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Author:  WHCEQ Staff    Published”: 4/4/2024  White House Council on Environmental Quality 

ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS

Last week, the Biden-Harris Administration took major strides in our work to combat the climate crisis and advance historic action on conservation and environmental justice.

In honor of Women’s History Month, President Biden last Wednesday signed an Executive Order on Recognizing and Honoring Women’s History. The Executive Order will increase the representation of women’s history in sites across America and help honor the legacy and contributions of women and girls to our country. By highlighting the role that women and girls have played in shaping the American story, we will tell a more complete account of American history and help create a more equal future.

March 27, 2024: President Biden signs Executive Order on Recognizing and Honoring Women’s History.
Also last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized the strongest-ever pollution standards for carsThe new standards for cars will avoid more than 7 billion tons of carbon emissions and provide nearly $100 billion of annual net benefits to society, including $13 billion of annual public health benefits due to improved air quality, and $62 billion in reduced annual fuel costs, and maintenance and repair costs for drivers.

 

Also, EPA finalized the strongest ever greenhouse gas standards for heavy-duty vehicles to protect public health and address the climate crisis while keeping the American economy moving.

In addition, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) last week announced a final rule from the Bureau of Land Management that will curb the waste of natural gas during the production of oil and gas on federal and Tribal lands.

Also last week, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $6 billion as part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda for 33 projects across more than 20 states to decarbonize energy-intensive industries, strengthen domestic manufacturing, and slash planet-warming emissions.

Other recent key Biden-⁠Harris Administration announcements:

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UPCOMING MEETINGS/EVENTS

April 4, 2024 from 3:00-4:00 PM ET: EPA Tools and Resources Training Webinar Series: Report on the Environment

REQUESTS FOR INFORMATION AND PROPOSALS

Federal agencies are seeking public input to help inform the development of funding opportunities, grant processes, policy and program implementation. Below is a list of open Requests for Information and Public Comment.

National Park Foundation and National Park Service: Source Reduction x Circular Economy Initiative to Reduce Plastic Waste in National Parks – REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS

  • Summary: The National Park Foundation (NPF) is excited to announce a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a new Plastics Reduction and Circularity Grant to reduce plastic waste in national parks. NPF, in collaboration with the National Park Service (NPS), is seeking proposals that represent commitment and collaboration between a park, its concessioner(s) or commercial use authorization holder(s) and/or one or more organization(s) from the park’s gateway community to improve lifecycle management of products, with an emphasis on source reduction of plastics, used in and around National Parks and their gateway communities. The goal is to foster innovative approaches to plastics reduction and recycling from within parks, communities, and commercial operations that will lead to enduring change in national parks and beyond. Please see the Request for Proposals for more information about this opportunity and how to apply.
  • Link: https://www.nationalparks.org/uploads/2024-Circular-Economy-RFP_FINAL.pdf
  • Deadline: April 18, 2024

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Stakeholder Engagement on Inflation Reduction Act Programs to Reduce Embodied Greenhouse Gas Emissions Associated with Construction Materials and Products – REQUEST FOR INFORMATION

White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Executive Office of the President: Methods and Leading Practices for Advancing Public Participation and Community Engagement with the Federal Government – REQUEST FOR INFORMATION

  • Summary: OMB seeks input on the experiences of individuals and organizations, including from underserved communities, with informing Federal Government decision-making and participating in engagement activities with government agencies; examples of leading practices in this space; and other recommendations on available methods, approaches, and tools that could assist in the effort to develop and implement a Federal framework for participation and engagement. OMB welcomes input from a wide and diverse array of stakeholders in the public, private, advocacy, not-for-profit, and philanthropic sectors, including State, local, Tribal, and territorial governments. OMB will review and consider the usability and applicability of responses to this RFI as OMB develops a Federal framework for participation and community engagement (PPCE) and supports agencies in their work to ensure that their policies and actions are responsive to all Americans.
  • Link: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2024/03/20/2024-05882/methods-and-leading-practices-for-advancing-public-participation-and-community-engagement-with-the
  • Deadline: May 17, 2024

Department of Health and Human Services: Environmental Justice Community Innovator Challenge

  • Summary: The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH) and the Office of Minority Health (OMH) are seeking community-led strategies and tools to address health disparities in communities disproportionately impacted by environmental risks and hazards including those related to climate change, and the cumulative impacts of other stressors. Applications open on March 19, 2024.
  • Link: https://www.challenge.gov/?challenge=hhs-environmental-justice-community-innovator-challenge
  • Deadline: June 30, 2024 at 11:59 PM ET

NEWS CLIPS OF THE WEEK

The New York Times: New Pollution Rules Aim to Lift Sales of Electric Trucks

The Washington Post: U.S. clamps down on oil and gas firms releasing potent greenhouse gas

The Washington Post: Biden seeks to accelerate the EV transition in biggest climate move yet

AP: EPA issues new rules aimed at cutting carbon emissions, boosting electric vehicles and hybrids

The Verge: Joe Biden wants to make mac and cheese with clean energy

The Washington Post: Steel, cement, and – cheese? U.S. spends big to cut these carbon footprints.

The Hill: Biden administration commits $6B to cut emissions from high-carbon industries

AP: Energy agency announces $475M in funding for clean energy projects on mine land sites

TWEETS OF THE WEEK

President Biden (@POTUS)

Today I signed an Executive Order to increase representation of women’s history in our national parks and historic sites.

Women’s history is American history. It’s time we better recognized women’s critical role in shaping our nation’s story in more places across our country.

Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP)

While in Puerto Rico, I visited María’s new home that was rebuilt with federal dollars and upgraded to include solar and water storage technology. These new features are critical to building climate resilience and achieving Puerto Rico’s goal of 100% clean energy.

Council on Environmental Quality Chair Brenda Mallory (@BrendaMallory46)

@POTUS and @VP believe that no matter where you live, your income, or your background, every person deserves access to clean water. On #WorldWaterDay, I am celebrating the tireless work across the Biden-Harris Administration to deliver on this vision.”

U.S. EPA Administrator Michael Regan (@EPAMichaelRegan)

We made some major moves last week!

❌Banned all ongoing uses of asbestos

?Celebrated National Ag Day with our NEW Office of Agriculture and Rural Affairs

? Finalized standards for passenger vehicles that will make the U.S. a leader in clean vehicle tech and manufacturing

RESOURCE HUB

Justice40 Covered Programs List: List of federal programs working to advance the President’s Justice40 Initiative, which aims to deliver 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain federal investments to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution.

Invest.gov: Interactive map showing the historic public and private sector investments President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is bringing to states and territories across America.

Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act Technical Assistance Guide: Guide highlighting programs that help communities navigate the more than 100 Federal technical assistance programs that can help communities deliver infrastructure, clean energy, and climate resilience projects.

Inflation Reduction Act Guidebook: This guidebook provides an overview of the clean energy, climate mitigation and resilience, agriculture, and conservation-related tax incentives and investment programs in President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act.

Inflation Reduction Act Tribal Guidebook: Guidebook to the Inflation Reduction Act’s Clean Energy and Climate Investments in Indian Country, which provides descriptions of the law’s tax incentives and funding programs for which Tribes are eligible.

Direct Pay Through the Inflation Reduction Act: Find resources on the Inflation Reduction Act’s “elective pay” (often called “direct pay”) provisions, through which tax-exempt and governmental entities can take advantage of tax credits for building clean energy projects.

Tribal Access to Capital Clearinghouse: A website that provides a searchable database of federal funding opportunities, including grants and loans, available to Tribal Nations and Native businesses.

Grants.gov: Learn about current federal grant opportunities.

Cleanenergy.gov: A one-stop shop for information on President Biden’s Investing in America agenda and how the Inflation Reduction Act helps lower energy costs for consumers and small businesses while creating good-paying jobs as America’s clean energy economy and manufacturing sectors grow.

DOE Interactive Map: Interactive tool showcasing where clean energy investments are occurring across the United States thanks to President Biden’s Investing in America agenda.

Energy Savings Hub | Department of Energy: Access resources made possible by President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, which will help lower your energy costs and make your home safer and more comfortable while helping the planet.

Environmental Justice Scorecard: Find information about what federal agencies are doing to advance environmental justice in communities across America.

Department of Housing and Urban Development Funding Navigator: Find hundreds of available Inflation Reduction Act, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and other programs across a range of federal agencies in these categories: Energy Efficiency and Renewables, Utility Scale Energy, Resiliency, Lead and Healthy Housing, Brownfield and Waste Management, Transportation, Broadband, Workforce Development and Environmental Justice.

Department of Transportation Navigator: Explore federal funding opportunities that help plan for and deliver transformative infrastructure projects and services.

Wetland and Water Protection Resource Guide: Resource Guide highlighting technical assistance and funding opportunities available across the federal government for Tribes, States, Territories, local governments, private land owners, and non-governmental organizations to advance water resource protection.

RECENT BIDEN-HARRIS ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • The Department of the Treasury and the IRS issued guidance for owners of certain solar or wind facilities built in connection with low-income communities.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a $124 million investment in renewable energy and fertilizer production projects in 44 states to lower energy costs, generate new income and create jobs for U.S. farmers, ranchers, agricultural producers and rural small businesses.
  • DOE announced $62 million to lower battery recycling costs across the nation.
  • The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) announced $25 million for electrical vehicle supply equipment, or EV charging ports, at federal buildings across the nation.
  • DOE announced $22 million to improve planning, siting, and permitting processes for large-scale renewable energy facilities.
  • EPA announced $24 million in grants to support states, U.S. territories, and Tribes in providing technical assistance to businesses to develop and adopt pollution prevention practices.
  • DOE opened applications for the 2024 Renew America’s Schools Prize, which will award $180 million to districts across the country engaging in strategic partnerships to build capacity and implement energy upgrades at K-12 schools, lowering energy use and costs, improving indoor air quality, and fostering healthier learning environment.
  • DOE announced $18 million for clean energy and economic development in 30 historically disadvantaged communities.
  • EPA announced $12 million to protect salmon by reducing toxic tire dust, other pollutants in stormwater.
  • DOI announced $11 million to restore our nation’s lands and water through 29 locally led, landscape-scale restoration projects across 18 states and the District of Columbia.
  • EPA finalized new safeguards for communities and the environment from facilities that store and could discharge dangerous chemicals into a river, lake, or other waterbody.
  • DOE announced the selection of eleven projects to receive $34 million for tools to advance a clean, reliable electricity grid run on wind and solar energy.
  • DOE launched the pilot of the Clean Energy Connector, a tool that connects families to solar energy through HHS’s Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).