Biden links climate change, jobs and environmental justice

Farm groups welcomed the nomination of Regan. Corn and soybean groups said they hoped Regan would be a fair-minded regulator of biofuels and GE crops.

Introducing his climate team, President-elect Biden said his administration would respond to the existential threat of climate change “by building a modern, climate-resilient infrastructure and a clean energy future” that would put millions of Americans to work. “And we are committed to facing climate change by delivering environmental justice.”

“We see farmers making American agriculture first in the world to achieve net-zero emissions and gaining new sources of income in the process,” said Biden. He also called for modernization of the water, transportation and energy infrastructure, expansion of renewable energy, production of electric vehicles and construction of energy-saving homes.

The incoming administration has pointed to the potential for farm income from sequestering carbon in soil and plants but has provided few details.

Biden formally introduced his six-member climate change team on Saturday. They included former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm for Energy secretary, Rep. Deb Haaland of New Mexico for Interior secretary and North Carolina environmental regulatory Michael Regan as EPA chief.

Farm groups welcomed the nomination of Regan. Corn and soybean groups said they hoped Regan would be a fair-minded regulator of biofuels and GE crops. The Renewable Fuel Standard “was a game-changer for corn farmers nearly 20 years ago but previous administrations have failed to uphold the law and implement it as Congress intended,” said the National Corn Growers Association. The American Farm Bureau Federation said Regan had a record in North Carolina, one of the three largest hog-producing states, of “making decisions guided by science that also take into account input from the people who would be impacted the most.”

During the fall campaign, Biden said he wanted to “grow the bioeconomy and bio-based manufacturing” to expand rural jobs. “This means taking every aspect of agricultural production — from corn stock to manure — to create chemicals, materials, fabrics, and fibers in a process that is good for the environment and creates new sources of revenue for farmers,” said the campaign’s rural plan. The campaign said it would promote ethanol and the cleaner-burning second generation of biofuels. It also promoted wind and solar power.

Produced with FERN, non-profit reporting on food, agriculture, and environmental health.
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