to protect public health, advance environmental justice, and end cancer as we know it.

Asbestos is a potent carcinogen that causes tens of thousands of deaths in the United States each year and is linked to lung cancer, ovarian cancer, colorectal cancer, and more. The EPA’s new ban prohibits ongoing uses of chrysotile asbestos, the only known form of asbestos still used or imported in the United States. This action represents an important step to advance the Biden Cancer Moonshot goal of reducing the cancer death rate by at least half by 2047—preventing more than four million cancer deaths—and preventing cancer before it starts by protecting communities from known risks associated with asbestos exposure.

The Biden Cancer Moonshot is a core component of the President’s Unity Agenda, a set of priorities that Americans from every walk of life can support. Prohibiting the manufacture, processing, and distribution of asbestos is also part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic commitment to advancing environmental justice. Asbestos is used in facilities that are located disproportionately near communities with environmental justice concerns and also particularly affects workers.  

Since the beginning of the Biden-Harris Administration, EPA and other federal agencies have been delivering on the promise to protect communities from the harmful effects of toxic substances, including carcinogens. The Administration is coordinating across the federal government to protect people from exposure to hazardous chemicals, including through guidance, regulatory actions, investments through President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda, and more.

Reducing exposure to toxic chemicals protects public health and advances President Biden’s commitment to ensuring all people can breathe clean air, drink clean water, and live in a healthy community. The Biden-Harris Administration has delivered on additional protections to protect communities from carcinogens, including:

  • Protecting communities and workers from toxic chemicals that cause long-recognized health risks, including cancer. In addition to today’s final rule on asbestos, EPA is advancing proposals to address cancer and other health risks from methylene chloridecarbon tetrachlorideperchloroethylene, and trichloroethylene, all of which are dangerous and sometimes fatal chemicals used in commercial and industrial settings. Additionally, EPA has proposed a rule to strengthen its process for conducting risk evaluations on toxic chemicals, including carcinogens, and this includes specific consideration of overburdened communities. EPA is moving expeditiously to finalize these rules and realize the new public health protections enabled by Congress under the 2016 amendments to the nation’s chemical safety law, the Toxic Substances Control Act.
     
  • Slashing emissions of ethylene oxide and other cancer-causing air pollution. Last week EPA issued a final rule that will significantly strengthen and update Clean Air Act standards for ethylene oxide (EtO) emitted into the air from commercial sterilizing facilities. EtO is a highly potent carcinogen that can be particularly harmful to children and communities that are already overburdened by pollution. The new rule will safeguard public health by cutting emissions of EtO from these facilities by over 90 percent. EPA is also working to advance research, and to strengthen standards to reduce toxic air pollution, including other cancer-causing pollutants, from chemical plants. 

Combatting PFAS pollution in communities to address health and environmental risks. The Biden-Harris Administration has announced a government-wide plan to address and prevent PFAS contamination. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), often referred to as ‘forever chemicals,’ are human-made chemicals that have been widely used in many different consumer, commercial, and industrial products for decades. They break down very slowly over time in the environment and in people’s bodies, and have been found to have harmful health effects including cancer, low birthweight, and reduced immune responses. EPA has proposed new rules to strengthen protections for communities and drinking water supplies, helping to address disparities in access to a clean and safe environment. The Administration also launched a comprehensive effort to combat cancer risks associated with PFAS that, for many years, have been in the gear, equipment, and fire suppression agents used by firefighters. The Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs are leading efforts to measure blood PFAS levels in firefighters, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched the National Firefighter Registry for Cancer to collect detailed data to better understand the link between workplace exposures and cancer among firefighters

FACT SHEET: On World Water Day, Biden Administration Builds on Historic Progress to Protect Clean Drinking Water, Restore Nation’s Rivers, Lakes, Ponds and Wetlands

The Biden Administrationis building on historic progress to secure clean water for all by announcing new actions to protect vital freshwater resources to ensure every community can count on clean water when they turn on the faucet. Among the actions: safeguarding the Colorado River watershed by creating the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument, protecting nearly one million acres of greater Grand Canyon landscape © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

This fact sheet on the Biden Administration’s historic progress to protect clean drinking water, restore the nation’s rivers, lakes, ponds and wetlands was provided by the White House:

President Biden and Vice President Harris believe that every person should have access to clean drinking water and a healthy environment. On World Water Day, the Biden-Harris Administration is building on historic progress to secure clean water for all by announcing new actions to protect our vital freshwater resources and ensure every community can count on clean water when they turn on the faucet.

Rivers, lakes, wetlands, and other freshwater resources are fundamental to the health, prosperity, and resiliency of the nation, and sacred to many Tribes. Through the America the Beautiful Initiative and the global Freshwater Challenge, the Biden-Harris Administration is delivering on the first-ever national conservation goal to protect at least 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030 – accelerating locally-led efforts to tackle the world’s intertwined water, climate, and nature crises.

To ensure that clean water reaches communities across the country, the Biden-Harris Administration is harnessing historic resources from the President’s Investing in America agenda to replace lead pipes and other drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, build resilience to drought, and conserve and restore our rivers, wetlands, lakes, and ponds. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law alone includes more than $50 billion to help ensure every community has access to clean water.

While the Biden-Harris Administration delivers on a national commitment to protect clean water, this week Congressional Republicans are continuing attempts to weaken the Clean Water Act. These attacks are part of a decades-long effort to undermine Clean Water Act safeguards, which culminated in the U.S. Supreme Court’s Sackett decision last year – one of the largest judicial rollbacks of environmental protections in U.S. history. A report released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today reveals that from 2009-2019, the wetlands loss rate increased 50 percent over the prior decade, further showing the urgent need to use all the tools and resources available at the national, State, Tribal, and local level to protect and conserve America’s waters.

This World Water Day, the Biden-Harris Administration is announcing new actions and resources to advance the most ambitious clean water agenda in history:

  • The Army Corps of Engineers is releasing a new memorandum outlining ways it will support the protection, restoration, and enhancement of waters and wetlands that are more vulnerable following the U.S. Supreme Court’s Sackett decision.
     
  • The White House Council on Environmental Quality is releasing a Wetland and Water Protection Resource Guide for Tribes, States, Territories, local governments, private land owners, and non-governmental organizations to advance water resource protection. The Resource Guide highlights technical assistance and funding opportunities available across the federal government.
     
  • NOAA is announcing $60 million from the President’s Investing in America agenda for fish hatcheries to produce salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River Basin. This builds on a historic agreement the Biden-Harris Administration secured in partnership with Tribes and States in the Pacific Northwest to restore wild salmon and steelhead populations.
     
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released the Understanding Water Affordability Across Contexts, LIHWAP Water Utility Affordability Survey Reportwhich highlights the differences in water affordability across the country. President Biden’s Fiscal Year 2025 Budget provides $4.1 billion for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), helping families access home energy and weatherization assistance, and proposes to allow States the option to use a portion of those funds to provide water bill assistance to low-income households.

Today’s announcements build on a series of landmark investments and actions the Biden-Harris Administration has taken to protect and restore the nation’s freshwater resources by advancing conservation, building resilience, and expanding access to clean drinking water.
 
Protecting more than 26 million acres of lands and waters, putting President Biden on track to conserve more lands and waters than any President in history. Highlights of the Biden-Harris Administration’s water conservation accomplishments, driven by the America the Beautiful Initiative, include:

  • Safeguarding the Colorado River watershed by creating the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument, protecting nearly one million acres of greater Grand Canyon landscape. President Biden’s designation honors Tribal Nations and Indigenous Peoples by protecting sacred ancestral places and their historically and scientifically important features, while conserving our public lands, protecting wildlife habitat and clean water, and supporting local economies. President Biden has also designated additional national monuments that protect freshwater resources, including the freshwater springs of Castner Range National Monument and the high alpine lakes of Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument.
     
  • Protecting the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and surrounding watershed from mining, which would have harmed the area’s watershed, fish and wildlife, Tribal and treaty rights, and outdoor recreation economy. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is a spectacular network of rivers, lakes, and forests in northeastern Minnesota that comprise the most heavily visited wilderness area in the United States. By withdrawing these lands from future mineral leasing, the Biden-Harris Administration is keeping the iconic area intact for future generations.
     
  • Addressing threats to Alaska’s Bristol Bay, the most productive wild salmon ecosystem in the world and home to 25 Tribal Nations. Six rivers meet in Bristol Bay, traveling through 40,000 miles of tundra, wetlands, and lakes. EPA acted to help protect these waters and the communities dependent upon them from contamination associated with developing the Pebble Mine.
     
  • Tackling transboundary water pollution in the Elk-Kootenai watershed to protect the people and species that depend on this vital river system. For over a decade, the Tribal Nations and Indigenous Peoples within the Elk-Kootenai watershed have requested that the U.S. and Canadian governments address pollution that has impaired downstream communities, fish populations, and ecosystems. Under President Biden’s leadership, the U.S. and Canadian governments have taken a key step with Ktunaxa Nation to achieve transboundary cooperation to protect clean water.
     
  • Restoring the flow of rivers and streams by investing $1 billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to remove, repair, and redesign infrastructure that impede water flow. The first round of grants will fix or remove almost 170 fish culverts and improve approximately 550 miles of stream habitat across the country – with a total of $196 million awarded to Tribal, state, and local governments. Reconnecting these waterways reconnects communities to their rivers, increases ecological functions of the rivers and streams, and ensures that goods – traveling along these rural roads from farms to urban areas – make their way to market.

Making unprecedented investments and leading collaborative efforts to increase the resilience of our water ecosystems. Highlights of the Biden-Harris Administration’s work to build the resilience of our communities and waters include:

  • Delivering the largest single federal investment in the Everglades through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Years of human development have isolated portions of the Florida Everglades and altered natural flow patterns for freshwater, and the Everglades are already feeling the impacts of climate change and sea level rise. The Army Corps of Engineers has invested $1.1 billion through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to help restore the ecosystems and water flows of the Everglades’ two million acres of wetlands. Thriving wetlands will also filter out pollution to improve water quality for the one-third of Floridians who rely on the Everglades for drinking water, and will help improve resilience to flooding that impacts the state.  In addition, this month the Department of the Interior established the Everglades to Gulf Conservation Area, a four-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge, where tools like voluntary conservation easements can be used to protect wildlife corridors, enhance outdoor recreation access, and bolster climate resilience.
     
  • Leading a comprehensive effort to make Western communities more resilient to climate change and ongoing megadrought by harnessing the full resources of President Biden’s historic Investing in America agenda. As climate change has accelerated over the past two decades, the Colorado River Basin experienced the driest period in the region in over one thousand years. Together, the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provide the largest investment in climate resilience in our nation’s history, including $15.4 billion for western water to enhance the West’s resilience to drought and deliver unprecedented resources to protect the Colorado River System for all whose lives and livelihoods depend on it. Following extensive engagement with States, Tribes, and water users, the Administration announced a historic agreement to conserve at least 3 million-acre-feet of water in the Colorado River Basin through the end of 2026.
     
  • Restoring wild salmon, steelhead and other native fish, in the Columbia River Basin. Building on President Biden’s direction to Federal agencies, the Biden-Harris Administration announced a historic agreement to work in partnership with Pacific Northwest Tribes and States to restore wild salmon populations, facilitate the development of Tribally sponsored clean energy production, and provide stability for communities that depend on the Columbia River System. The Administration committed more than $1 billion to the effort, which will, among other things, be used to restore freshwater habitat.
     
  • Restoring the Klamath River Basin ecosystem and building drought resilience. With the removal of four dams underway, the Klamath Basin Drought Resilience Keystone Initiative is reestablishing wetlands and their functions, and advancing post-fire restoration efforts. The Department of the Interior, working in a whole of government approach, has leveraged funding from additional federal agencies as well as from Tribal, state, and other partners to restore the ecological function of the river and its associated river systems. The dam removals alone will open access to more than 400 miles of habitat for salmon and steelhead trout, help restore Tribal food sovereignty, and improve the health and water quality of the river.
     
  • Providing rapid-response American expertise to international partners on critical water and climate adaptation challenges. Through the Ambassador’s Water Experts Program (AWEP), the Department of State and the Department of the Interior have deployed over 30 U.S. experts to support more than 20 technical and capacity building engagements since 2019, and already have six AWEP engagements underway in 2024. AWEP works through U.S. diplomatic posts to respond to time sensitive requests for support on a broad range of water and climate resilience topics and promotes long-term collaboration on water security.
     
  • Strengthening data for decision-making and early warning systems to protect communities worldwide. The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and USAID are working with over 50 countries in Asia, Africa, and the Americas through the SERVIR Initiative, which uses satellite data to address critical challenges in food security, water resources, weather and climate, land use, and water-related disasters. NASA is also working with the U.S. Department of State to provide advanced remote-sensing, modeling, and capacity building activities through the Strategic Hydrologic and Agricultural Remote-sensing for Environments Program, which brings data and technical resources to end-users in some of the most complex hydrologic domains in the world. These efforts are supported by the launch of NASA’s Surface Water Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission, a new satellite that will establish the first-ever global survey of Earth’s surface water. This innovation will improve our understanding of how water bodies change over time and will aid in freshwater management around the world.

Expanding access to clean drinking water and wastewater by investing more than $50 billion from the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law – the largest investment in clean water in American history. Highlights of this effort and other steps to address water pollution include:

  • Removing all lead service lines. Over 9 million homes, schools, and businesses receive their drinking water through a lead pipe. Exposure to lead can cause irreversible brain damage in children, even knocking off several IQ points. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes a historic $15 billion in dedicated funding for lead pipe replacement, in support of President Biden’s goal of replacing all lead pipes within a decade.
  • Combatting toxic “forever chemicals” in drinking water and wastewater. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests $10 billion to address harmful PFAS pollution in drinking water and wastewater. EPA has also proposed the first-ever national standard to address these “forever chemicals” in drinking water. This builds on President Biden’s action plan to combat PFAS pollution, safeguarding public health and advancing environmental justice.
     
  • Ensuring no community is left behind. Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, nearly half of these clean drinking water and wastewater investments will be provided as grants or forgivable loans to disadvantaged communities, advancing President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative. In addition, EPA has launched several initiatives to partner with underserved communities nationwide to provide the support and technical assistance they need to access clean water funding. EPA will partner with 200 communities to help them replace lead pipes, while the initiative will help an additional 150 communities execute wastewater and sanitation projects. For example, in Lowndes County, Alabama, roughly 90 percent of households have failing wastewater systems and many children and families are exposed to raw sewage in their own backyards. EPA and USDA have worked with the Lowndes County community of White Hall to secure over $500,000 in federal funding for wastewater projects. In nearby Hayneville, EPA has awarded a 100% forgivable $8.7 million loan to address failing or non-existent wastewater systems in 650 homes.
     
  • Investing more than $1 billion to restore the Great Lakesa vital economic engine that supplies drinking water for more than 20 million Americans, supports more than 1.3 million jobs, and sustains life for thousands of species. With the largest investment in the Great Lakes in two decades through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, EPA is cleaning up and restoring the Great Lakes’ most environmentally degraded sites, including the Milwaukee Estuary in Wisconsin and the Cuyahoga River in Ohio.
     
  • Delivering clean water to Tribal NationsFor years, Tribal Nations have been left without access to safe, clean water for drinking and sanitation; today, approximately 48% of Tribal communities go without this human right. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has delivered $4.2 billion to date to provide safe, clean water for Tribal Nations and secure historic Tribal water rights. This includes over $8 million to remediate arsenic contamination that has been in the Hopi Tribe’s water supply since the 1960s. The Hopi Arsenic Management Project will make necessary infrastructure improvements to provide clean drinking water to over 5,000 people.
     

Increasing access to safe and sustainable drinking water and sanitation services around the world. The U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) recent annual report shows that since the passage of the Water for the World Act ten years ago, USAID’s water, sanitation, and hygiene investments have resulted in more than 42 million people gaining access to sustainable drinking water and 38 million gaining access to sustainable sanitation services. With a focus on climate resilience, inclusivity and gender equality, locally-led development, and private-sector engagement, these investments are contributing to progress toward UN Sustainable Development Goal 6 to achieve universal access to clean water and sanitation.

Environmentalists Endorse Tom Suozzi in Feb. 13 Special Election for Congress NY-03 Citing Record, Policies

Tom Suozzi, seeking to return to Congress representing NY-03, receives endorsements from leading environmental organizations including the Sierra Club, National Resources Defense Council, and New York League of Conservation Voters © Karen Rubin/news-photo-features.com

By Karen Rubin, News & Photo Features, [email protected]

Glen Cove, NY – Former US Congressman Tom Suozzi today held a press conference to highlight his lifelong commitment to preserving and protecting our environment and lay out his plan to continue to do so when he returns to Congress after the February 13th special election.

At the press conference, held at a very cold and windy Sea Cliff Municipal Beach, Suozzi received enthusiastic and wholehearted endorsements from the New York League of Conservation Voters, the NRDC (National Resources Defense Council) Action Fund, and the Sierra Club Long Island Group.

“I am grateful to the New York League of Conservation Voters Federal Fund, the League of Conservation Voters Action Fund, the NRDC Action Fund, and the Sierra Club Long Island Group for recognizing my three-decades-long commitment to preserve, protect, and clean our air, land, and water,” Suozzi said. “Just a few days ago, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act, and on that day, I saw an eagle fly across the sky in my hometown of Glen Cove. The hard work of a lot of dedicated people can produce results!”

Tom Suozzi, running to return to Congress representing NY-03 in the Feb. 13 special election, reminds voters of his 30-year record on the environment, and his policies going forward © Karen Rubin/news-photo-features.com

When asked about the environment as a campaign issue, Suozzi emphasized his 30-year public service record of cleaning up pollution, dramatically reducing nitrogen, modernizing sewage treatment plants, remediating groundwater, and restoring shell fishing in our local waters.

“I’ve been a champion of the environment for my entire career. My opponent, on the other hand, parrots the talking points of the Conservative Party, which rejects the Paris Climate Change Agreement, denying that climate change is even real,” Suozzi stated. “Well, I know the people that live in this district very well, and they care about the environment. They want to make sure that we clean up pollution and that we protect our air, protect our land, and protect our water.”

“My whole adult life I have worked for these issues. I know how politics works, how government works….I know how to make government work for people, so they see real impact in their lives,” Suozzi said, flanked by a battalion of enthusiastic supporters despite the frigid wind.

“Our environment is a big part of my 10-point plan,” Suozzi said, citing his 10-point plan released in mid-December. “My opponent just put out a 10-point plan, which looks very similar to my 10-point plan, and there is nothing on it about the environment whatsoever.”

Tom Suozzi, seeking to return to Congress representing NY-03, receives endorsements from leading environmental organizations including the Sierra Club, National Resources Defense Council, and New York League of Conservation Voters © Karen Rubin/news-photo-features.com

Joining Suozzi and speaking at the press conference were Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters; Al Fredericks, Chair of the Political Committee of the Sierra Club’s Long Island Group; Kevin Curtis, Executive Director of the NRDC Action Fund; Danielle Fugazy Scagliola, member Glen Cove City Council; and Delia DeRiggi-Whitton, Nassau County Legislator and Minority Leader.

“It’s not partisan to want clean air, clean water,” said Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters. “We are feeling the effect of climate change – the hottest year on the planet since records were kept. Leadership matters. …We’ve had a 30-year relationship with Suozzi…He fights tooth and nail for policies that all have real impact on the environment.”

Al Fredericks, Chair of the Political Committee of the Sierra Club’s Long Island Group , noted that Suozzi was one of the chief negotiators of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act that dramatically increased funding for Long Island Sound and remediating Grumman. He cast a critical vote to pass the Inflation Reduction Act, the largest federal investment in the environment and climate action.

“His Republican opponent cannot match his knowledge or experience in issues that most concern District 3. She is a newcomer with a single two-year term as Nassau County Legislator. We cannot afford to gamble once again on an inexperienced candidate.”

Kevin Curtis, Executive Director of the NRDC Action Fund said that his committee unanimously voted to endorse Suozzi. “The Congressman is the real deal – he does the hard work on the environment.”

Minority Leader in Nassau County Legislature Delia DeRiggi-Whitton, who has served with Suozzi’s Republican opponent the past two years, noted that this coastal peninsula was one of the largest superfund sites in the nation, but Suozzi fought for and won funding to clean it up. “There are places all over the nation needing funding –the only way to bring money home is if you have someone fighting for it. His opponent has said she is ‘not a talker’. We need someone who understands the process, how the system works and is not just a talker, but can argue, fight for his local area.”

While Suozzi has regularly held press conferences and is out meeting people and taking questions, his Republican opponent has kept away and is refusing to debate.  

“The voters need to know where she stands on the environment and every other issue. She refuses to tell us anything in detail, and she refuses to debate,” Suozzi asserted. “I give detailed policy descriptions and have a record of getting things done.”

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© 2024 News & Photo Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. For editorial feature and photo information, go to www.news-photos-features.com, email [email protected]. Blogging at www.dailykos.com/blogs/NewsPhotosFeatures. ‘Like’ us at facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures, Tweet @KarenBRubin

NYS Announces Nation’s Biggest Investment in Renewable Energy: 3 Offshore Wind, 22 Land-Based Renewable Projects to Power 2.6M Homes

Long Islanders have been protesting, pleading, rallying for offshore windpower for years. Here, rallying outside Long Island Power Authority’s offices in May, 2016. Governor Kathy Hochul has just announced the largest state investment in renewable energy in US history, demonstrating New York’s leadership in advancing the clean energy transition. The conditional awards include three offshore wind and 22 land-based renewable energy projects totaling 6.4 gigawatts of clean energy, enough to power 2.6 million New York homes and deliver approximately 12 percent of New York’s electricity needs once completed.  © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Three Offshore Wind and 22 Land-Based Renewable Energy Projects Totaling 6.4 Gigawatts Will Power 2.6 Million New York Homes and Deliver 12 Percent of New York’s Electricity Needs in 2030  

Projects Expected to Create Approximately 8,300 Family-Sustaining Jobs and Bring $20 Billion in Economic Development Investments Statewide, Including Developer-Committed Investments to Support Disadvantaged Communities 

Advances the Nation’s First Offshore Wind Blade and Nacelle Manufacturing Facilities with the State Committing $300 Million and Attracting an Additional $668 Million in Private Funding

Supports Progress Toward New York’s Climate Act Goal to Obtain 70 Percent of the State’s Electricity from Renewable Sources by 2030 

79 Percent of New York’s 2030 Electricity Needs to be Met with Renewable Energy

Governor Kathy Hochul has announced the largest state investment in renewable energy in United States history, demonstrating New York’s leadership in advancing the clean energy transition. The conditional awards include three offshore wind and 22 land-based renewable energy projects totaling 6.4 gigawatts of clean energy, enough to power 2.6 million New York homes and deliver approximately 12 percent of New York’s electricity needs once completed. When coupled with two marquee offshore wind blade and nacelle manufacturing facilities, this portfolio of newly announced projects is expected to create approximately 8,300 family-sustaining jobs and spur $20 billion in economic development investments statewide, including developer-committed investments to support disadvantaged communities.

The announcement supports progress toward New York’s goal for 70 percent of the state’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2030 – and nine gigawatts of offshore wind by 2035 – on the path to a zero-emission grid as required by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. Following these awards, New York will now have enough operating, contracted, and under development renewable energy projects to supply 79 percent of the state’s 2030 electricity needs with renewable energy.

“New York continues to set the pace for our nation’s transition to clean energy,” Governor Hochul said. “An investment of this magnitude is about more than just fighting climate change – we’re creating good-paying union jobs, improving the reliability of our electric grid, and generating significant benefits in disadvantaged communities. Today, we are taking action to keep New York’s climate goals within reach, demonstrating to the nation how to recalibrate in the wake of global economic challenges while driving us toward a greener and more prosperous future for generations to come.”  

U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm said, “The Department of Energy applauds the significant step that this announcement represents for building an offshore wind energy industry here in the U.S. that revitalizes domestic manufacturing and coastal economies, while advancing our clean energy future. New York is showing President Biden’s Investing in America agenda at work, and DOE looks forward to continued collaboration on project deployment, development of a robust domestic supply chain along with transmission development to help realize both our state and federal offshore wind goals.”

Once in service, the awarded offshore wind and land-based renewable energy projects will: 

  • Produce approximately 19 million megawatt-hours of new renewable energy per year, enough to power more than 2.6 million New York homes. 
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 9.4 million metric tons annually, the equivalent of taking more than 2 million cars off the road every year. 
  • Provide public health benefits resulting from reduced exposure to harmful pollutants—including fewer episodes of illness and premature death, fewer days of missed school or work, less disruption of business, and lower health care costs.
  • Deliver a host of benefits to disadvantaged communities in line with the Climate Act goals, with over $3.5 billion in commitments to disadvantaged communities made by developers.

New York State Energy Research and Development Authority President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, “This latest and largest round of large-scale renewable energy awards is further proof that New York is, and will continue to be, a place where the renewable energy sector can thrive. This cohort of large-scale renewable energy projects reflect New York’s longstanding and ongoing priority to responsibly advance the most cost-competitive and economically viable clean energy projects in a manner that is timely and maximizes benefits for all New Yorkers.” 

Today’s announcement represents the first set of actions taken by the State as part of New York’s 10-point Action Plan, announced recently by Governor Hochul, offering insight into how the Governor’s Administration plans to overcome recent macroeconomic and inflationary challenges that have impacted the renewable energy sector. Today’s awards also mark the commencement of contract negotiations with the awarded parties, and the awards are conditional on successful contract execution. 

Demonstrating the State’s commitment to ensuring these projects create quality, family-sustaining jobs for New Yorkers, the contracts upon full execution will include commitments to purchase certain minimum amounts of U.S. iron and steel and prevailing wage provisions for all laborers, workers, and mechanics performing construction activities. In addition, offshore wind project developers will be required to negotiate Project Labor Agreements among their construction contractors and a building and construction trade labor organization representing craft workers for the construction of the new renewable energy generation resources. 

The Nation’s Largest-Ever State Investment in Offshore Wind
In the most competitive offshore wind solicitation in the U.S., NYSERDA has selected three new offshore wind projects totaling 4,032 megawatts (MW) of clean energy which is expected to displace over 7 million metric tons of CO2 annually, equivalent to removing 1.6 million cars from the road each year. Additionally, the awarded projects will bring more than $15 billion in anticipated in-state spending and create more than 4,200 family sustaining jobs across Long Island, New York City and the Capital Region over the 25-year lifespan of the projects. 

The three offshore wind projects include: 

  • Attentive Energy One (1,404 MW) developed by TotalEnergies, Rise Light & Power and Corio Generation. The project includes a novel fossil repurposing plan in Queens, which seeks to retire fossil fuel power generation in the heart of New York City and transition the current workforce to clean energy jobs.  
  • Community Offshore Wind (1,314 MW) developed by RWE Offshore Renewables and National Grid Ventures. The project includes utilization of new grid interconnection being developed by Con Edison in downtown Brooklyn, made possible by the Public Service Commission Order Approving Cost Recovery for Clean Energy Hub to maximize delivery of clean electricity into New York City.  
  • Excelsior Wind (1,314 MW) developed by Vineyard Offshore (Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners). The project includes proposed cable route options providing robust energy deliverability to Long Island, leveraging the electric grid expansion provided through the Long Island Public Policy Transmission Need outcome. 

Together, these projects will bring tremendous benefits to New York’s economy, workforce, and environment, including: 

  • More than $85 million to support wildlife and fisheries research, mitigation, and enhancement. 
  • Nearly $300 million in commitments to Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) and Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOBs). 
  • Over $100 million in commitments to train New York’s workforce to build and service offshore wind projects. 
  • Billions of dollars in public health benefits resulting from reduced exposure to harmful pollutants—including fewer episodes of illness and premature death, fewer days of missed school or work, less disruption of business, and lower health care costs.    

These projects employ a mix of flexible and innovative transmission designs, including a reduced footprint in transmitting energy from offshore wind projects to New York City through high voltage direct current (HVDC) and adaptable “Meshed-Ready” offshore electrical substations. The three offshore wind projects are anticipated to enter commercial operation in 2030. The average bill impact for customers over the life of the projects will be approximately 2.73 percent, or about $2.93 per month. The average all-in development cost of the awarded offshore wind projects over the life of the contracts is $96.72 per megawatt-hour.

Delivering on Governor Hochul’s commitment to make New York State a hub for the U.S. offshore wind supply chain, this procurement includes continued support for offshore wind turbine manufacturing, which leverages over $2 in privately committed capital for every $1 of New York public funding. 

NYSERDA is also awarding $300 million in state investment to enable the development of two supply chain facilities including nacelle manufacturing and assembly by GE Vernova, along with blade manufacturing developed by LM Wind Power Blades USA, both planned for New York’s Capital Region.  

This investment has the capacity to supply almost one-third of the total regional demand for offshore wind by 2035, which will unlock $968 million in public and private funding, create 1,700 direct and indirect jobs backed by prevailing wage and project labor agreements, and result in over $3 billion in direct spending in the State. Additionally, these projects also align with available federal tax credits, enabling future savings to New York’s ratepayers. 


New York’s Land-Based Renewable Energy Procurement
In addition, New York also announced its latest round of conditional land-based large-scale renewable awards, which are comprised of 14 new solar projects, six wind repowering projects, one new wind project, and one return-to-service hydroelectric project, totaling a combined 2,410 megawatts – enough new renewable generation to power over 560,000 New York homes annually for at least 20 years. These projects are expected to spur over $4 billion in direct investments and create over 4,100 good-paying short- and long-term jobs across New York State. 

The projects by region include:

Central New York 

  • Oxbow Hill Solar: Cypress Creek Renewables will build a 140-megawatt solar facility in the Town of Fenner, Madison County. 

Finger Lakes 

  • Gravel Road Solar: Delaware River Solar will build a 128-megawatt solar facility in the Towns of Tyre and Seneca Falls, Seneca County. 
  • Hatchery Solar: VC Renewables, LLC will build a 19.99-megawatt solar facility in the Town of Caledonia, Livingston County. 
  • SunEast Hampton Corners Solar: Cordelio Power will build a 19.99-megawatt solar facility in the Town of Groveland, Livingston County. 
  • SunEast Niagara Solar: Cordelio Power will build a 19.99-megawatt solar facility in the Town of Caledonia, Livingston County. 
  • White Creek Solar, LLC: AES will build a 135-megawatt solar facility in the Towns of York and Leicester, Livingston County. 
  • Hemlock Ridge Solar: AES will build a 200-megawatt solar facility in the Towns of Barre and Shelby, Orleans County. 
  • Valcour Bliss Windpark: AES will repower a 100.5-megawatt wind facility in the Town of Eagle, Wyoming County. 
  • Valcour Wethersfield Windpark: AES will repower a 126-megawatt wind facility in the Town of Wethersfield, Wyoming County. 

Mohawk Valley 

  • Dolgeville Hydro: Energy Ottawa NY Generation Ltd. will continue operations for a 5-megawatt hydroelectric facility in the Town of Dolgeville, Herkimer County. 
  • SunEast Millers Grove Solar: Cordelio Power will build a 19.99-megawatt solar facility in the Town of Schuyler, Herkimer County. 

North Country 

  • North Country Wind: Terra-Gen Development Company, LLC will build a 298.2-megawatt wind facility in the towns of Burke and Chateaugay, Franklin County. 
  • Riverside Solar: AES will build a 100-megawatt solar facility in the Towns of Lyme and Brownville, Franklin County. 
  • SunEast Morris Solar: Cordelio Power will build a 19.99-megawatt solar facility in the Town of Gouverneur, St. Lawrence County. 
  • Valcour Altona Windpark: AES will repower a 97.5-megawatt wind facility in the Town of Altona, Clinton County. 
  • Valcour Chateaugay Windpark: AES will repower a 106.5-megawatt Wind facility in the Town of Chateaugay, Franklin County. 
  • Valcour Clinton Windpark: AES will repower a 100.5-megawatt Wind facility in the Town of Clinton, Clinton County. 
  • Valcour Ellenburg Windpark: AES will repower an 81-megawatt Wind facility in the Town of Ellenburg, Clinton County. 

Southern Tier 

  • Clear View Solar: VC Renewables, LLC will build a 19.99-megawatt Solar facility in the Town of Cohocton, Steuben County. 
  • Stonewall Solar: Nexamp will build a 145-megawatt solar facility co-located with 20 megawatts of energy storage in the Town of Meredith, Delaware County. 

Western New York 

  • Somerset Solar: Somerset Solar, LLC will build a 125-megawatt solar facility in the Town of Somerset, Niagara County. 

Outside of New York 

  • Mineral Basin Solar: Swift Current Energy will build a 401.6-megawatt solar facility in the Townships of Girard and Goshen, Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, and will deliver energy into the New York electric grid. 

The average bill impact for customers over the life of the projects will be approximately 0.31 percent, or about $0.32 per month. The average all-in development cost of the awarded Tier 1 projects over the life of the contracts is $60.93 per megawatt-hour. Importantly, these projects are prioritizing benefits to disadvantaged communities in line with the State’s Climate Act, with over $108 million in commitments to disadvantaged communities made by developers as part of their proposals to NYSERDA. These projects are also expected to result in over $38 million in commitments in spending to MWBEs and SDVOBs. 

The State will continue to emphasize and enhance engagement with the communities where the projects are being developed. NYSERDA offers resources and no-cost technical assistance to help local governments understand how to manage responsible clean energy development in their communities, including step-by-step instructions and tools to guide the implementation of clean energy, including permitting processes, property taxes, siting, zoning, and more. 

Long Island Power Authority Chief Executive Officer Thomas Falcone said, “LIPA proudly stands with Governor Hochul as we make history with this monumental investment in renewable energy. These projects are part of a shared commitment to a sustainable future, directly aligning with LIPA’s vision of delivering clean, reliable, and affordable electricity to our communities. Governor Hochul is transforming how we power New York while creating thousands of jobs in a new industry.”

“New York’s significant investments in offshore wind and renewable energy projects are a testament to Governor Hochul’s commitment in advancing a clean energy economy while reducing greenhouse gas emissions to benefit the state’s communities,” New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said. “I applaud the Governor for continuing to address the challenges of climate change with the wind, solar, and hydro projects announced today that are helping ensure a greener, more prosperous, and equitable future for all New Yorkers.”

New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said,“Under Governor Hochul’s leadership, this monumental investment not only propels New York to the forefront of the renewable energy sector but promises thousands of family-sustaining jobs across our state. As we work towards a sustainable future, we’re committed to ensuring that every New Yorker reaps the economic benefits of this initiative, especially our disadvantaged communities.”

Representative Paul Tonko said, “I have always believed in the potential for New York to play a leading role in offshore wind and clean energy development and have pushed hard at the federal level to advance policy and investment that grows out this industry. Today’s announcement is a realization of that vision. This next chapter in the storied history of skilled labor and innovation in our area will bring hundreds of good paying green jobs to the Capital Region while advancing our clean energy future and protecting our environment for generations to come. I look forward to closely working with our state and commercial partners to make these bold plans a reality and I will never stop working to secure our clean energy future and create the jobs of tomorrow.”

“Today marks a key milestone for solar, wind and renewable energy projects that will not only help New York reach its sustainability goals, but also create thousands of good paying, union careers for our hardworking tradesmen and tradeswomen,” New York State Building Trades President Gary LaBarbera said. “This historic investment will brighten our clean energy future and the improve the lives of all New Yorkers, including those who will now have the opportunity to work on these projects, support their families and pursue a more accessible path to the middle class. We applaud Governor Hochul for her continued commitment to streamlining clean energy initiatives, all while uplifting working class New Yorkers.”

New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento said, “I thank Governor Hochul for this historic investment that will help us combat climate change, and ultimately win that battle while creating solid, middle-class, union jobs right here in New York State. It is the next step to ensuring that New York’s clean energy future is built, operated, and maintained by a highly trained and highly skilled union workforce. We look forward to continuing to work with the governor to address climate change while creating and preserving family-sustaining union jobs.”

Long Island Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO President John Durso said, “We look forward to working with the governor and her team as we move the offshore wind industry forward, creating good union jobs that will not only power Long Island’s economy but also make an historic commitment to our environment. The Long Island Federation of Labor, as a crucial partner, plays a pivotal role in ensuring the success of offshore wind development, with our expertise and dedication, in bolstering the growth of the industry while safeguarding the interests of our workforce.”

“Today’s announcement is clearly indicative of Governor Hochul’s intent to move forward with a thriving offshore wind industry,” IBEW Local Union #3 Business Manager Christopher Erikson said. “This commitment includes labor protections for working men and women, the guaranteeing of good wages, the inclusion of PLA’s and workforce development for both the construction trades and supply chain employers. This is good for New Yorkers, our employers, our environment, and the health of generations to come.”

Alliance for Clean Energy New York Executive Director Anne Reynolds said, “New contracts for 22 wind, solar, and hydroelectric projects, plus for three major offshore wind energy projects, is good news for New York’s environment and electricity system. Building these projects will mean construction jobs for laborers, electricians, and other building trades, as well as cleaner air for New Yorkers. The renewable energy industry welcomes today’s announcements and looks forward to continuing to work with the state of New York on its ambitious energy transition.”

New York Offshore Wind Alliance Director Fred Zalcman said,“Today’s announcement by the Governor, awarding three contracts for more than 4,000 MW of offshore wind generation, shows that New York is prepared to double down on this clean, renewable and job-creating resource, and will go a long way towards instilling confidence in a market that has recently faced tremendous headwinds.

New York League of Conservation Voters President Julie Tighe said, “As the climate crisis bears down on us and the health of our population and planet continue to suffer the damaging effects of burning fossil fuels, we can no longer afford to just talk about renewable energy, we need to deliver real projects on the ground. The awarding of an additional 6.2 GW of wind, solar, and hydro power is a big step to meeting the state’s renewable energy goals and a major win for public health and the environment. We applaud Governor Hochul and NYSERDA President Doreen Harris for going big in the latest round of renewable energy procurements.”

Citizens Campaign for the Environment Executive Director Adrienne Esposito said, “Climate change impacts have continued to assault New York this year with more flooding in New York City subways, mud slides in Westchester and significant erosion along Fire Island and Long Island’s south shore.  Now is the time to act! Transitioning to renewable energy is the primary action we need to take to fight climate change.  Today’s announcement establishes a pivotal turning point in advancing green energy in our state. We are excited and hopeful that New York will lead the way for our Nation to act just as vigorously and decisively as New York.  We applaud Governor Hochul and NYSERDA for this historic action which will not only fight climate change, but also result in cleaner air, healthier communities and uplift our economy.”

President of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Nassau and Suffolk Counties, and President of the National Offshore Wind Training Center Matthew Aracich said,”Here is another shining example by Governor Hochul honoring her pledge to advance the offshore wind industry here in NY. The magnitude of these projects will undoubtedly spur economic growth that will reverberate throughout the state and simultaneously provide a true pathway to the middle class. The work mentioned in today’s announcement allows skilled labor’s registered apprenticeship training programs to grow at an unprecedented rate and holds the key to maintaining a vibrant future for the Long Island Region. When we build green energy projects at a scale necessary, we eliminate our dependence on fossil fuels as quickly as possible.”

New York State’s Nation-Leading Climate Plan
New York State’s nation-leading climate agenda calls for an orderly and just transition that creates family-sustaining jobs, continues to foster a green economy across all sectors and ensures that at least 35 percent, with a goal of 40 percent, of the benefits of clean energy investments are directed to disadvantaged communities. Guided by some of the nation’s most aggressive climate and clean energy initiatives, New York is on a path to achieving a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and economywide carbon neutrality by mid-century. A cornerstone of this transition is New York’s unprecedented clean energy investments, including more than $55 billion in 145 large-scale renewable and transmission projects across the state, $6.8 billion to reduce building emissions, $3.3 billion to scale up solar, more than $1 billion for clean transportation initiatives, and over $2 billion in NY Green Bank commitments. These and other investments are supporting more than 165,000 jobs in New York’s clean energy sector in 2021 and over 3,000 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality, New York also adopted zero-emission vehicle regulations, including requiring all new passenger cars and light-duty trucks sold in the State be zero emission by 2035. Partnerships are continuing to advance New York’s climate action with nearly 400 registered and more than 100 certified Climate Smart Communities, nearly 500 Clean Energy Communities, and the State’s largest community air monitoring initiative in 10 disadvantaged communities across the state to help target air pollution and combat climate change. 

FACT SHEET: President Biden Designates Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument

New monument – marking fifth new National Monument created by President Biden – will conserve nearly 1 million acres of greater Grand Canyon landscape sacred to Tribal Nations and Indigenous peoples and advance President Biden’s historic climate and conservation agenda

In conjunction with the President’s visit, Biden-Harris Administration announces $44 million investment to strengthen climate resilience across America’s National Parks system
 

Wupatki. President Biden signed a proclamation establishing the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument in Arizona, conserving nearly 1 million acres of greater Grand Canyon landscape sacred to Tribal Nations and Indigenous peoples and advance President Biden’s historic climate and conservation agenda. The President also announced $44 million investment to strengthen climate resilience across America’s National Parks system © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
 

As part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s unprecedented commitment to protect America’s natural wonders for future generations, honor culturally significant areas, and tell a more complete story of our nation, President Biden signed a proclamation establishing the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument in Arizona. Baaj nwaavjo (BAAHJ – NUH-WAAHV-JOH) means “where Indigenous peoples roam” in the Havasupai language, and i’tah kukveni (EE-TAH – KOOK-VENNY) means “our ancestral footprints” in the Hopi language. The name reflects the significance of the Grand Canyon area, not just to one, but to many Tribal Nations.

This designation, which marks the fifth new national monument established by President Biden, honors Tribal Nations and Indigenous peoples by protecting sacred ancestral places and their historically and scientifically important features, while conserving our public lands, protecting wildlife habitat and clean water, and supporting local economies.

Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument will conserve nearly 1 million acres of public lands surrounding Grand Canyon National Park. The new monument protects thousands of cultural and sacred sites that are precious to Tribal Nations in the Southwest – including the Havasupai Tribe, Hopi Tribe, Hualapai Tribe, Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians, Las Vegas Paiute Tribe, Moapa Band of Paiutes, Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah, Navajo Nation, San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe, Yavapai-Apache Nation, Pueblo of Zuni, and the Colorado River Indian Tribes. These sites include Gray Mountain, called Dziłbeeh by the Navajo, which is a part of Navajo ceremonial songs, stories, and rituals. The President will sign the proclamation at Red Butte, a sacred site called Wii’i Gdwiisa by the Havasupai, which towers above the southern portion of the monument.

In conjunction with the President’s visit to Arizona, and ahead of the 1-year anniversary of the Inflation Reduction Act, the Biden-Harris Administration is also announcing $44 million to strengthen climate resilience across America’s iconic National Parks system, including 43 projects across 39 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. To mark this announcement and uplift the latest climate and conservation actions by the Biden-Harris Administration, Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff and the Department of the Interior’s Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Shannon Estenoz will travel tomorrow to Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. Through his Investing in America agenda, the President has delivered record funding for conservation, climate action, and environmental justice.

Since day one, President Biden has delivered on the most ambitious climate and conservation agenda in American history. That includes the President’s America the Beautiful Initiative, which is supporting locally led conservation efforts across the country with a goal to conserve and restore 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030.

The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to honoring and respecting Tribal sovereignty, protecting Tribal homelands, and incorporating Indigenous Knowledge and robust Tribal consultation into planning and decision-making. Today’s designation supports Tribally led conservation efforts and helps address injustices of the past, including when Tribes were forcibly removed from lands that later became Grand Canyon National Park.

The new Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument joins other iconic places protected by the Biden-Harris Administration, including Avi Kwa Ame National Monument in Nevada, Castner Range National Monument in Texas, Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument in Colorado, Bristol Bay and the Tongass National Forest in Alaska, and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and surrounding watershed in Minnesota. 

Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument

The Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument protects and preserves the rich cultural, ecological, scientific, historic, and scenic value of the greater Grand Canyon landscape. Today’s monument designation protects these sacred places for cultural and spiritual uses, while respecting existing livestock grazing permits and preserving access for hunting and fishing.

The new monument is made up of three distinct areas to the south, northeast, and northwest of Grand Canyon National Park. It is bordered by the Kanab watershed boundary and Kanab Creek drainage in the northwestern area and the Havasupai Indian Reservation and Navajo Nation in the southern area, and stretches from Marble Canyon to the edge of the Kaibab Plateau in the northeastern area. The monument spans 917,618 acres of public lands managed by the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management and the Department of Agriculture’s U.S. Forest Service.

The area includes many natural wonders, from sweeping plateaus and deep canyons to meandering creeks and streams that ultimately flow into the mighty Colorado River, providing water to millions of people across the Southwest. The unique interplay of geology and hydrology support some of the most biodiverse habitats in the region ranging from sagebrush to savanna, providing refuge for iconic wildlife including bighorn sheep, mule deer, bison, peregrine falcons, bald eagles, owls, and songbirds. The new monument contains over 3,000 known cultural and historic sites, including 12 properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Today’s designation recognizes and is a step toward addressing the history of dispossession and exclusion of Tribal Nations and Indigenous peoples in the area, including that occurring when the federal government established the Grand Canyon Forest Reserve in 1893, Grand Canyon National Monument in 1908, and Grand Canyon National Park in 1919. 

The proclamation continues the Biden-Harris Administration’s unprecedented engagement with Tribal Nations around traditional homelands and sacred sites. It directs the Department of the Interior and Department of Agriculture to engage with Tribes through consultations, co-stewardship agreements, contracts, financial and technical assistance, and other mechanisms to ensure that that the management of the monument occurs in collaboration with Tribes and reflects the Indigenous Knowledge and special expertise Tribes have amassed over countless generations. The proclamation also establishes the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon Commission to advance the objective of co-stewardship of the monument. 

Today’s designation preserves this vital landscape for outdoor recreation, including camping, hiking, biking, and other recreational activities, consistent with applicable law. Hunting and fishing will continue to be allowed throughout the monument, including in the Kanab Creek area.

The proclamation recognizes and reaffirms the State of Arizona’s ongoing primary role in the management of wildlife within the monument and directs federal agencies to build on their ongoing partnerships with the Arizona Game and Fish Department to further strengthen these collaborative efforts. Hunting, fishing, live trapping and transplantation, activities associated with scientific resources management including research, census, and monitoring of populations, and a wide range of other wildlife management activities will continue to be allowed within the national monument. The proclamation further directs the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture to build on their ongoing partnerships with the Arizona Game and Fish Department to explore developing new or updating existing memoranda of understanding to further improve these collaborative efforts.

Recognizing the critical role that sportsmen and sportswomen have played, and continue to play, in wildlife restoration and conservation in the area, the proclamation requires that a monument advisory committee include representation from both the sportsmen and sportswomen community, as well as representation from the Arizona Game and Fish Department. It also directs the monument advisory committee to include representation from the ranching community. The proclamation respects existing livestock grazing permits on lands within the monument.

The national monument designation recognizes and respects valid existing rights. The proclamation specifies that maintenance and upgrades to water infrastructure for flood control, utilities, water district facilities, wildlife water catchments, and other similar uses may continue; and that utility lines, pipelines, and roads can continue to be maintained, upgraded, and built consistent with proper care and management of the monument objects. Existing mining claims – predating a 20-year mineral withdraw initiated in 2012 – will remain in place, and the two approved mining operations within the boundaries of the monument would be able to operate.

The national monument only includes federal lands and does not include State and private lands within the boundary or affect the property rights of the State or private land owners. 

Background on Antiquities Act Designations

President Theodore Roosevelt first used the Antiquities Act in 1906 to designate Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming. Since then, 18 presidents of both parties have used this authority to protect unique natural and historic features in America, including the Statue of Liberty, the Colorado’s Canyon of the Ancients, and New Mexico’s Gila Cliff Dwellings.

The Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument is President Biden’s fifth new monument designation, following the creation of the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Monument in Illinois and Mississippi last month, the Castner Range National Monument in Texas and Avi Kwa Ame National Monument in Nevada this spring, and the Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument in Colorado last fall.

FACT SHEET: Historic Biden Administration Investments in Water Infrastructure, Lead Pipe Replacement Are Creating New Domestic Manufacturing Jobs

Major US manufacturers committing to new investments and hiring in response to historic $50B investment in water infrastructure from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda

 
Senior executives from major U.S.-based manufacturers and distributors of water infrastructure parts joined senior Biden-Harris Administration officials at the White House to announce new private sector investments spurred by President Biden’s Investing in America agenda. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes a more than $50 billion investment in the nation’s water infrastructure – including $15 billion set-aside for lead service line replacement. This historic investment represents a transformational increase in federal investment in the nation’s drinking water infrastructure over the next five years. By requiring Made in-America products when using federal funding to rebuild infrastructure, President Biden is not only investing in fixing our country’s water systems and replacing lead pipes, but also creating good-paying jobs and new domestic manufacturing.
 
To meet the increased demand for American-made water products, American manufacturers are stepping up their production capacity with new investments, creating jobs and American industrial capacity in the process. Administration officials have also emphasized the importance of collaborating with unions to ensure these investments build the middle class from the middle out and bottom up, not top-down.
 
This week, the following firms announced tens of millions in new manufacturing investments and hiring commitments:

  • A.Y. McDonald Mfg. Co. is an Iowa-based 167-year-old 5th generation family business with three manufacturing locations in Iowa, and Tennessee, with plans underway to build a state-of-the-art brass foundry in Wisconsin. Since the beginning of 2019, A.Y. McDonald Mfg. Co. has doubled the manufacturing space of their Tennessee facility with a 100,000 square feet addition and has undertaken the largest capacity expansion in the company’s history having invested millions of dollars in new machinery and automation. Their production workforce has grown 45% since the end of 2020.  In addition, parent company A.Y. McDonald Industries built a 100,000 square foot warehouse to house finished goods and maintenance supplies to free up additional manufacturing space in the 3 existing A.Y. McDonald Mfg. Co. factories.  
     
  • Cerro Flow Products, an Illinois-based pipe manufacturer that is part of the Marmon/Berkshire Hathaway Group – has 100% domestic manufacturing facilities and is currently looking to hire 23 individuals for good-paying union jobs as soon as possible at their Sauget facility. Cerro is also standing ready to add additional shifts at their primary mill, as well as utilize additional manufacturing capabilities at other Cerro sites as demand for water products increases due to federal investments. Cerro has also invested in new workforce development programs, additional upskilling for maintenance and electrical staff, and sponsors a tuition reimbursement program unique to the industry. 
     
  • Commercial Forged Products, an Illinois based company that does not normally make water parts, plans to invest $9 million in additional forging and ancillary equipment, while adding 15 new United Steelworker positions across multiple shifts, as well as hire 4 additional skilled machinists in its Bedford Park facility.
     
  • The Ford Meter Box Company, an Indiana-based company, is expanding its production capacity to meet private and public waterworks infrastructure demand in the long term, as well as lead service line replacement project needs in the near term. Ford has hired 40 new employees already this year, added new shifts, and invested in new equipment, all of which will increase production by 20%.  The construction of a new 300,000 sq. ft. state of the art foundry will be announced this summer, pending final site selection. The new facility, along with committed downstream manufacturing investment, will increase production an additional 42%. This nine-figure manufacturing investment is the largest expansion project in the company’s 125-year history. Additionally, the continued pursuit of a complementary “investment in people” includes a Manufacturing Support Specialist Program, a two-year training program to advance employees into salaried manufacturing, support, and administrative positions.
     
  • Mueller Water Products, an Atlanta-based company, has invested  approximately $150 million in three capital projects in recent years, expanding its U.S. production capacity due in part to the billions of dollars in water infrastructure investments made in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The largest capital project is a new brass foundry located in Decatur, Illinois, which will significantly expand its capacity to produce products, including those commonly used in lead service line replacements. The new foundry, which will replace an existing aging facility, uses a state-of-the-art brass alloy to eliminate dependence on imported Bismuth from China and increases recyclability.  The new foundry – expected to be fully online by 2024 and employ United Steelworkers – and other production improvements are also expected to increase Mueller’s production capacity for brass and other water infrastructure products. Mueller already employs about 465 United Steelworkers in Decatur, and the firm’s investments will help replace 100% of lead service lines and deploy the largest single investment in U.S. water infrastructure.
     
  • Quality Steel Products, a Michigan-based firm that previously did not make components in the water space, has committed to expand its business to meet upcoming demand by adding employees and additional shifts, investing millions of dollars in new forging presses and equipment, induction furnaces, transformers and capital improvement process.

Through historic levels of funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and American Rescue Plan, annual appropriations, and harnessing a variety of tools across federal, state, and local government, the Biden-Harris Administration is delivering tangible progress on the groundbreaking Biden-Harris Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan to replace all lead service lines in America in the next decade.
 
All Bipartisan Infrastructure Law investments are subject to the Build America, Buy America Act, which requires iron, steel, manufactured products and construction materials used in infrastructure projects to be produced in the United States. President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is revitalizing American manufacturing, including in once hollowed out communities, and creating good-paying jobs across the country. Under President Biden’s manufacturing boom, nearly 800,000 new manufacturing jobs have been created, and private sector companies have announced over $480 billion in manufacturing and clean energy investments since President Biden took office. This week’s announcements provide further evidence his approach to industrial policy is creating good jobs and rebuilding our manufacturing capacity while ensuring every family can access clean, safe drinking water. 

FACT SHEET: Biden Signs Executive Order to Revitalize Our Nation’s Commitment to Environmental Justice for All

Pittsburgh’s dirty coal legacy. On the day before Earth Day 2023, standing beside environmental justice leaders, climate advocates and community leaders in the Rose Garden, President Biden  announced bold new actions to protect the health and environment of communities across America, including a new executive order making environmental justice the mission of every single executive agency. The executive order will direct agencies to address gaps in science and data to better understand and prevent the cumulative impacts of pollution on people’s health. It will create a new Office of Environmental Justice in the White House to coordinate all environmental justice efforts across the federal government. And it will require agencies to notify nearby communities in the event of a release of toxic substances from a federal facility. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
 

President Biden has done more than any prior president to tackle the climate crisis.

On the day before Earth Day 2023, standing beside environmental justice leaders, climate advocates and community leaders in the Rose Garden, President Biden announced bold new actions to protect the health and environment of communities across America, including a new executive order making environmental justice the mission of every single executive agency. The executive order will direct agencies to address gaps in science and data to better understand and prevent the cumulative impacts of pollution on people’s health. It will create a new Office of Environmental Justice in the White House to coordinate all environmental justice efforts across the federal government. And it will require agencies to notify nearby communities in the event of a release of toxic substances from a federal facility.

Vice President Kamala Harris is traveling to Florida to announce new investments as part of the President’s Investing in America agenda to strengthen coastal resilience to climate change impacts and extreme storms – this after record flooding in Fort Lauderdale.

The announcements come on the heels of a new report showing that the private sector has announced and advanced more than 190 clean energy projects nationwide since the President signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law, totaling more than $242 billion in investments.

The President also is highlighting how his historic environmental justice and climate agenda stands in stark contrast to the dangerous vision Speaker McCarthy and his extreme caucus have for our planet, our economy, and public health:

  • While we’re lowering costs for American families through clean energy tax credits, extreme MAGA Republicans are safeguarding handouts for Big Oil companies.
  • While we’re creating thousands of clean energy jobs in communities across America, extreme MAGA Republicans are fighting to send those jobs back to China.
  • While we’re cleaning up toxic pollution at Superfund sites and brownfields, extreme MAGA Republicans are fighting to make it easier for oil and gas companies to pollute the air we breathe.
  • While we’re replacing lead pipes so all Americans have clean water to drink, extreme MAGA Republicans want to make it easier for refineries to use toxic chemicals like hydrofluoric acid, which causes severe burns, damages people’s eyes, and literally melts bones.
  • While we’re plugging millions of orphaned wells that emit methane and other dangerous gases, extreme MAGA Republicans would allow mining and energy companies to store hazardous waste without a permit.

Speaker McCarthy and his extreme caucus’ proposals, including H.R. 1, would be a climate and health disaster that President Biden won’t allow on his watch.

As House Republicans move to extort a repeal of President Joe Biden’s historic investment in climate action by holding out raising the debt limit which would crash the global economy and cause massive rise in interest rates, Biden has revitalized a national commitment to environmental justice for all. The White House provided this fact sheet: –Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

President Biden and Vice President Harris believe that every person has a right to breathe clean air, drink clean water, and live in a healthy community – now and into the future. During his first week in office, President Biden launched the most ambitious environmental justice agenda in our nation’s history. To continue delivering on that vision, today the President will sign an executive order further embedding environmental justice into the work of federal agencies to achieve real, measurable progress that communities can count on.
 
The Executive Order is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s whole-of-government effort to confront longstanding environmental injustices and inequities. For far too long, communities across our country have faced persistent environmental injustice through toxic pollution, underinvestment in infrastructure and critical services, and other disproportionate environmental harms often due to a legacy of racial discrimination including redlining. These communities with environmental justice concerns face even greater burdens due to climate change.
 
With this action, the President is working to ensure that all people – regardless of race, background, income, ability, Tribal affiliation, or zip code – can benefit from the vital safeguards enshrined in our nation’s foundational environmental and civil rights laws. That means cleaner air and water, reduced risk for asthma, cancer, and other health burdens, and better access to green space, safe and affordable housing, and clean transportation.
 
For President Biden, protecting our planet starts with ensuring everyone lives in a safe and healthy environment. Throughout Earth Week, President Biden, Vice President Harris, and other Cabinet-level officials are holding events and announcing commitments focused on how the President’s Investing in America agenda is creating good-paying clean energy jobs, lowering costs, meeting our climate goals, advancing environmental justice and conservation, and strengthening communities that for too long were left behind or left out.
 
The new Executive Order, Revitalizing Our Nation’s Commitment to Environmental Justice for All, will:

  • Deepen the Biden-Harris Administration’s whole-of-government commitment to environmental justice. The new Executive Order makes clear that the pursuit of environmental justice is a duty of all executive branch agencies and should be incorporated into their missions. It also affirms that environmental justice is central to the implementation of our bedrock civil rights and environmental laws.
     
  • Better protect overburdened communities from pollution and environmental harms. The Executive Order directs agencies to consider measures to address and prevent disproportionate and adverse environmental and health impacts on communities, including the cumulative impacts of pollution and other burdens like climate change. Additionally, it requires agencies to notify nearby communities in the event of a release of toxic substances from a federal facility, and to hold a public meeting to share information on resulting health risks and necessary precautions.
     
  • Strengthen engagement with communities and mobilize federal agencies to confront existing and legacy barriers and injustices. Communities with environmental justice concerns have long experienced exclusion and other significant barriers to having a voice in federal decision-making. The Executive Order recognizes this reality and that racism is a fundamental driver of environmental injustice. It directs agencies to actively facilitate meaningful public participation and just treatment of all people in agency decision-making. The Executive Order also underscores the vital importance of Tribal consultation and coordination, including to strengthen nation-to-nation relationships on issues involving environmental justice.
     
  • Promote the latest science, data, and research, including on cumulative impacts. The Executive Order directs agencies to identify and address gaps in science, data, and research related to environmental justice, to advance the analysis of cumulative impacts, and to make information on environmental and health concerns more publicly accessible to communities. To address the need for a coordinated strategy for identifying and filling environmental justice data and research gaps, the Executive Order establishes a new Environmental Justice Subcommittee within the National Science and Technology Council, led by the Office of Science and Technology Policy.
     
  • Expand interagency coordination and launch a new Office of Environmental Justice within the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Building on Executive Order 14008, the Executive Order adds agencies to the White House Environmental Justice Interagency Council to further a whole-of-government strategy to address current and historic environmental injustice. The Executive Order also establishes the White House Office of Environmental Justice, led by the Federal Chief Environmental Justice Officer, and tasks it with coordinating the implementation of environmental justice policy across the federal government, ensuring that federal efforts can evolve alongside our understanding of environmental justice.
     
  • Increase accountability and transparency in federal environmental justice policy. The Executive Order charges federal agencies with conducting new assessments of their environmental justice efforts and developing, implementing, and periodically updating an environmental justice strategic plan. These Environmental Justice Strategic Plans and Assessments will be submitted to the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and made public on a regular basis, including through the Environmental Justice Scorecard, a new government-wide assessment of federal agencies’ efforts to advance environmental justice.
     
  • Honor and build on the foundation of ongoing environmental justice work. Under the Executive Order, agencies will continue their efforts to advance environmental justice in ways that complement and deepen prior work. The Executive Order uses the term “disproportionate and adverse” as a simpler, modernized version of the phrase “disproportionately high and adverse” used in Executive Order 12898. Those phrases have the same meaning, but removing the word “high” eliminates potential misunderstanding that agencies should only be considering large disproportionate effects.

This action follows through on President Biden’s promise to modernize and improve how the federal government confronts environmental injustice to address the needs of present and future generations – a promise he made following meaningful engagement with communities with environmental justice concerns and solidified in Executive Order 14008, Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad. The Executive Order reflects the values, goals, and recommendations of the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council (WHEJAC), an expert body of leaders, researchers, practitioners, and community members. In line with the WHEJAC’s recommendations, the Executive Order outlines an ambitious approach to environmental justice that is informed by scientific research, high-quality data, and meaningful engagement with communities. It also reaffirms that the federal government must continue to be transparent and accountable for its actions.
 
The Executive Order builds on and supplements the foundational efforts of Executive Order 12898, signed by President Bill Clinton nearly 30 years ago. For the first time in our nation’s history, Executive Order 12898 recognized and sought to address what community members and leaders had been saying for decades: harmful pollution disproportionally impacts low-income communities and communities of color, among other vulnerable communities.
 
In addition to the Executive Order, today the Biden-Harris Administration is announcing other new steps to further the President’s historic commitment to environmental justice:

  • Publishing the first-ever Environmental Justice Scorecard. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB), CEQ, and the U.S. Digital Service are publishing Phase One of the Environmental Justice Scorecard, the first government-wide assessment of federal agencies’ efforts to advance environmental justice. The first version of the Scorecard establishes a baseline for tracking the federal government’s efforts through 24 agencies to secure environmental justice, including to advance the Justice40 Initiative. Over time, it will show how the Administration’s actions are making meaningful changes in communities. The Scorecard incorporates recommendations from the WHEJAC and feedback from the public, environmental justice stakeholders, and experts.
     
  • Launching the White House Campaign for Environmental Justice. The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to ensuring that people are seeing and experiencing the impacts of the President’s environmental justice agenda in their communities. To strengthen partnerships with communities that have been left behind for too long, the Administration is announcing the White House Campaign for Environmental Justice. The campaign, which is being kicked off today at the launch of the 21st Urban Waters Federal Partnership in Raleigh, North Carolina, will redouble the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to meet people where they are and better focus agency resources and attention on the needs of marginalized and overburdened communities.
     
  • Announcing new Justice40 covered programs. Through the Justice40 Initiative, the Biden-Harris Administration is reshaping hundreds of federal programs to ensure that 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities. Today three additional agencies, the Department of Commerce, the National Science Foundation, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), announced their Justice40 covered programs. Now nearly 470 programs across nineteen federal agencies are covered under the President’s Justice40 Initiative.
     
  • Taking new steps to combat plastic pollution in communities. The Biden-Harris Administration recognizes that the plastic pollution crisis is an environmental justice issue, with disadvantaged communities in the U.S. and globally bearing social, economic, and public health burdens across the entire lifecycle of plastics. Today the Environmental Protection Agency is releasing a draft National Strategy on Preventing Plastic Pollution to combat the disparate impacts on communities affected by plastic from production to waste. The White House is also announcing a new Interagency Policy Committee (IPC) on Plastic Pollution and a Circular Economy. The IPC will coordinate federal efforts on plastic pollution, prioritizing public health, economic development, and equity to ensure that the benefits of acting on plastic pollution – including jobs, minimized exposure to harmful chemicals, and clean communities – are available to all.

Today’s announcements build on more than two years of progress under President Biden’s leadership to advance environmental justice. That progress includes:

For more on the Biden-Harris Administration’s work to advance environmental justice, visit https://www.whitehouse.gov/environmentaljustice/.