Baton Rouge Advocate Op-ed: Biden Must Defend His Climate Policies from Industry Attack

Karen Sokol

March 15, 2021

This op-ed was originally published in the Baton Rouge Advocate.

A week after taking office, President Joe Biden issued an executive order “on tackling the climate crisis” that includes important measures to address the crisis comprehensively and equitably. Specifically, the order directs the federal government to take a “whole of government” approach to the climate crisis that pursues economic security, ensures environmental justice, and empowers workers.

The beginning of such a plan is promising, particularly after four years under an administration that wiped the word “climate” from government websites, rolled back the Obama administration’s steps to address the crisis, and made fossil fuel production a centerpiece of its agenda.

But it’s just that — a promising beginning. And it’s already under assault. The American Petroleum Institute, the nation’s largest oil and gas lobbying group, immediately attacked the order, and particularly its directive to pause new oil and gas leasing on federal lands and offshore waters. The industry not only launched a nationwide PR campaign decrying the new leasing pause, but also filed a lawsuit challenging it.

At first blush, this strong reaction seems odd given that the federal leasing pause, like everything else in Biden’s climate order, is at most the beginning of a plan to make the necessary transition away from fossil fuels. At this stage it is, after all, only a pause.

It appears baffling for other reasons too.

Read the full op-ed in the Baton Rouge Advocate.

Subscribe to CPR Resources

Read More by Karen Sokol
CPR HOMEPAGE
More on CPR's Work & Scholars.
April 14, 2021

Advocates, Scholars of Color Call for Bold Action to End Environmental Racism

April 13, 2021

Maryland Adopts Law to Ensure Safe Drinking Water for Tenants

April 6, 2021

Equity and Justice Should Begin at Home

April 5, 2021

Appeals Court Nixes New York City Climate Lawsuit

April 2, 2021

A Victory in the Meatpacking Jungle

March 31, 2021

Women’s History Month Q&A with Maxine Burkett

March 30, 2021

Biden's Dilemma: Limiting Carbon from Existing Power Plants