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Energy Update: April 30, 2021

In the States

CA: As part of his plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and end oil drilling in the state, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order banning new fracking permits by 2024. Governor Newsom issued the executive order after a more aggressive bill to ban oil and gas production died in California’s senate earlier this month. Under Governor Newsom’s current plan, California’s Air Resources Board will assess the economic, environmental, and health impacts of ending oil extraction as the state begins transitioning away from producing oil and gas. Governor Newsom said his executive order to ban fracking is a “symbolic” step in the plan, since fracking only accounts for a small portion (about 2%, according to the governor) of the state’s total oil production, but indicated that he intends to continue transitioning the state away from oil and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. "The climate crisis is real, and we continue to see the signs every day," Governor Newsom said in a press release. "As we move to swiftly decarbonize our transportation sector and create a healthier future for our children, I've made it clear I don't see a role for fracking in that future and, similarly, believe that California needs to move beyond oil." Governor Newsom’s executive order was met by criticism from industry advocates, who argued that the order would hurt job growth and raise gas prices, and from environmental advocates, who argued that Governor Newsom’s 2024 deadline is not aggressive enough. California Governor Moves to Ban Fracking by 2024 - NPR

 

MA: On Earth Day, Governor Charlie Baker signed an executive order, entitled Leading by Example: Decarbonizing and Minimizing Environmental Impacts of State Government, that aims to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by setting goals to accelerate the state’s decarbonization efforts in state agencies and public institutions of higher education. The order targets construction and transportation, requiring all new construction at state agencies and public campuses to meet energy performance standards and requiring state vehicle fleets to purchase zero-emissions vehicles starting next year. The order also sets emission reduction targets for state-owned entities and requires state agencies to incorporate emissions reductions strategies in their budgeting and planning. “The Leading by Example Executive Order will boost the state’s adoption of innovative clean energy strategies, and I’m grateful for the efforts of our state agencies and institutions to help us take on the challenge of climate change,” said Governor Baker in a press release. Governor Marks Earth Day with Order Targeting Greenhouse GasAssociated Press

 

ND: Governor Doug Burgum signed House Bill 1452 (HB 1452), legislation that establishes a “Clean Sustainable Energy Fund” to financially support low-emissions technology projects and provide a sustainable plan for the future of the state’s energy industry. The bill allocates $25 million from the state’s general fund to the new Clean Sustainable Energy Fund and establishes the Clean Sustainable Energy Authority, a board of eight voting members and eight technical advisers who will make recommendations to the North Dakota Industrial Commission on which projects to finance. HB 1452 also replaces North Dakota’s current “25x25” initiative with the Governor’s new low-emission technology initiative and allows the state’s EmPower Commission to make recommendations on low-emission technologies and sustainable energy policy. “House Bill 1452 will accelerate efforts to develop promising low-emission technologies, helping ensure that our energy industry can provide reliable, affordable baseload electricity for North Dakotans and the region for decades to come,” said Governor Burgum. The bill enjoyed broad bipartisan support in both of North Dakota’s legislative chambers. Burgum Signs Bill creating Clean Sustainable Energy Fund to Support Low-Emission Tech ProjectsWZFG “The Flag”

 

WA: The Washington Legislature passed Senate Bill 5126 (SB 5126), a carbon pricing bill requested by Governor Jay Inslee that aims to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the state by establishing a comprehensive carbon pricing policy. SB 5126 establishes a “cap-and-invest” system that requires carbon-emitting businesses to gradually reduce their emissions or purchase emissions credits for their ongoing pollution. Under the system, carbon credits will gradually get more expensive in an effort to incentivize businesses to cut emissions. Money collected from the sale of emissions credits will go toward projects that will reduce the impacts of climate change and promote environmental equity. However, SB 5126 contains a provision stipulating that the carbon pricing system will only go into effect as scheduled in 2023 if the state legislature can pass a new statewide transportation spending package by then, which must include an increase in the gas tax of at least five cents per gallon. Passage of SB 5126 represents a major legislative victory for Governor Inslee, who has made carbon pricing and addressing climate change top priorities in his agenda since his reelection. The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk, where it is expected to be signed. Washington Legislature Passes Carbon Pricing MeasureThe Olympian

 

National

At a virtual climate summit last week, President Joe Biden pledged to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent, setting an aggressive target that would require sweeping reforms across many of America’s emitting industries. The President also said he would promote projects combatting climate change in low-income countries by doubling climate-related financial assistance to help finance sustainable infrastructure, pollution reduction, and other climate-focused investments. President Biden’s climate plans will likely meet opposition from Congressional Republicans, who have opposed Democratic Presidents’ sweeping climate measures in the past; Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyoming) already indicated his opposition to President Biden’s plans, calling the President’s emissions pledge “drastic and damaging”. In response to conservative criticism, President Biden and his advisers stressed the potential for economic growth driven by the transition to clean energy. At Earth Day climate summit, Biden promises 50% reduction in US greenhouse emissionsUSA Today

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