Good Climate News

Good Climate News this Week: National Monument Expansions, Lead Pipe Removal, Clean Energy Permitting, and More!

May 3, 2024

Every week, we round up five of the best good climate news stories we’re celebrating. This week we’re covering national monument expansions, lead pipe removal, advancements in clean energy permitting, offshore wind leases, and California’s renewable milestone.

1. President Biden approves expansion of two California national monuments

Sunset in the San Gabriel mountains just above Wrightwood, CA.
Credit: Rennett Stowe

The Biden-Harris administration has approved the expansion of two national monuments in California, the San Gabriel Mountains and Berryessa Snow Mountain.

The land covered under the national monument expansions is part of the sacred ancestral land of several Tribal nations. These expansions will honor those Tribal ties while at the same time protecting wildlife habitat, supporting the local economy, and preserving clean water and migration pathways in the region.

This announcement is a response to advocacy efforts from Tribal nations, environmental groups including LCV, and California legislators.

Source: The White House

2. Biden-Harris administration announces $3 billion to replace lead pipes

Person holding a section of a lead water pipe removed from their house.
Credit: Mort Guffman

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it will invest $3 billion from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to assist states in locating and replacing lead service lines as a part of the administration’s commitment to public health.

Communities of color and communities of low-wealth are disproportionately impacted by water contaminated by lead pipes, which causes adverse health effects including damage to the brain, soft tissue, and organs. EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said, “There is no safe level of lead exposure and the primary source of  harmful exposure in drinking water is through lead pipes.”

The Biden-Harris administration has already delivered significant results on stripping lead pipes from the nation’s drinking water supply and is expected to replace as many as 1.7 million lead pipes across the country.

Source: EPA

3. Biden-Harris administration finalizes rules to improve clean energy permitting

View down a row of solar panels with a wind turbine in the background.
Credit: Shutterstock

The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) has finalized rules for implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which aims to accelerate the clean energy permitting process while maintaining opportunities for community engagement during environmental reviews.

According to a 2020 report, the permitting process for proposed clean energy projects  takes an average of four and a half years to complete. In the years since the passage of President Biden’s affordable clean energy plan, more clean energy projects have entered the approval pipeline, leading to even longer wait times.

Streamlining and accelerating this process is crucial to ensuring we can build the infrastructure necessary to make the transition to a clean energy future and achieve the President’s climate goals.

Source: Council on Environmental Quality, PoliticoPro

4. Interior Department proposes 12 new offshore wind lease sales

Ocean landscape with many wind turbines running along the horizon.
Credit: PxHere

The Department of the Interior (DOI) has released its offshore wind leasing schedule through 2028. The new schedule includes 12 potential lease sales in the Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf of Mexico, and waters surrounding U.S. territories.

Opening these areas for offshore wind development is critical to ensuring the Biden-Harris administration achieves its goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030.

DOI has already made important strides toward meeting this target by deploying more than 10 gigawatts of offshore wind energy, enough to power 4 million homes, since President Biden took office.

Source: Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

5. California’s energy grid is operating on 100% renewables

Large amount of solar panels set in front of a mountain in the California desert.
Credit: blmcalifornia

For up to 6 hours a day, every day for the last month, California has fueled its electricity grid with 100% renewable energy. Not only that, but the state is consistently producing more clean electricity than is needed to meet its current energy demand.

According to Johanna Neumann, a senior director at Environment America, California has the potential to produce 38 times the amount of electricity demanded by its grid from solar power alone.

This is a huge win for the environment, public health, and consumers in California who are seeing lower energy prices thanks to the increase in renewables.

Source: CBS News

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