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Biden to choose Brenda Mallory to lead White House environment office

WASHINGTON – President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. has selected Brenda Mallory, an environmental lawyer who spent more than 15 years working in the federal government under the Republican and Democratic presidents, to lead the Council on Environmental Quality, according to two people close to Biden’s transition team.

The council is expected to broaden its focus on environmental justice issues under Ms Mallory’s leadership, in addition to its traditional role of coordinating environmental policy across government, others close to the presidential transition said.

Ms Mallory, who is currently the director of regulatory policy at the Southern Environmental Law Center, a watchdog group, has worked on pollution and land conservation issues throughout her career, including helping to create new national monuments. under the Obama administration and fighting. the dismantling of these monuments under the Trump administration.

“Biden appoints substantive experts, people who can start from day one, who know the office they were appointed to and in particular know how it should work with other offices,” said Ted Boling, legal partner . Perkins Coie who has worked on the Environmental Quality Council in several positions for over a decade.

The board, a division of the president’s office, tends to play a behind-the-scenes role in federal environmental policy, and its directors are typically less prominent than those who run large agencies like the Home Office or the Federal Agency for the Environment. Environmental Protection.

But Mr Biden has pledged to make tackling racial disparities in environmental policies a central part of his climate change agenda, potentially giving the council a stronger mission in this and other areas.

Project Climate 21, a plan of more than 150 former government officials advising on a government-wide response to climate change, identified the Council on Environmental Quality as “best suited to elevate environmental justice to the White House and to lead the climate agenda change resilience. “

The group recommended that the Biden administration update a Clinton-era executive order on environmental justice to formalize the agency’s role in summoning environmental justice leaders and “advancing the EJ across the federal government ”.

A graduate of Yale University and Columbia Law School, Ms. Mallory began her career in private practice before joining the Federal Government in 2000. She has spent over 15 years in various positions with the Environmental Protection Agency, becoming Senior Assistant General Counsel, ranking career position in this office. During the Obama administration, she was General Counsel for the Council on Environmental Quality.

She then worked as the Executive Director and Senior Counsel of the Conservation Litigation Project, which works to protect public lands, before joining the Southern Environmental Law Center.

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9 things the Biden administration could do quickly about the environment

WASHINGTON – President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. campaigned on the most ambitious climate platform of any presidential candidate in history, pledging to spend $ 2 trillion over four years to reduce emissions from fossil fuels that warm the planet and convert much of the country to cleaning energy.

The possibility that the Senate could remain under the control of Republicans, who have generally opposed climate legislation, puts the brakes on some of its most important projects. But with or without Democratic Senate scrutiny, the first 100 days of the Biden administration are likely to see a wave of executive action to tackle climate change, as well as major push to insert provisions on climate change. clean energy in legislation that could pass with a bipartisan. coalition.

Here are nine things Mr. Biden could do early on to get the United States back on track in the fight against climate change.

Mr. Biden has been engaged throughout the campaign, and again this week, that on the day he takes office, he will re-commit the United States to join the global climate change agreement. It would only require a letter to the UN and would take effect 30 days later.

Mr Biden said he intended to hold a “world climate summit” to put pressure on the leaders of major industrial nations to more aggressively reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Expect the Biden administration to immediately overturn a large number of President Trump’s energy executive orders, particularly a March 2017 order calling on every federal agency to dismantle its climate policy. Several experts said he was likely to replace it with one declaring his administration’s intention to reduce greenhouse gases and asking all government agencies to look for ways to do so.

The Biden administration will most likely push to include clean energy provisions in any new economic stimulus that Congress considers. This could include things like funding research and development for clean energy, money for states to continue expanding into renewable energy, and an extension of tax credits for renewable energy industries.

Developing and finalizing new regulations will take time and, if challenged, may ultimately be overturned by the conservative majority in the Supreme Court. But Mr Biden has indicated that early in his administration he will sign executive orders directing agencies to develop new methane limits for oil and gas wells, restore and strengthen fuel economy standards and to tighten efficiency standards for devices and buildings.

Mr Biden also said he would sign an executive order on his first day in office requiring state-owned companies to disclose the financial risks and greenhouse gas emissions associated with climate change in their operations.

Mr Biden is expected to cancel a 2017 executive order to lift restrictions on offshore energy exploration and production. It could also stop the Trump administration’s expedited reviews of pipelines and other fossil fuel projects.

Mr Biden has made tackling the effects of pollution and global warming in low-income communities a central part of his climate plan. In the short term, a Biden administration could create an Environmental Justice Advisory Council to coordinate policies across agencies and take concrete actions such as increasing pollution monitoring in vulnerable communities and creating tools for monitoring. mapping to better understand the disparities.

Mr Biden pledged to take “immediate action to reverse Trump’s assault on United States national treasures,” including major cuts in 2017 to the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments , as well as opening up parts of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration. . He said that on the first day of his administration, he would sign an executive order to conserve 30% of the land and water of the United States by 2030.