Washington Weekly: May 12, 2021
- On Thursday, President Biden released a report outlining his America the Beautiful initiative with the goal of conserving 30 percent of the country’s land and water by 2030.
- See LCV’s statement in support of the “30×30” goal
- Clean Energy Jobs Update:
- The National Solar Jobs Census 2020, released last week, showed that solar jobs declined by 6.7% in 2020 despite record solar installations due to increase in labor productivity.
- On Tuesday, the Biden administration approved the first ever large-scale offshore wind farm in the U.S. The plan calls for 62 wind turbines to be built off the shore of Martha’s Vineyard, MA, creating enough energy to power 400,000 homes.
- On Tuesday, the White House announced the President will visit the Ford Motor Company headquarters in Dearborn, MI next week, one day before the company launches its new F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck.
- On April 30, President Biden declared May 2021 to be National Mental Health Awareness Month. While education and awareness around mental health issues have thankfully become more commonplace in recent years — and especially during the COVID-19 pandemic — there is often little public knowledge of the link between climate change and mental health. In an effort to bring more awareness to this issue, we will try to include articles in this newsletter throughout the month highlighting climate change’s threat to mental health.
- Tomorrow at 12:30pm, Axios is hosting a virtual event presented by Climate Power on the future of clean energy investment and jobs, featuring Energy Secretary Granholm, Governor Whitmer, and Senator Wyden, Chair of the Senate Finance Committee. You can register for the 30 minute event here.
If you’re following environmental issues in Michigan right now, you’ve probably seen that today, May 12, 2021, is the deadline by which Enbridge Energy must shut down the Line 5 pipeline that runs under the Straits of Mackinac (per Governor Whitmer’s November shutdown order). While much has been made of the devastating risks the pipeline poses to over 700 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, and a legal battle over continued operation of Line 5 continues, there has been less attention given to the very real climate impacts of Line 5 and the proposed tunnel.
The consensus of oil pipelines contributing to carbon emissions has been growing, however, and in April, the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) ruled that climate change considerations may be included in Enbridge’s Line 5 permit hearing. This historic ruling means that, for the first time, greenhouse gas emissions will be included in a review under the Michigan Environmental Protection Act.
Despite today’s deadline, Enbridge has vowed to defy the order and continue to operate the pipeline illegally beyond midnight tonight. On Tuesday, Governor Whitmer threatened to seize Enbridge’s profits if they continue to defy the order.
For more on Line 5, watch this video outlining 5 things you need to know about the shutdown, and check out Michigan LCV’s most recent People, Planet, Public Health webinar about Line 5. Also, if you’re so included, it’s not too late to sign up for socially distant rally events tomorrow calling on Enbridge to shut down the pipeline.
Our New (Climate) Normal
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued its new “climate normals” last week based on three decades of data related to temperature, precipitation, and other variables from locations across the country. Unsurprisingly, the U.S. has gotten hotter every 30 years since 1900, and much more drastically so in the past 30 years. See how much hotter your hometown is today than when you were born.