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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Michigan groups welcome more climate action from Biden

Posted By on Wed, Jan 27, 2021 at 1:20 PM

click to enlarge Marathon’s oil refinery in Southwest Detroit. - STEVE NEAVLING
  • Steve Neavling
  • Marathon’s oil refinery in Southwest Detroit.

Conservation groups in Michigan are welcoming the Biden administration's commitment to environmental protection.

President Biden is expected to release more policies today aimed at tackling climate change and preserving public lands.

Tim Minotas, legislative and political coordinator for the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter, felt the policies are crucial for the state, which continues to feel the climate impacts of increased rainfall and flooding, as well as deterioration of Lake Michigan's shores.

"These executive actions really will protect our public lands, water and coasts, and make great strides towards environmental justice and including those voices into any climate work," Minotas explained. "We look forward to working with them, and creating a more clean and sustainable future."

Executive actions are expected to include creating a National Climate Task Force, a moratorium on new oil and gas leases on federal lands, and a ten-year goal to conserve 30% of the country's land by 2030.

The executive actions call for a process to ensure low-income neighborhoods and communities of color no longer bear the brunt of pollution impacts. They'll also target investments to spur clean energy, housing and infrastructure development in those areas.

Minotas noted the policies are part of Biden's "Build Back Better" plan, which he predicted could help transform manufacturing hubs like Michigan.

"[We] really would love to see more policies to make sure that we are transitioning our employees and our workers, and preparing them for the jobs of the future," Minotas urged. "Making sure that we are not leaving any communities behind, especially communities that are really reliant on the fossil-fuel industry."

The Trump administration rolled back nearly 100 climate and environmental regulations, and Biden is moving quickly to reverse those actions.

Executive orders issued last week cancelled the Keystone XL pipeline and brought the U.S. back into the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.

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