climate change

Congress Can Make Those Weirdass New Postal Trucks Electric, So Do That, Congress!

And why does DeJoy still have a job, anyway?

One of the central planks of Joe Biden's climate strategy, going all the way back to the 2020 campaign (and its origins in Jay Inslee's terrific climate proposal), is the idea that the federal government should use its huge purchasing power to help move along America's transition to clean energy. It's right there in the Day One part of the Biden Climate Plan: Biden will reduce carbon emissions by, among other measures,

Using the Federal government procurement system – which spends $500 billion every year – to drive towards 100% clean energy and zero-emissions vehicles.

That's a terrific idea, except for the part where some parts of the federal government, like the US Postal Service, are designed to be so insulated from executive interference that they can create serious mischief when they're led by a rightwing asshole like Donald Trump's pet postmaster general, Louis DeJoy. Under Screwy Louie, the Postal Service announced in February that its $6 billion fleet of next-generation mail delivery vehicles would be mostly powered by Guzzolene, plus 5,000 electric-powered vehicles, or just 10 percent of the new vehicles.

This is a huge step away from environmentally responsible purchasing. With roughly 230,000 vehicles, the Postal Service fleet makes up about a third of all federally owned vehicles. The new mail trucks are likely to have a service life of decades, too, which means they could still be burning fossil fuels long after most vehicles on the road are clean.

Happily, DeJoy's fossil-fuel fixation doesn't have to be the final word.

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climate change

Joe Manchin Unveils Exciting New Reason To Screw Over Electric Vehicles!

Oh, look what he did with that football he was holding.

A couple weeks back, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) was talking about how he'd sure like to help Democrats get something done in Congress before the midterms, like maybe a spending plan that would roll back parts of the 2017 tax cuts and then use the new revenue to reduce the deficit and address climate change. As you'll recall, we were cautiously cautious in whatever optimism we could manage, given that Manchin owns a coal company and said the lesson of Russia's invasion of Ukraine is that we need at least as much fossil fuel expansion as green energy in order to tackle the climate emergency. Never mind that fossil fuels are causing the emergency.

This Fucking Guy Again

Hey Look! Joe Manchin's Holding A Football!

By Sheer Coincidence, Joe Manchin Made Half A Million Dollars Last Year Off Of Coal

Yup, identification confirmed: This is the right Joe Manchin all right, not a lookalike.

In his latest very Hot Take on climate — entirely too hot to prevent further planetary warming — Manchin said at an energy conference in Houston last week that he just doesn't see why we'd want to switch to electric vehicles at all, because China, don't you see.

I'm very reluctant to go down the path of electric vehicles. [...] I'm old enough to remember standing in line in 1974 trying to buy gas – I remember those days. I don't want to have to be standing in line waiting for a battery for my vehicle, because we're now dependent on a foreign supply chain – mostly China.

Seems a hell of a reach to use the prime example of overdependence on oil to argue we should rely more on oil, but then, it's Joe Manchin. On Christmas eve, visions of drilling rigs dance in his head.

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climate change

Truck! Truck! Post About Truck! Biden Make Big Truck Not So Stinky! Truck!

This is a big truckin' deal.

The Biden administration yesterday rolled out new proposed air pollution limits on tractor-trailer trucks, delivery vans, buses, and other heavy vehicles in a much-anticipated Environmental Protection Agency rule that marks the first time in 20 years the government has tightened emissions standards for heavy vehicles. The EPA said in a statement,

The proposed standards would reduce emissions of smog- and soot-forming nitrogen oxides (NOx) from heavy-duty gasoline and diesel engines and set updated greenhouse gas (GHG) standards for certain commercial vehicle categories. This proposed rule would ensure the heavy-duty vehicles and engines that drive American commerce and connect people across the country are as clean as possible while charting a path to advance zero-emission vehicles in the heavy-duty fleet.

The new, higher standards would require a 90 percent reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions by the 2027 model year, and the EPA estimates the health benefits from cleaner air would, by 2045, "exceed its costs by billions of dollars."

EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan pointed out in the statement that 72 million Americans, largely people of color and those with low incomes, currently live near truck freight routes, and have higher rates of heart and lung problems than average. The new standards would cut total US emissions of nitrogen oxides by as much as 60 percent by 2045, resulting in greatly improved air quality, not to mention reducing the greenhouse gases that are heating the planet and causing climate change.

Donald Trump liked to pretend he was driving a big-boy truck, beep-beep! Joe Biden, an actual human adult in the room, is making sure those trucks are cleaner and friendlier for the environment.

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2022 midterms

Hey Look! Joe Manchin's Holding A Football!

Good grief!

When Sen. Joe Manchin says “Here’s the thing. I’ve always been open to talking to people okay? But they just don’t want to hear,” you may want to just run away screaming instead of reading the rest of the Politico article in which the gentleman from West Virginia outlines his ideas for an alternative to Build Back Better that he'd be willing to help pass. Or at least have your running shoes already on and snugly tied while you listen.

In his State of the Union address Tuesday, President Joe Biden called for passage of at least some of the planks in Build Back Better, the sweeping package of climate and social spending programs that Manchin single-handedly killed off last fall, after nearly a year of forcing the ambitious plan to be whittled down from $3.5 trillion over 10 years to $1.7 trillion, to meet various demands from Manchin and from Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona). Shaping legislation to please Joe Manchin didn't work out so great last year, but Manchin insisted that was because the narrowed bill wasn't actually what he'd made clear he wanted anyway.

But with midterms coming, Democrats really are looking for additional legislative wins to run on. That's in addition to last year's big American Rescue Plan that revitalized the pandemic economy and kept millions of Americans whole, and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which is building bridges and highways and, yes, creating jobs. So, as Politico points out, Democrats are listening, cautiously, to what Manchin says he would definitely support in a reconciliation package that could be passed by Democrats alone in the Senate, since some guy insists the filibuster must absolutely be preserved.

So what does Manchin say he wants?

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