2024年6月27日 星期四

Biden Administration Moves to Speed Up Permits for Clean Energy 拜登政府加速批准潔淨能源申請

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2024/06/28 第491期 訂閱/退訂看歷史報份
紐時周報精選 Biden Administration Moves to Speed Up Permits for Clean Energy 拜登政府加速批准潔淨能源申請
Will the Justices Hold Presidents to Account? 大法官熱議川普豁免權 200年前就有解
Biden Administration Moves to Speed Up Permits for Clean Energy 拜登政府加速批准潔淨能源申請
文/Coral Davenport


The Biden administration released rules designed to speed up permits for clean energy while requiring federal agencies to more heavily weigh damaging effects on the climate and on low-income communities before approving projects like highways and oil wells.


As part of a deal to raise the country's debt limit last year, Congress required changes to the National Environmental Policy Act, a 54-year-old bedrock law that requires the government to consider environmental effects and to seek public input before approving any project that necessitates federal permits.


That bipartisan debt ceiling legislation included reforms to the environmental law designed to streamline the approval process for major construction projects, such as oil pipelines, highways and power lines for wind- and solar-generated electricity. The rules released by the White House Council on Environmental Quality are intended to guide federal agencies in putting the reforms in place.


But they also lay out additional requirements created to prioritize projects with strong environmental benefits, while adding layers of review for projects that could harm the climate or their surrounding communities.


"These reforms will deliver smarter decisions, quicker permitting, and projects that are built better and faster," said Brenda Mallory, chair of the council. "As we accelerate our clean energy future, we are also protecting communities from pollution and environmental harms that can result from poor planning and decision-making while making sure we build projects in the right places."


The move comes as President Joe Biden rushes to push through a slew of major environmental rules before November's presidential election, including policies to limit climate-warming pollution from cars, trucks, power plants and oil and gas wells; to protect the habitats of the sage grouse and other endangered species; to ban asbestos; and to remove so-called forever chemicals from tap water.


The rules could help to more quickly carry out Biden's signature climate law, the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act, which includes at least $370 billion in tax incentives to expand renewable energy, such as wind and solar power, as well as electric vehicles. The new rules released by the White House Council for Environmental Quality would also allow projects that have a demonstrated long-term environmental benefit to receive expedited environmental reviews or bypass them altogether.


Will the Justices Hold Presidents to Account? 大法官熱議川普豁免權 200年前就有解
文/Jesse Wegman

大法官熱議川普豁免權 200年前就有解

Did the American Revolution actually happen? If it did, was it a good thing?


This is more or less what Justice Elena Kagan seemed to be wondering during the oral arguments in Donald Trump's Jan. 6 immunity case at the Supreme Court on Thursday morning.


"Wasn't the whole point that the president was not a monarch and the president was not supposed to be above the law?" she asked.


Like her, I had assumed those questions were answered decisively in the affirmative more than 200 years ago. But now, after almost three hours of circuitous debate and bizarre hypotheticals at the Supreme Court, I'm not so sure.


The right-wing justices seemed thoroughly uninterested in the case before them, which involves a violent insurrection that was led by a sitting president who is seeking to return to office in a matter of months. Instead, they spent the morning and early afternoon appearing to be more worried that prosecuting Trump could risk future malicious prosecutions of former presidents by their political rivals. And they tried to draw a distinction between official acts, for which a president might have immunity from prosecution, and private acts, for which no immunity would apply.


The upshot was that a majority of justices appeared prepared to send the case back down to the lower courts for further unnecessary litigation, which would almost certainly eliminate any chance of a trial being held before Election Day.


So let's remember how we got here. The case began last year with special counsel Jack Smith's indictment of the former president on charges of obstruction, fraud and conspiracy relating to his central role in the effort to overturn his defeat in the 2020 election, which resulted in the deadly attack at the U.S. Capitol. This scheme was, by a long shot, the most egregious abuse of authority by any president in history.


In short, the justice system is doing its job by trying to hold to account a former president for subverting the last election before he runs in the next one. That is a very important job! And yet the right-wing justices are saying, essentially, not so fast — and maybe not at all.


The federal Jan. 6 trial should have been underway for almost two months by this point. The lower courts, in opinions by judges appointed by both Republicans and Democrats, dispatched this appeal with ease. But the Supreme Court decided to take the case anyway, scheduling it for the final argument day of the term.


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