Tag Archives: climate action

Ducheneaux hopes for 27 million CRP acres, praises White House initiative

The Hagstrom Report, The Fence Post

Zach Ducheneaux, administrator of the Agriculture Department’s Farm Service Agency, told The Hagstrom Report today, May 3, that he still hopes the Conservation Reserve Program will grow to 27 million acres by 2023, the maximum allowed by Congress under the 2018 farm bill, even though the current statistics on the program make that goal look difficult. The issue is important because the Biden administration has said that land in the CRP sequesters carbon, helping American agriculture contribute to efforts to mitigate climate change.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that USDA has accepted 2 million acres into the CRP program, but he also noted that producers submitted re-enrollment offers for just over half of the 3.4 million acres expiring this year and offered only 400,000 acres of new land, compared with 700,000 new acres last year. Read more here.

The Grassland Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) signup deadline is May 13, 2022.

Questions? Email Zach Ducheneaux: zachducheneaux@usda.gov or call (202) 941-4675.

USDA News Release, May 3, 2022: USDA Accepts 2 Million Acres in Offers Through Conservation Reserve Program General Signup

Lincoln officials announce new electric vehicle infrastructure plan

By Nolan Dorn, KLKN TV

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Lincoln officials announced a new initiative on Thursday that is aimed at helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Lancaster County. The main goal of the Electric Vehicle Readiness Plan is to help the city become more electric-car friendly.  It will create the infrastructure needed for those electric vehicles. Leaders across the county hope that this plan will help people use renewable resources and move away from fossil fuels. Continue reading here.

OMAHA

Saving Planet Omaha: City Takes First Steps toward A Greener Future, But Challenges Remain, by Regan Thomas, The Reader

To date, 417 cities, including 35 of the 50 largest, have some form of plan to address adverse weather effects. Today, about one in three Americans live in a place that has a Climate Action Plan.

For Omaha to catch up to other cities like Des Moines, Lincoln and even Crete, which all have or have started a Climate Action Plan, city officials need to work effectively, said Craig Moody, managing principal at Verdis Group, a sustainability and climate planning consultancy in Omaha. Moody’s organization has long helped cities like Lincoln build their own plans, and one week after last August’s flash foods, Moody published a blog giving cities a how-to guide for “one of the most important things a community can do to accelerate climate action,” saying these documents are meant to be used, not sit on a shelf.

Additional Recommended Reading: For Earth Day, key facts about Americans’ views of climate change and renewable energy, Pew Research Center

NEW ENVIRONMENT AMERICA REPORT

Shining Cities 2022: The Top U.S. Cities for Solar Energy,
Environment America Research & Policy Center

Solar power continues to expand rapidly. The United States now has 121.4 gigawatts (GW) of solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity, producing enough solar energy to power more than 23 million homes. Millions of Americans have invested in solar energy and millions more are ready to join them.

America’s major cities have played a key role in the clean energy revolution and stand to reap tremendous benefits from solar energy. As population centers, they are major sources of electricity demand and, with millions of solar rooftops, they can be major sources of clean energy production as well.

Additional Recommended Reading: From Earth Day 1970 to 2022: A story of progress 
The rise of solar power since the first Earth Day is just one example of how far we’ve come.

ALSO IN THE NEWS

On Earth Day, USDA Invests Nearly $800 Million in Critical Infrastructure to Combat Climate Change Across Rural America

U.S. Department of Agriculture News Release

WASHINGTON, April 22, 2022 – Today, in honor of Earth Day 2022, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing nearly $800 million in climate-smart infrastructure (PDF) in 40 states, Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands. These investments will strengthen the health and livelihoods of people across rural America. They include funding for 165 projects to expand access to safe water and/or clean energy for people living in disadvantaged communities.

Today’s announcement is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Building a Better America Rural Infrastructure Tour, during which Biden Administration officials are traveling to dozens of rural communities to talk about the impact of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law investments, as well as President Biden’s broader commitment to ensure federal resources reach all communities in rural America. This announcement also furthers the President’s Justice40 Initiative, which commits to delivering at least 40 percent of the benefits from federal climate and clean energy investments to disadvantaged communities. Continue reading here.

Additional Recommended Reading

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Releases Statement on President Biden’s Executive Order to Strengthen America’s Forests, Boost Wildfire Resilience, and Combat Global Deforestation

Statement by Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm on Earth Day, Department of Energy News Release 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm today issued the following statement in honor of Earth Day: 

“In the more than 50 years since the first Earth Day, climate change has escalated into a crisis no one can ignore. That’s why this Earth Day, and every day, the Department of Energy is accelerating our nation’s progress toward a clean energy future by investing in workers, communities, businesses, and the planet.   

Thanks to President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, America is investing $62 billion through the Department of Energy to lay the foundation for a clean energy economy. With the rest of the President’s agenda to Build a Better America, we’ll finally get on a path to 100% clean power by 2035 and net zero emissions by 2050—while increasing American clean energy independence and creating millions of good-paying jobs.” 

Watch an Earth Day message from Secretary Granholm and other Cabinet members here.

Conservation officials blast Gov. Ricketts’ opposition to ‘America the Beautiful’ initiative,

By Paul Hammel, Nebraska Examiner

LINCOLN — Conservation groups on Thursday lambasted claims by Gov. Pete Ricketts and a property rights group that a presidential proposal to restore forests and river banks, enhance federal conservation efforts and protect endangered species is a “land grab.” Officials with the Nebraska Farmers Union, Nebraska Wildlife Federation and other conservation groups said President Joe Biden’s “America the Beautiful Initiative,” initially called the “30-by-30” plan, is a voluntary program to enlist farmers and ranchers in conserving more land to benefit wildlife and combat climate change. Continue reading here.

Poll Discussed In The Article 

New Polling Data Shows Nebraska Voters Overwhelmingly Support Voluntary Conservation Programs and America the Beautiful Goals, Nebraska Farmers Union, April 21, 2022 

LINCOLN, NEBRASKA – Nebraska Farmers Union was joined today by leaders from three conservation organizations to release the findings of a new public opinion poll that shows overwhelming support from Nebraska voters for conservation programs, including the national goal to conserve 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030. Majorities across all parties support the national 30×30 targets, including 64 percent support among Nebraska Republicans, 90 percent support among Democrats, and 88 percent support among Independents.

MORE NEBRASKA NEWS 

Small actions can lead to bigger actions in climate change fight

By Brent Weber, WOWT

It can seem daunting, the idea of maintaining sustainability in Nebraska in the face of unprecedented global warming. But many of those we talked to for the 6 News Earth Week series, agreed, we all need to just take a deep breath and do something.

Don Preister is the guiding force behind Green Bellevue and he fights climate change by doing things he’s always done. He hangs his clothes on a line to dry, grows a healthy garden, plants hardy, drought-resistant grass, and captures more energy through his solar cells than he uses. Continue reading here.

From Solar Examples, Nebraskans for Solar
Don Priester’s Home In Bellevue
Project: 8.4-kilowatt, grid-tied, OPPD net-metered system, ground mounted on south-facing slope with 28 optimizers. Installation was completed in December 2016, with enough capacity for all electrical needs in an all-electric residence of 2000 sq. ft. with a geothermal heat pump. There is extra capacity to charge his electric vehicle.
Photo Credit: The Reader 
Installer: Solar Heat & Electric with help from the Preister brothers

More Earth Month News Stories by Brent Weber

A 100% Renewable Energy Future is Possible, and We Need It

By Paula Garcia, Senior Bilingual Energy Analyst,
Union of Concerned Scientists

Nebraskans for Solar Note: The writer provides a link to information about “a growing number of states that are already committing to 100 percent renewable or carbon-free energy.” As you undoubtedly already know, Nebraska is one of them.

A transition to renewable energy is not just one of the most consequential tools at our fingertips to act on climate, but also represents a great opportunity to increase control over our energy choices, improve the health of our communities and the planet, create jobs and wealth, and much more. But how feasible is this transition? And can this transition benefit us all? 

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS)—together with environmental justice groups COPAL in Minnesota, GreenRoots in Massachusetts, and the Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition—collaborated on an analysis to look into those questions. On the Road to 100 Percent Renewables examined how two dozen state members of the U.S. Climate Alliance (USCA) can meet all of their electricity needs with renewable energy—while decarbonizing other sectors of the economy and ensuring equitable benefits to all communities. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Dennis Schroeder/NREL/Flickr

Additional Recommended Reading

Readout of the March National Climate Task Force Meeting

The White House Briefing Room, March 15, 2022

Yesterday, National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy convened the tenth meeting of the National Climate Task Force with Cabinet members and senior leadership from across the Biden-Harris Administration. The Task Force focused on how agencies can continue supporting the President’s commitment to addressing Putin’s Price Hike from his unprovoked war against Ukraine, minimizing pain at the pump here at home, continue rapidly deploying clean energy, and keep reducing emissions that cause climate change. Continue reading here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

NEBRASKA’S RENEWABLE ENERGY 

Source: Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy

Clean Power Nebraska Fact Sheet, American Clean Power Association

There’s new momentum in Congress for a climate bill, but a lot of questions on what it could include

By Ella Nilsen and Lauren Fox, CNN

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia has cracked open the door for negotiations on a slimmed-down version of President Joe Biden’s climate and economic bill following months of little progress on the issue. Manchin outlined his counteroffer this week, confirming that climate and clean energy provisions will be some of the few original pieces of Biden’s original Build Back Better bill he wants to pass through a Democrat-only bill. Manchin is also calling for Democrats to raise taxes on corporations and America’s wealthy and use that revenue to reduce the budget deficit and spend on new climate programs. Read more here.

Watch the following brief video at the same above link: CNN asks West Virginia residents about climate change. 

Previously Posted

NEW FROM THE WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING ROOM

ENERGY SAVER.GOV NEWS & RESOURCES

  • Energy Saver 101 Infographic: Home Energy Audits
    A home energy assessment is the first step to saving energy and money. Sometimes called an energy audit, a home energy assessment helps you learn how you use energy, determine where it’s being wasted, and prioritize efficiency upgrades. Making energy efficiency upgrades identified in a home energy assessment can save 5-30 percent on your monthly energy bill while also ensuring the health and safety of your house.
  • New Plug-in Electric Vehicle Sales in the United States Nearly Doubled from 2020 to 2021
    Sales of new light-duty plug-in electric vehicles, including all-electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), nearly doubled from 308,000 in 2020 to 608,000 in 2021.

Related Links

Ohio regulators approve Union County solar farm with construction to start this year

By Mark Williams, The Columbus Dispatch

State regulators have approved a 325-megawatt solar farm to be built in Union County, the second to be approved for Union County in recent months. AEUG Union Solar is slotted to begin construction this year on a project that will take up 2,013 acres within a 3,355-acre project area in Washington and York townships, according to the Ohio Power Siting Board, which approved the project Thursday. Regulators approved Cadence Solar Energy project last fall to be built in York, Liberty and Taylor townships. The two are among nearly 50 solar projects in some stage of development in Ohio amid a surge in interest in renewable energy. Read more here.

MORE MIDWEST / NEBRASKA NEWS

LOUISIANA’S CLIMATE ACTION PLAN

Louisiana Task Force Approves State’s First-Ever Climate Acton Plan, American Public Power Association 

A Louisiana task force has approved and presented to the state’s governor a Climate Action Plan that would set a goal of achieving zero net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050.

The Climate Action Plan recently unanimously approved by Gov. John Bel Edwards’ Climate Initiatives Task Force has three priority policy pillars: renewable electricity generation, industrial electrification, and industrial fuel switching to low- and no-carbon hydrogen.

BUILD BACK BETTER

NEW FERC POLICY 

FERC expands criteria for reviewing gas infrastructure proposals, outlines GHG framework, by Ethan Howland, Utility Dive

In past practice, FERC judged whether a pipeline was needed solely by whether it had contracts for its supply. The agency will now consider other factors such as demand projections, estimated capacity utilization rates, potential cost savings to customers, and statements from state regulatory commissions or local distribution companies, according to agency staff. FERC will also consider how gas infrastructure could affect the applicant’s existing customers; the interests of existing pipelines and their customers; environmental interests; and, the interests of landowners and surrounding communities, including environmental justice communities, staff said during the meeting.

NEW ENVIRONMENT AMERICA REPORT

Rooftop solar and the 2021 Texas power crisis: Exploring small-scale solar’s potential to improve grid resilience during a deep freeze event. Released by Environment America Research & Policy Center, Environment Texas Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group

Taking advantage of the nation’s vast rooftop solar potential would not only help build a more reliable grid, but also reduce other environmental and public health impacts of our current energy system. Download Report (PDF)
More Environment America Reports 

ACP REPORT

Clean Energy in America Reaches Milestone in 2021, But Installation Pace Must Accelerate to Reach Emissions Goals, American Clean Power Association News Release

While clean energy capacity passed the major milestone of 200 gigawatts (GW) – enough to support the energy needs of almost 2 out of every 5 American homes – the pace of clean energy installation risks hitting a plateau, with significant project delays due to supply chain bottlenecks and policy headwinds.

Clean Power Nebraska (PDF), ACP Resource

What We’re Watching in Reconciliation: Regular Updates from EDF

By Danielle Arostegui, Environmental Defense Fund Blog

NFS Note: The House of Representatives passed the Build Back Better
Act on November 19.
The final vote was 220-213.

Dec. 13 EDF Update: Build Back Better Act moves through the Senate; White House releases new Executive Order building on climate investments.

[Even] as we wait for the Build Back Better Act to move through the Senate, the White House is not hesitating to act on the climate crisis. [On December 8] President Biden signed an Executive Order on Catalyzing Clean Energy Industries and Jobs through Federal Sustainability and released a Federal Sustainability Plan detailing the government’s plan to “walk the talk” on clean energy. 

While the Build Back Better Act contains the administration’s flagship climate programs, including clean energy tax credits, clean manufacturing incentives, environmental justice investments, a civilian climate corps, and funding for low-carbon procurement, all of these investments will complement and accelerate the initiatives articulated in the Executive Order. In turn, the Executive Order provides an unprecedented demand-pull for clean technologies, amplifying the benefits of the investments in the Build Back Better Act.  Read more here.

Want a primer on the key issues EDF will be watching? Read all about them here.

The Environmental Defense Fund is a leading national nonprofit organization representing more than 2.5 million members and activists. In 2017 EDF celebrated 50 years of progress.

Photo Credit: John Williams, Flickr

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

FACT SHEET: Biden-⁠Harris Administration Celebrates Expansion of Locally-Led Conservation Efforts in First Year of “America the Beautiful” Initiative, December 20, 2021

Today, the Biden-Harris Administration issued its first annual progress report on the America the Beautiful initiative, highlighting steps the Administration has taken over the past year to support locally-led and voluntary efforts to conserve, connect, and restore lands and waters across the nation that sustain the health of our communities, power local economies, and help combat climate change.