- A Climate Task Force has been established by the US Department of Interior
- Its role will be to accelerate renewable energy development by prioritizing and accelerating the permitting and appropriate environmental review of such projects
- Among its various mandates, the Climate Task Force will also focus on accelerating the permitting and appropriate environmental review of renewable energy projects
- Through another order, the department has revoked Trump era orders but continues to review oil, gas, coal, and renewable energy development proposals on public lands and waters
The Department of Interior under the US government has established a Climate Task Force by issuing a Secretarial Order which it says manifests the administration’s priority it accords to climate change.
The Climate Task Force is to coordinate work across the department including accelerating renewable energy development and identifying actions to foster investments in energy communities. Among the main responsibilities of the Climate Task Force include identifying policies and/or revisions to existing policies and make recommendations to prioritize climate change in policy making and budget processes.
Order No. 3399 that mandates the formation of the Departmental Climate Task Force reads that it shall prioritize and accelerate the permitting and appropriate environmental review of renewable energy projects, including associated transmission rights-of-way to deliver renewable energy, on department managed lands and outer continental shelf.
It will also be required to evaluate GHG emissions and associated impacts of climate change on federal land uses and opportunities to increase carbon sequestration. The Climate Task Force will promote actions and work with related agencies to support reclamation of abandoned mine lands and the cleanup of orphan oil and gas wells.
Stating that science should be used in the decision making process, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland stressed that the order ensures climate change is appropriately analyzed, and that tribes and environmental justice communities are appropriately engaged.
“I know that signing Secretarial Orders alone won’t address the urgency of the climate crisis. But I’m hopeful that these steps will help make clear that we, as a Department, have a mandate to act,” added Haaland.
At the same time, the Interior Secretary revoked 12 previous orders issued under the Trump era through a new order SO 3398 calling these inconsistent with its commitment to protect public health. Haaland’s department made it clear that the new order does not impact its ongoing review of proposals for oil, gas, coal, and renewable energy development on public lands and waters.
This turns out to be one more initiative US President Joe Biden led administration has taken to ensure the country’s clean energy transition aligned with the overarching aim of 100% carbon free power system for the country by 2035 (see US President Proposes 10-Year Extension For ITC).