Biden’s climate commitments great news for Michigan
President Joe Biden took strong, proactive steps Tuesday to protect the health of people, communities, nature and food systems by fighting climate change. The efforts, coupled with Michigan's own, will make state residents' lives better while laying the groundwork for bigger, bold change, said Michigan Environmental Council leadership.
“President Joe Biden’s commitments to combat climate change are science-driven, critical and rightfully place environmental justice at their center to protect communities,” said Charlotte Jameson, director of legislative affairs, drinking water and clean energy for MEC.
“From high water, to bigger toxic algal blooms on the Great Lakes, to poor air quality, to more frequent unhealthy heat days, Michigan is already experiencing the negative impacts of climate change," she continued. "We need bold action on the state and federal level to further avoid the worst impacts on our health, economy and planet.”
Among Tuesday’s announcements were the creation of citizen-powered environmental justice councils within the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Justice and numerous agencies. President Biden also committed to spend 40% of sustainability investments on communities facing environmental and socioeconomic injustice. Michigan recently initiated its own environmental justice office, interagency council and response team.
Also enacted were a pause on oil and gas drilling on federal public lands and waters and a commitment to conserve at least 30% of these places from development by 2030. In a similar vein, Michigan residents voted to continue protecting public, natural lands with the passage of Proposal One in November 2020.
“President Biden’s federal land protections mean that Michigan residents and tourists alike can enjoy our six national forests, five national wildlife refuges, two national lakeshores and our national recreation area,” said Sean Hammond, MEC policy director. “They are also a sign that the administration wants to make oil and gas a dirty energy of the past.”
The President’s announcements continue a streak of strong climate change commitments, such as rejoining the Paris Climate Accords and, in Michigan, setting a goal to be carbon neutral by 2050.
“Governor Whitmer has made climate change a priority issue, and we hope that positive momentum on the federal level will galvanize other state decisionmakers to forge ahead on effective policies that grow our economy and combat climate,” Jameson said. “For example, we can increase Michigan’s renewable energy standard and energy waste reduction standard -- both expire this year. That will make our air cleaner, our economy stronger and put our state more on track to reaching Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.”