Scientists will get $25 million to study salt lake ecosystems in the drought-stricken U.S. West, as President Joe Biden signed legislation Tuesday allocating the funds in the face of unprecedented existential threats caused by the lack of water. The funding allows the United States Geological Survey to study the hydrology of the ecosystems in and around Utah’s Great Salt Lake, California’s Mono Lake, Oregon’s Lake Albert and other saline lakes.
The Biden administration and Congress are stepping up efforts to control the release and cleanup of poly and perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, in drinking water sources and elsewhere, joining states that have expanded scrutiny of the chemicals, which are used widely in manufacturing and are extremely persistent in the environment.
Six states with drinking water standards for so-called “forever chemicals” are now wrestling with what those limits mean when water contamination from Department of Defense sites seep into their communities.
Members of Congress from both parties are starting to vent their frustration at military foot-dragging even as the states take different paths to address the contamination. One state is suing. Another must wait years for an investigation to end. A third is keeping a watchful eye on the Biden administration.
A broad coalition of organizations is urging Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to mandate a national moratorium on water and other utility shutoffs on day one in the White House, in order to curtail the spread of Covid-19 and ease the financial burden on struggling Americans.
Now that the calendar has flipped to January 2021, it’s time to say goodbye to the mess of the past year, yes? The baggage from 2020 was discarded, left behind at the station when the clock struck midnight, right? Appealing as that might be, the answer is no. Far from being in the rearview, the upheaval of the last year will set the stage for the next 12 months and beyond.
President-elect Joe Biden’s rush to renewable energy may open up a host of cybersecurity dangers if more isn’t done to secure the technology from hackers.
Fast-evolving solar and wind technologies pose new risks to power grid security, especially as smaller renewable energy companies often lack resources to fight against hackers, experts warn. And a recently discovered hacking campaign targeting federal agencies and potentially hundreds of energy companies only underscores the scale of the challenge.
President-elect Joe Biden last week picked veteran environmental attorney Brenda Mallory to help guide federal environmental permitting as the incoming administration gears up to build massive infrastructure projects across the United States.
The EPA under a future Biden administration is expected to quickly move to set regulations on “forever chemicals” in water and other areas, but not to restrict the entire group of thousands of the substances, attorneys said in recent interviews.
The Environmental Protection Agency is already expected to set national drinking water limits for two of these chemicals, perfluorooctane sulfonate, or PFOS, and perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, said Cynthia AM Stroman, a partner in King & Spalding LLP’s Washington, D.C. office.
California’s war with Washington over the environment will soon come to an end.
The legal wrangling that sparked 57 environmental lawsuits against the Trump administration — for loosening policies on everything from automobile pollution to pesticide use and salmon conservation — should turn to consensus and cooperation.