Good Climate News

Good Climate News this Week: Federal Funding for Clean Water, Environmental Legislation in Maryland and New Mexico, and More!

Feb 26, 2024

Every Monday, we round up five of the best good climate news stories we’re celebrating. This week we cover federal funding for clean water, new power installations shifting away from fossil fuels, Chicago’s lawsuit against Big Oil, and environmental legislation in Maryland and New Mexico.

1. Biden-Harris administration announces nearly $6 billion for clean water

Vice President Kamala Harris stands with a Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority construction crew.
Credit: Steve Mellon/Pittsburgh Union Progress

At an event in Pittsburgh, VP Harris and EPA administrator Regan announced that the administration will invest $5.8 billion from the President’s Investing in American agenda for clean water infrastructure. In total, the administration’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will invest over $50 billion in clean water infrastructure, the largest investment in clean water in U.S. history.

Millions of people lack access to safe and reliable drinking water and sanitation. This investment aims to fix that through funding projects to remove lead pipes and PFAS contamination, improve wastewater and sanitation infrastructure, and increase access to clean drinking water in every state and territory in the country.

In order to advance President Biden’s Justice40 initiative, nearly half of the $5.8 billion from this announcement will be provided to disadvantaged communities as grants or forgivable loans.

Source: White House

2. New power installations are shifting away from gas

A field of solar panels in front of a mountain range in California.
Credit: freethesun on Flickr

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) released a report that estimates that 80% of new large-scale energy installations in the U.S. will come from solar energy and battery storage in 2024. The report also predicts that new utility-scale methane gas installations will be at their lowest point since the 1990s.

Shifting away from methane gas and toward more sustainable power sources will help improve the health and safety of our communities, especially frontline communities that bear the highest pollution burden from methane gas facilities. It is also a critical step in addressing the climate crisis.

Source: Politico

3. Chicago is suing Big Oil

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson speaks at a podium.
Credit: Jim Vondruska/AFP via Getty Images

The city of Chicago has filed a lawsuit against six oil companies – BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil, Phillips 66, and Shell – as well as the industry trade association American Petroleum Institute. The lawsuit accuses the defendants of spreading disinformation about climate science and misleading the public about the impacts of burning fossil fuels.

Oil companies have recklessly profiteered at the expense of the city and its residents who have spent “significant sums” in recovery efforts from increasingly frequent and intense storms, flooding, droughts and extreme heat. According to the lawsuit, these effects are felt “throughout every part of the city and disproportionately in low-income communities.”

If successful, the lawsuit would require the defendants to pay billions of dollars to the city to address impacts of climate change.

Source: Climatewire

4. Maryland announces $90 million for environmental initiatives

An electric bus charging.
Credit: Metropolitan Transportation Authority of the State of New York

Maryland Governor Wes Moore has announced $90 million in funding for programs to help the state reach its climate goals of cutting emissions by 60% of 2006 levels by 2031, achieving 100% clean energy by 2035, and reaching net-zero emissions by 2045.

The funding will be split between three programs, with $17 million going to electric school bus programs, $23 million for electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and $50 million set aside for electrification of schools and multi-family homes to cut emissions across the state. A minimum of 50% of the funding will go to historically underserved communities that are impacted the most by climate change, such as those seeing a greater increase in asthma rates from poor air quality.

Source: AP

5. New Mexico state legislature passes transportation fuel standards bill 

A landscape in New Mexico.
Credit: Matthew.kowal

New Mexico’s state legislature recently passed a bill, which the Governor is expected to sign, establishing a statewide fuel standard aimed at reducing pollution from transportation by 30% of 2018 levels by 2040.

One in seven New Mexicans struggle with respiratory illness as a result of severe air pollution across the state. If finalized, this bill would increase the use of cleaner fuels and help reduce air pollution and improve public health and safety in the state.

Source: Conservation Voters New Mexico

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