Elizabeth Warren unveils policy plan to protect public lands, increase renewable energy on 'day one'

Elizabeth Warren unveils policy plan to protect public lands, increase renewable energy on 'day one'

In recent weeks, Sen. Elizabeth Warren has produced a steady stream of detailed policy plans aimed at tackling universal child care, corporate fraud, consumer protection, wealth inequality, rent regulation, Big Tech monopolization, and taxation of America’s largest corporations, many of which, such as Amazon, pay little or no federal taxes.

It’s a day that ends in y, and that means Warren is introducing another progressive policy proposal—this one aimed at protecting federal lands. In a post at Medium, Warren explains the details of the executive order she says she would sign on “day one” in the White House.

It is wrong to prioritize corporate profits over the health and safety of our local communities. That’s why on my first day as president, I will sign an executive order that says no more drilling — a total moratorium on all new fossil fuel leases, including for drilling offshore and on public lands. I’d also reinstate the methane pollution rule to limit existing oil and gas projects from releasing harmful gases that poison our air, and reinstitute the clean water rule to protect our lakes, rivers, and streams, and the drinking water they provide.

And it’s not enough to end our public lands’ contribution to climate change. We have an enormous opportunity to make them a part of the climate solution, and for both economic and environmental reasons, we should take it. A decade ago, there were zero major solar power projects on public lands. Today, the Bureau of Land Management has approved 11,000 megawatts of renewable wind, solar, and geothermal projects — enough to power millions of American homes. It’s a significant proof-of-concept. But to make a real dent in the problem, we’re going to need a whole lot more.

As President, I will set a goal of providing 10% of our overall electricity generation from renewable sources offshore or on public lands. That’s nearly ten times what we are currently generating. We can achieve this goal while prioritizing sites with low impact on local ecology but high potential for renewable energy generation. My administration will make it a priority to expedite leases and incentivize development in existing designated areas, and share royalties from renewable generation with states and local communities to help promote economic development and reduce local dependence on fossil fuel revenues.

Using public lands to generate renewable energy to help Americans rather than give away public lands to greedy Big Oil and Big Gas companies to enrich themselves and simultaneously ruin the environment? What a novel idea!

Decreasing dependency on fossil fuels is critical for our future. Climate change isn’t merely an environmental challenge; it is a threat to national security, and Warren notes that nearly one-quarter of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions come from fossil fuel extraction on public lands. Imagine the chaos and economic ruin if residents in cities like Miami or New York City are forced to evacuate for the short term, or the long term, because of rising sea levels. Warren’s proposal wouldn’t necessarily end climate change, but it’s a good place to start.


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