State of the Union 2022: The Environment

earth blue banner sign Photo by Markus Spiske on

I sit here at my desk believing that many of my readers wonder when I’ll publish the next installment of State of the Union. Maybe I’m delirious. Still, I’m certain some of you care. Elections do matter. Party Platforms do mean something. Things are getting done. I’m always surprised by just how much. Maybe you will be, too.

(I apologize to those of you who view this on a mobile devise. The table format does make it a bit difficult to read.)

Combating the Climate Crisis and Pursuing Environmental Justice:

Michigan is where I was born and raised. Not too far from Flint. Yes, that Flint, Michigan. The one with the water crisis. Maybe my antennae were tuned to it. Maybe it’s because the Great Lakes are the largest reservoir of fresh water in the world. At any rate, the Democratic Platform mentions Michigan several times in the opening paragraphs of this section.

We willBySo thatProgress
Rebuild our economy from the COVID-19 pandemicMobilizing historic, transformative public and private investments.We launch a clean energy revolution The Infrastructure and Jobs Act promises 1.5 million jobs/year.
It requires all construction workers on projects funded by the deal to be paid prevailing wages, according to the Davis-Bacon Act.
Invests hundreds of millions in workforce development, giving workers in the electric grid, clean buildings, and industrial sectors access to training in cutting-edge technologies that will spur their careers in the years to come.
Establishes a multi-agency Energy Jobs Council to work with stakeholders and oversee the development and release of energy jobs and workforce data to inform decisions by governments, businesses, and other stakeholders at the national, state, and local level.
Use federal resources and authorities across all agencies to deploy proven clean energy solutions.Creating millions of family-supporting and union jobs;
upgrading and make resilient our energy, water, wastewater, and transportation infrastructure;

Developing and manufacture next-generation technologies
We address the climate crisis right here in the United States.When combined with the Build Back Better Act, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal will add an average of 1.5 million jobs per year over the course of the decade, while accelerating America’s path to full employment and increasing labor force participation. These jobs will be spread across every pocket of the country, and the vast majority will not require a college degree. (From the US Chamber of Commerce)
Reverse the Trump Administration’s dangerous and destructive rollbacks of critical climate and environmental protections.Rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement;

Restoring protections for irreplaceable public lands and waters, from Bears Ears National Monument to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge;

Following science and the law by reducing harmful methane and carbon pollution from the energy sector.
The United States is back in the position of global leadership where we belong.The United States rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement in 2021.

Several Department of Energy regulations introduced during the previous administration was rescinded. These include Appliance energy conservation standards; Showerhead energy conservation standards; Take of migratory birds; Scientific Transparency Rule; Benefit-Cost Rule. To learn more about these regulations and why they were rescinded, click here.
Make investments to in education and trainingRestoring and protecting workers’ rights to organize and bargain collectively;

Including people of color, low-income Americans, women, veterans, people with disabilities, and unemployed energy workers for jobs in clean energy-related industries.
We create millions of family-supporting and union jobs in clean energy generation, energy efficiency, clean transportation, advanced manufacturing, and sustainable agriculture across America. The Infrastructure and Jobs Act includes a lot about training and education as described in the first row of this table. Specific language regarding union training is included.
Mobilize a diverse new generation of young workers through a corps and cohort.??We conserve our public lands;

We deliver new clean energy, including to low-income communities and communities of color;

We address the changing climate,  through pre-apprenticeship opportunities, joint labor-management registered apprenticeships for training, and direct-hire programs that put good-paying and union jobs within reach for more Americans.
Youth and conservation corp is mentioned throughout the Infrastructure and Jobs Act. 

Recruitment for the Clean Energy Corp began in January 2022.
Reach net-zero emissions as rapidly as possible.
Introducing technology-neutral standards for clean energy and
energy efficiency;

Expanding solar and wind energy deployment through community-based and utility-scale systems, including in rural areas;

Install 500 million solar panels, including eight million solar roofs and community solar energy
systems, and 60,000 wind turbines;

Leveraging federal policy to manufacture renewable energy solutions in America.
We are free carbon pollution from power plants by 2035;

We turn American ingenuity into American jobs by Leveraging federal policy to manufacture renewable energy solutions in America.
The Infrastructure and Jobs Act includes $550 million in the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program(EECBG) and $500 million in the State Energy Program to provide grants to communities, cities, states, U.S. territories, and Indian tribes to develop and implement clean energy programs and projects that will create jobs.

SEC. 40341. of the Infrastructure and Jobs Act is specific to “SOLAR ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES ON CURRENT AND FORMER MINE LAND.”
Build a modern electric grid to power communities with clean electricity
Investing in interstate transmission projects and advanced, 21st-century grid technologies including federal supportWe build sustainable and resilient energy grids in rural America and in Tribal areas lacking energy infrastructure. The Infrastructure and Jobs Act allocates $11 billion in DOE grants to enhance the resilience of electric infrastructure against disruptive events;
$2.5 billion Transmission Facilitation Program for DOE to help develop nationally significant transmission lines;
$3 billion in matching grants through the Smart Grid Investment Matching Grant Program. 
Reduce methane pollution through strong federal standards and targeted support Repairing and replacing aging distribution systems,We create hundreds of
thousands of jobs, including for the same pipefitters, insulators, and other workers who built the systems in the first place and who know best how to protect our communities from methane pollution.
A rule Reinstating stricter methane emissions standards was introduced 15Nov21. It returns methane limits to Obama era. It does not include repairing or replacing distribution systems.

The Infrastructure and Jobs Act includes $8 billion for clean hydrogen, which will turbo-charge our progress toward heavy trucking and industrial sectors that run without producing carbon pollution;
More than $10 billion for carbon capture, direct air capture and industrial emission reduction, providing skills-matched opportunities for fossil fuel workers;
$2.5 billion for advanced nuclear, which would provide 24/7 clean electricity and create good-paying jobs;
$1 billion for demonstration projects in rural areas and $500 million for demonstration projects in economically hard-hit communities.
We increase the number of energy-efficient homes available to low-income families;

Affordable housing and public housing promote safe, healthy, and efficient homes
Making energy-saving upgrades to up to two million low-income households and affordable and public housing units within five years;

Retrofitting construction of new units

Addressing barriers and increasing funding for programs that enable energy efficiency improvements for low-income families in urban and rural areas, including through the Weatherization Assistance Program and the Rural Utilities Service.

Lower families’ energy bills 

We Create hundreds of thousands of jobs.
The Infrastructure and Jobs Act includes a section for federal support for local decision making to increase options for communities that lack access
to affordable transportation to improve access to jobs, and affordable housing.

Invest $3.5 billion in the Weatherization Assistance Program to increase energy efficiency, increase health and safety, and reduce energy costs for low-income households by hundreds of dollars every year.
Set a bold, national goal of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions for all new buildings by 2030;
Incentivize tens of billions of dollars in private-sector investment to retrofit four million buildings;

Helping local governments save money and cut pollution by weatherizing and upgrading energy systems in hospitals, schools, public housing, and municipal buildings;

Encouraging states and cities to adopt energy-efficient building codes.
We have 100% clean building sector.The Infrastructure and Jobs Act includes an amendment COMPONENTS OF ZERO-NET-ENERGY COMMERCIAL BUILDINGS INITIATIVE.—Section 422(d)(3) of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 to include “demand-response technologies, practices, and policies)’’

Seven pages of the Infrastructure and Jobs Act are devoted to ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND BUILDING INFRASTRUCTURE
Reestablish strong standards for clean cars and trucks that consider the most recent advances in technology, and accelerate the adoption of zero-emission vehicles in the United States while Convening California and other states with labor, auto industry, and environmental leaders to inform ambitious executive actions;

Reclaiming market share for domestically produced vehicles.
We lead the way in building a clean, 21st-century transportation
system and a stronger domestic manufacturing base powered by high-wage and union jobs
Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards was reinstated. This requires DoT to establish fuel economy standards for passenger vehicles for model years 2022 through 2025.
Support private adoption of affordable low-pollution and zero-emission vehicles;

Increase investments in public transportation;

Invest in modernizing our freight infrastructure, including ports, rail, and maritime freight, in order
Transitioning the entire fleet of 500,000 school buses to American-made, zero-emission alternatives within five years;

Transitioning the three million vehicles in the federal, state, and local fleets to zero-emission vehicles;

Partnering with state
and local governments to install at least 500,000 public charging stations from coast to coast.
We reduce harmful air pollution and protect our children’s health;

We reduce air and water pollution, improve public health, create jobs, and improve economic competitiveness;

We close the gap with other modern countries.
The Infrastructure and Jobs Act included $5 billion EPA effort to replace thousands of polluting diesel school buses with electric buses.

The act includes provisions for public charging stations.
Support measures to build a clean, equitable, and globally competitive manufacturing sector, including national Buy Clean and Buy America standards;

Incentivizing production of low-carbon building and construction materials, like steel, cement, and timber, here in the United States;

Applying a carbon adjustment fee at the border to products from countries that fail to live up to their commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement.
We build the clean energy infrastructure of the future using American-made materials;

We don’t let polluters undermine American competitiveness.
Seven pages of the Infrastructure and Jobs Act are devoted to ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND BUILDING INFRASTRUCTURE

According to the 2021 Trade Policy Agenda published by the Office of the United States Trade Representative, the Biden Administration will consider “carbon border adjustments”.
Partner with farmers;Expanding federal programs to help farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners pursue high-productivity, lower-emission, and regenerative agricultural practices;American agriculture sector are the first in the world to achieve net-zero emissions, opening up new sources of income for farmers in the process;

We build more resilient, vibrant, local and regional food systems.
The Infrastructure and Jobs Act allocates money for the Department of Agriculture:
$130,000,000 for ecosystem recovery; $80,000,000 to restore water quality; $718,000,000 for forest fire mitigation.
Support communities and
businesses nationwide in their efforts to build zero-waste and circular economies, including
efforts to eliminate plastic waste and food waste.
Increasing investments in voluntary conservation programs which will generate economic and environmental benefits for farmers and their surrounding communities.

Supporting healthy coastal communities and marine ecosystems.
We sustain and enhance our economic well-being in the fishing, tourism, and clean energy industries.Funding for voluntary conservation programs appears throughout the Infrastructure and Jobs Act.

 The Infrastructure and Jobs Act sets aside at least $25,000,000/year for at-risk coastal systems until 2026 for States, Territories, and other governmental entities.
Protect children’s health.

Replacing lead service lines and remediating lead paint in homes and schools;

Remediating Superfund and other contaminated sites;

Ensuring housing and schools have adequate plumbing and safe wastewater disposal systems;

Setting science-based drinking water standards for emerging contaminants like PFOA and PFAS chemicals and establishing aggressive plans for remediating this dangerous pollution.
All Americans benefit from the clean energy economyStricter mercury pollution standards are in rulemaking. This standard was weakened during the last administration is in the process of being reestablished.

The Infrastructure and Jobs Act includes $500 million to provide cleaner schools for our children and teachers by providing energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements at public school facilities.
Ensure racial and socioeconomic equity in federal climate, energy, and infrastructure programs and identify areas of high cumulative pollution that threaten residents’ health and safety;

Create local jobs and reduce energy poverty,

Support locally-driven economic development
Developing a screening and mapping tool;

Reducing heat stress in urban neighborhoods by planting millions of trees.

Directing a significant portion of clean energy and sustainable infrastructure investments to historically marginalized communities;

Installing clean energy technologies including community solar.
All Americans benefit from a clean energy economy.The Infrastructure and Jobs Act specifically mention Digital Equity and Over-the-road bus toll equity. It also prioritizes education and job training for underrepresented groups, including racial and ethnic minorities, Indian Tribes, women, veterans, and socioeconomically disadvantaged individuals.

Commit to reducing climate risks and building back better after disasters and climate-fueled catastrophes in a resilient, green, and just manner;

extreme weather events, heat stress, and increases in disease that scientists have connected to climate change. We will i. We will partner with states and local communities to make smart investments to avoid the loss of life and property, prevent flooding, mitigate disaster risks, and adapt to costly, growing climate impacts.
Prioritizing disaster preparedness for disproportionately exposed, frontline, and vulnerable communities and those who struggle most to cope, including seniors, low-income families, and people with disabilities;Reduce the impacts of climate change felt in communities across the country.

Communites can become more economically resilient to
extreme weather events, heat stress, and increases in disease that scientists have connected to climate change
The Infrastructure and Jobs Act include provisions to study the feasibility of using bicycles as part of disaster mobilization.

The Act  provide $11 billion in grants for states, tribes, and utilities to enhance the resilience of the electric infrastructure against disruptive events such as extreme weather and cyber attacks.

The Act also includes provisions to incorporate resiliant materials into new or repaired infrastructure projects.
Rectify the inequities and inefficiencies of disaster response.Having transparent and timely reporting and oversight and protections and enforcement of disability rights.Reduce the impacts of climate change are being felt in communities across the countryThe “Transportation Access Pilot Program” contained in the Infrastructure and Jobs Act is designed to measure, monitor, and improve ground transportation for the disabled.
Avoid the loss of life and property, prevent flooding, mitigate disaster risks, and adapt to costly, growing climate impacts.Partnering with states and local communities to make smart investments.Reduce the impacts of climate change are being felt in communities across the countryThe entire Infrastructure and Jobs Act is designed to partner with States, Territories, and other government entities.
Empower and stand with workers and communities who have put their health and lives on the line and who have been impacted by the changing energy market;

Fighting to protect retirees’ health and pension benefits;

Shoring up the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund;

Expanding the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act to include those harmed by our nation’s nuclear weapons efforts including uranium miners exposed to radiation on the job;

 Increasing funding for the Appalachian Regional Commission to support locally-driven economic development priorities.
Both the House and the Senate have bills proposed that amend the Radiation and Exposure Compensation Act. Both have a 3% chance of passing according to

The House and Senate propose two bills each to address the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund. They stand a chance of 1-6% passing according to

Language in the Infrastructure and Jobs Act includes revisions to the Appalachian Regional Commission to support broadband access to the Appalachian region.
Hold fossil fuel companies accountable for cleaning up
abandoned mine lands, oil and gas wells, and industrial sites
???These facilities no longer pollute local environments and can be safely repurposed to support new economic activity, including in the heart of coal country.No activity identified.
We protect communities from sea-level rise and storm surges.Increasing support for restoring wetlands;Reduce the impacts of climate change are being felt in communities across the countryNo activity found.
Support the most historically far reaching public investments and private sector incentives for research, development, demonstration, and deployment of next-generation technologies, once again Challenge the best and brightest scientists, innovators, and entrepreneurs in the world to pursue breakthrough opportunities in energy storage, heavy-duty trucking and freight solutions, sustainable aviation fuels, and direct air capture and net-negative emissions technologies;

Advancing innovative technologies that create cost-effective pathways for industries to decarbonize, including carbon capture and sequestration that permanently stores greenhouse
gases and advanced nuclear that eliminates waste associated with conventional nuclear technology,
The United States the world’s leader in innovation.

Environmental justice and other overburdened communities are protected from increases in cumulative pollution.

We create jobs for blue-collar workers, including in fenceline communities, help decarbonize American industries, and create valuable new exports to help mitigate climate change around the world.
The Infrastruction and Jobs act provides $21.5 billion in funding for clean energy demonstrations and research hubs focused on next generation technologies needed to achieve our goal of net-zero by 2050.
Preserve America’s unspoiled wildernesses for hunting, fishing, hiking, and camping.Codifying the roadless rule, and grow America’s outdoor recreation economy;

Reverse the Trump Administration’s
harmful rollbacks of protections for national monuments like Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument
America’s national parks and monuments, public lands, and marine protected areas are treasures that should be held in trust for future generationsPresident Biden restored protection for these three monuments in 2021. Click here for more information.
gray and brown pebbles near sea
Photo by Brett Schaberg on


What do you think?  Was this enlightening?

I can’t help thinking, “Where is our media? Why aren’t they covering these things? It’s hard to find all the progress, to read the Acts, to find out what regulations are in what stage of development. But not that hard. After all, I do it, and I don’t have a staff devoted to covering this kind of news. I really wish our political news covered more than the most recent tweets and other inflammatory and distracting. Those things might be exciting, yet they don’t impact my daily life like most of these things do.

Next up: Our Democracy

After that, I have Immigration and Leadership. That’s three more weeks of research. No wonder people have trouble sorting through the facts. I wonder how many people have the stamina.

If you missed my previous State of the Union reviews, here are the links:

State of the Union 2022: Criminal Justice

State of the Union 2022: The Pandemic

State of the Union 2022: It’s The Economy

State of the Union 2022: Healthcare