CLIMATE: Declaring “we can’t wait any longer,” President Biden signs another round of executive orders aimed at addressing climate change, and emphasizes that transitioning to clean energy can create jobs and boost the economy. (Los Angeles Times, Inside Climate News)

ALSO:
• Biden’s Wednesday order includes an Environmental Justice Scorecard aiming to reduce the impact of pollution in communities of color. (Bloomberg Law)
• Biden’s climate plan is far more ambitious than anything attempted by the Obama administration, requiring him to hold together a vast coalition of competing interests. (Politico)
• The Department of Defense declares climate change a national security issue, saying “there is little about what the Department does to defend the American people that is not affected by climate change.” (The Hill)
• President Biden’s 60-day freeze on leasing federal land for oil and gas leaves out coal — possibly because of ongoing litigation — but administration officials say it will be part of a broad review of fossil-fuel leasing. (Bloomberg)

STATE POLICY:
• Vermont regulators release a report that says the state won’t make a significant impact on heating and transportation emissions reduction without new public funding sources. (Energy News Network)
• A new analysis shows how lobbying from business groups has been effective in holding back climate legislation in Massachusetts. (Inside Climate News)
• California State Sen. Scott Wiener introduces a bill that would require large corporations to reveal their greenhouse gas emissions on a yearly basis and set reduction targets. (San Francisco Chronicle)
• A new report finds the 25 states that pledged to follow through with the Paris Agreement despite former President Trump’s withdrawal are still falling short of meeting emissions targets. (Grist)

OIL & GAS:
• Experts say the emissions impact of a federal drilling ban is unclear and could instead be used as leverage for other regulations; advocates say it’s a critical first step toward reducing fossil fuel production more broadly. (E&E News, Inside Climate News)
• The Western Energy Alliance petitions a federal court to overturn Biden’s temporary suspension of leasing on public land. (Bloomberg)
The Biden administration continues to issue drilling permits for leases that predate the moratorium. (Bloomberg)
Already reeling from low oil prices and the pandemic economy, Louisiana’s oil and gas producers brace for a reduction in federal subsidies as investment is redirected toward clean energy. (The Advocate)

CABINET:
Republicans are stepping up their opposition to New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland’s nomination to lead the Interior Department. (E&E News)
• Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm says she is “obsessed with creating good-paying jobs in America” during her confirmation hearing for U.S. energy secretary that focused on her clean energy priorities. (NPR, Detroit Free Press)

UTILITIES:
• Ohio’s power plant bailout law guaranteed utilities steady income even when electricity sales decline, a provision that has insulated them from the economic impact of the pandemic at the expense of ratepayers. (Energy News Network)
• Environmental groups call for an investigation into FirstEnergy’s influence over the former chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. (Associated Press)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: President Biden’s plan to electrify the federal government’s vehicle fleet could take at least 10 years yet provide stability to the burgeoning EV market, experts say. (Utility Dive)

SOLAR:
A Hawaii cooperative is developing a 240 MW solar and pumped hydro storage project that is expected to provide electricity at night. (Honolulu Civil Beat)
• New York utility Con Edison is testing interconnection technology that simplifies the amount of electrical work needed to install solar panels, which can greatly reduce costs. (Greentech Media, Energy News Network archive)

COMMENTARY:
• The CEO of Schneider Electric says of climate change: “The challenge is not technology. The problem is human beings. We tend to do things as we are used to doing them.” (Forbes)
• The Los Angeles Times praises President Biden’s first steps on climate change: “The present will determine our future.” 

Ken Paulman

Ken is the director of the Energy News Network at Fresh Energy and is a founding editor of both Midwest Energy News and Southeast Energy News. Prior to joining Fresh Energy, he was the managing editor for online news at Minnesota Public Radio. He started his journalism career in 2002 as a copy editor for the Duluth News Tribune before spending five years at the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, where he worked as a copy editor, online producer, features editor and night city editor. A Nebraska native, Ken has a bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master's degree from the University of Oregon. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors.