EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — With a new administration in the White House, a number of changes to the country’s environmental policies are expected.
With the stroke of a pen Wednesday evening, President Joe Biden signed two executive orders immediately changing the nation’s climate policy, canceling the Keystone XL Pipeline and bringing the United States back into the Paris Climate Accord.
It will take 30 days to re-enter the accord, but pipeline order is immediate.
A number of other environmental polices are expected to change in the coming weeks or months and local environmental groups are excited for what is to come.
Jonathon Stone, executive director of Save the Bay, said he’s looking forward to a renewed attention to climate change and resiliency with the Biden administration.
“I’m thrilled that we have a real breath of fresh air coming into Washington in regards to environmental policy,” he said.
Stone said the federal government plays a large role in environmental policy, but local groups have been good stewards for the cause.
“Over the last four years, the state and other advocates have done our best to make sure people are focused on what we can do here locally,” he said.
Biden’s campaign website lists five main environmental directions his administration will take:
- Moving the United States to 100% clean energy by 2050
- A stronger, more resilient nation, including infrastructure improvements
- Rally the world to meet climate change threat
- Environmental justice changes
- Take care of current energy workers and their communities as the transition to clean energy occurs
Biden’s plan goes beyond policy, however. Sue Anderbois, manager of the Climate Energy Program at the Nature Conservancy is encouraged by Biden’s cabinet choices.
“It’s no longer just the Department of Energy or the EPA who cares about it, we have cabinet directors in transportation who are saying ‘I’m going to care about climate in our transportation policy,'” Anderbois said.
“I think we’re going to see a lot of action, really quickly,” she added.
Gov. Gina Raimondo has been nominated as commerce secretary, meaning she would head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Stone is encouraged that Raimondo, who has fought for green energy in the state, will push forward offshore wind projects.
“I think just having attention to the science and respect for the science is a huge driver for the federal government formulating policy solutions to the problems we face,” Stone said.