biden administration – Grantstation Trendtrack Tue, 29 Mar 2022 01:20:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 biden administration – Grantstation Trendtrack 32 32 Coconino Voices: General mining law desperately needs updating | Columnists Thu, 24 Feb 2022 22:17:00 +0000

The General Mining Act of 1872 was designed to encourage settlement and colonization of the American West, in part to drive out the Indigenous peoples who had already lived there for tens of thousands of years. Today, 150 years after its enactment, this law has not changed significantly and continues to prioritize the hard rock mining industry above all other uses and interests, including the rights and the perspectives of affected tribes and communities.

As president of the Hualapai Tribal Council, I understand how this remnant of a law directly affects indigenous communities like mine, where exploratory drilling for a lithium mining project in the Big Sandy River Valley of the western Arizona, has been allowed in recent years with minimal tribal consultation. Lithium is in high demand as electric vehicle sales surge and the Biden administration pushes to reduce carbon emissions, but we must not replace one dirty industry with another. Additionally, the Big Sandy Lithium Project threatens our water security in the face of severe and ongoing drought, desecrating the fragile desert landscape and continuing the centuries-old tradition of the federal government to encroach on our sacred and cultural sites.

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This predicament, which is common for tribes and communities across the American West with a history of hard rock mining or current activity, could be resolved if the federal government takes meaningful steps to reform the outrageously outdated rules. that govern this industry.

The Mining Law of 1872 has long awaited an overhaul. However, administrative reforms would be an important first step with tangible benefits for tribal and local communities affected by mining. Specifically, the Bureau of Land Management could rewrite the rules that implement the Mining Act of 1872 and clarify the agency’s responsibility to deny mining proposals that could result in unnecessary or undue degradation of treaty rights and rights. other rights to fish, hunt, gather or otherwise use public lands. under the Federal Lands Management Policy Act (FLPMA). This would allow land managers to deny mining activity on land already in use or on which communities rely.

Failure to address this issue is a threat to our environment, public health, and very existence in water-strapped communities like ours. More than 90% of the major copper and gold mines in the United States have polluted the water and, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, 40% of the headwaters of the western United States watersheds have been polluted by mining. This pollution can persist for thousands of years – long after mines have closed and companies have left, requiring continued funding for monitoring and water treatment to protect communities downstream from the dangers of waste. mining.

Taxpayers are also being cheated under the current system, with the EPA estimating the backlog of cleanup costs for hundreds of thousands of abandoned mines in the United States to be between $20 billion and $54 billion. This is significantly more than the total annual budget of the federal Superfund program, and taxpayers are potentially responsible for billions of additional dollars in cleanup costs at active mines. There are state and federal grants to help cover these costs, but funding is volatile and barely sufficient.

Although reform legislation has floundered for years in Congress without making much headway, U.S. Representative Raúl Grijalva is to be commended for championing legislative efforts to protect tribal interests and improve tribal consultation in mining projects, and to establish a federal royalty for mining companies and a funding mechanism to clean up polluted mine sites and rehabilitate damaged areas. The bill would also end patenting, which currently allows mining companies to lock up public lands that could be open for other uses.

Such legislation should be a priority for every member of Congress, but until we can update the Mining Act of 1872, the Biden administration must take action and reform hard rock mining rules by under the BLM. This is the first step towards a fairer, more equitable and more climate secure future for tribal and local communities struggling with the financial and social costs of hard rock mining.

The metal mining industry is the main source of toxic pollution in our country. Without accountability or regulation for this industry, the onus falls on tribal and local governments to pay for the impacts. Legislative reform must be our long-term goal, but in the meantime, BLM must modernize industry rules, to protect our cultural and sacred sites, our water resources, our health, our livelihoods and our quality of life. life.

Damon Clarke is the President of the Hualapai Tribal Council and contributor to Western Leaders Voices, a Western Leaders Network program that helps amplify the voices of elected tribal, local, and state leaders on conservation issues in the West.

The 1st public health insurance plan in the United States struggles to gain ground Mon, 21 Feb 2022 15:04:51 +0000

With prospects for the U.S. adopting a single-payer “Medicare for All” program dim, proponents of health care reform have instead turned to a government-designed insurance plan that could compete with private insurance plans sold on health care exchanges. The idea behind this “public option” is that it could ultimately expand access to health care by making a plan available to consumers at a lower cost.

But the public option plan, while backed by Presidents Biden and Barack Obama, also came to naught due to political opposition in Congress.

Thus, some states have taken up the torch and are creating their own public option plans. But they, too, face formidable opposition from the health care establishment, which is resisting pressure to cut downstream costs so consumers can pay less.

Washington state, in its second year of offering the nation’s first public health insurance plan, has learned an important lesson: If you want hospitals to participate, you’ll probably have to force them.

Washington’s public option is more of a public-private partnership: the plan was designed by the state but is offered by private insurance companies. Anyone who buys their own policy in the state health insurance market can purchase a public option plan and, depending on their income, can receive significant subsidies from the federal government to reduce their cost.

But two years later, plans are only available in 25 of the state’s 39 counties, enrollment numbers have been disappointing, and state leaders are blaming hospitals.

“Plans struggled to get networks in place because hospitals wouldn’t play,” said state Rep. Eileen Cody, the Washington lawmaker who introduced the public option bill in 2019. “They are a big part of the problem.”

Washington State Hospital Association officials said more hospitals are voluntarily participating in public option plans. But, they noted, the public option relies on reducing payments to hospitals to control costs and ties reimbursement to Medicare rates, which do not cover hospitals’ costs of providing care.

“If patients choose to enroll in a public option plan rather than private insurance, it could create financial challenges over time, especially for small, rural providers operating on thin margins,” Chelene said. Whiteaker, senior vice president of government affairs for the hospital group.

Last year, Washington state lawmakers voted to require hospitals to contract with a public option plan if public option plans weren’t available in every county by 2022. That mandate will come into force in 2023.

Other states are monitoring Washington’s public option struggles

Other states considering a public option are learning from Washington’s challenges. Colorado and Nevada, which are implementing public option plans in 2023 and 2026, respectively, have already built in ways to force hospitals to participate. And other states considering a public option — including Connecticut, Oregon, New Jersey and New Mexico — are likely to follow suit.

“One thing that states have learned is that you can’t make hospital participation optional,” said Erin Fuse Brown, director of the Center for Law, Health & Society at the Georgia State College of Law. “Otherwise, there’s just no way the public option will have a chance. It’ll never build a sufficient network.”

Washington’s public option was designed to save consumers money primarily by reducing what hospitals and doctors are paid, capping overall payments at 160% of what Medicare would pay for those services. In comparison, health plans paid providers an average of 174% of Medicare rates.

Public option plans are available to everyone and are in the same gold, silver, and bronze tiers as private plans on the health insurance exchange. Proponents estimated that the cap would result in public option plans having premiums 5% to 10% lower than traditional plans on the stock exchange. But public option premiums were, on average, 11% higher than the lowest silver plan premium available in every county in the market in 2021, and a silver public option plan had the lowest premium in only nine counties. Silver plans cover, on average, around 70% of healthcare costs.

Only 1% of people buying plans on the stock exchange chose public option plans in 2021. Public option premiums for 2022 were about 5% lower than public option premiums in 2021. The figures from registration this year have not been finalized – the state is waiting to see how many people who have registered complete the process by paying their premiums.

“We know premiums are what drive enrollment decision-making,” said Liz Hagan, director of policy solutions for United States of Care, a nonprofit that advocates for improved health care. access to health care. “People often don’t look at anything other than the premium. They rarely look at out-of-pocket expenses.”

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But stock exchange officials say savvy consumers find public option plans cheaper in the long run. Compared to traditional exchange plans, they have lower deductibles and provide more non-deductible services.

“Premium is always king,” said Michael Marchand, chief marketing officer for the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. “But we have a lot of people who have gotten a lot smarter about how they price something.”

Marchand also said it might take a few years for a new product like the public option plan to gain traction in the market. Insurance companies may have priced their plans a bit high the first year, not knowing what to expect. Now, with a year under their belt, they have reduced the premiums somewhat.

Limited choices to reduce costs

Washington’s stumble reflects the difficulty of cutting health care costs while working within the current system. Lawmakers originally wanted to cut payment rates to hospitals and other providers much further, but raised the cap on the legislation so hospitals wouldn’t oppose the bill. Now, it’s unclear whether the payment cap is low enough to reduce premiums.

“That’s kind of the big trade-off,” said Aditi Sen, a health economist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “You’re trying to reduce premiums enough to get people to sign up, but not so much that providers don’t participate.”

This will be a challenge for any state or federal public option plan. There are only a number of ways to reduce premiums. Hospitals, doctors and other healthcare professionals have strongly pushed back on any cuts to their payment rates, while insurance plans balk at plans that could eat away at their profits.

Plans can reduce the size of their provider network to save money, but consumers don’t like plans that limit the number of doctors they can see. Public option plans could build on existing public health programs, like Medicare and Medicaid, which already pay lower rates than commercial insurance, but government-run insurance plans have overtones. negative for many consumers.

Sen and his colleagues found that in 2021, Washington counties with public option plans were mostly in areas where hospital and physician payment rates were lower than other parts of the state. This may have helped insurers grow networks while staying under the 160% provider payment cap.

Five of the 12 private insurers that sell plans on the exchange offer public option plans.

Insurance companies that previously offered plans in Washington were able to cobble together networks based on existing contracts with hospitals and physician groups. But two carriers new to the Washington Stock Exchange had to start from scratch and negotiate prices with providers for their public option plans. Some of the insurance companies tried to offer public option plans in other counties but could not persuade hospitals, especially those in larger hospital systems, to accept their rates.

Washington saw enrollment in public option plans begin to climb during a special enrollment period launched in mid-2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The American Rescue Plan Act also provided more subsidies, which made all plans on the exchange more affordable. But those grants are set to expire at the end of the year unless Congress votes to extend them. An extension is included in the Biden administration’s Build Back Better legislation, but the legislation has stalled in Congress.

Washington lawmakers have approved other measures to make the public option more affordable. They have set aside $50 million in state grants, but officials have yet to figure out how to allocate those funds. And lawmakers have authorized the state to seek a waiver from the federal government that could allow the state to keep more of the savings from premium reductions. Right now, lower premiums also mean less subsidy from the federal government. The state can request that these savings be passed on to consumers.

Washington did not request such a waiver before implementing its public option plan, but many believe the Biden administration may be more receptive to such a request than the Trump administration.

The state’s progress on public option plans comes amid disappointment among many progressives that Congress did not implement a federal public option under the Affordable Care Act to compete with private plans. on the stairs.

Washington state officials realize that because they were the first to implement a public option, other states will be watching them closely to see how it all plays out. “We’re not the only ones, but we’re the most advanced,” Cody said. “Other people can learn from our mistakes.”

KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism on health issues. It is an editorially independent operating program of KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation).

Historic funding could transform gun violence prevention efforts. But can smaller groups take it over? | American crime Tue, 15 Feb 2022 11:02:00 +0000

FFor years, local gun violence prevention programs have struggled to secure long-term funding. The people who care for students on and off US school campuses, sit at the bedside of gunshot wound survivors and hug the families of homicide victims, are rarely paid with dedicated public money. Instead, many groups survive on unpaid hours, donations, and competitive one-time grants. But since 2021, a historic amount of government funding has been made available across the United States, which may turn the tide.

The money comes as U.S. cities urgently need response and healing resources after a nearly two-year rise in homicides and shootings. Yet with this potential boon also comes confusion, especially for smaller programs whose staff lack the bandwidth to run tedious, competitive applications unattended.

“It’s been a headache, but we’re learning,” said Dante Gaines, co-founder of 1 Hundred Years Enterprises in Richmond, Calif., of the writing and grant application processes. “It’s very tedious, especially when you have three brothers who don’t really know what we’re doing.” Gaines and his partners, Lejon Reese and Patrick Scott, met while serving decades-long sentences at Folsom State Prison and founded the organization in 2018. Since then, they have started speaking in a local elementary school, helping other formerly incarcerated people find their position and build relationships with the young men most at risk of being on either side of a gun. The trio quit day jobs to take up community work and operate primarily on donations from family and local residents as well as a contract with the County Boys and Girls Club, a national community development organization. youth.

Homicides in the United States increased by 30% in 2020. Photography: Bryan Dozier/REX/Shutterstock

They’ve seen municipal and nonprofit grant applications turned down in the past, but they’re still applying. Scott says a steady infusion of funding would give co-founders more time to innovate and expand their reach. “We’re so worried about how to get funding that it’s preventing us from doing what we do very well,” he said. “A few years of funding gives us enough room to be creative.”

Community organizations like Reese’s, Gaines’ and Scott’s have long called for long-term funding. These groups reach the majority of black and Latino residents who bear the brunt of gun violence in the United States, using art and yoga to help people heal from trauma, and taking young people on trips out of state. The work requires money for supplies and staff, but many groups have for years paid for it through grants and contracts, volunteer work and donations.

Still, money has been tight due to bureaucracy related to government grant applications and oversight, organizers said. If someone gets a government contract or some other type of public money, it’s usually only allocated for a few months or a year, which isn’t enough to develop the relationship needed to get someone out of the cycle. violence. Donations and philanthropic funds have covered the gaps, but violence prevention advocates say it is the government’s responsibility to ensure that grassroots healing and response groups can easily access funds public.

“Philanthropy dollars can fill a void, but those government dollars can sustain organizations for the long term. This direct investment is critical,” said Michael-Sean Spence, Director of Community Safety Initiatives for Everytown for Gun Safety.

The organization’s appeals found a more receptive audience, however, as homicides began to climb across the United States, coinciding with demands for money to be diverted from police and towards holistic violence prevention. The money, activists and interventionists hoped, would go to local groups whose staff were entrenched in the streets and had a proven track record of turning people away from the violence and helping families and individuals heal.

In 2021, after homicides jumped 30% from the previous year, the Biden administration ordered counties to use U.S. bailout funds for violence prevention work and put in place restrictions. million dollars available through health and social services, education and housing. In California, the state’s Violence Prevention and Intervention Grant Program (CalVIP) budget has been increased by $200 million and is available to more cities and programs than ever before.

“It took the Covid-19 pandemic to exacerbate the already debilitating, but forgotten, pandemic of gun violence,” said Julius Thibodeaux, co-director of Movement for Life in Sacramento. The group was once affiliated with Advance Peace, an organization that is now a national violence prevention model. Thibodeaux says he and his staff have begun to see more young people involved in gunplay and points to the loss of school and extracurricular activities that gave them refuge.

“Money is important because we can get them on the right track, but you need long-term support resources to make sure nothing derails them,” he continued.

However, the newly available funds are of no use if the barrier to entry is too high for small groups to overcome. This is where national organizations hope to be able to leave their mark. Spence, of Everytown, said his group helps local groups take advantage of the historic amount of money available at the local, state and federal levels.

California Governor Gavin Newsom, left, and San Francisco Mayor London Breed with Sheila Burton and Mattie Scott of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence in San Francisco, June 2021.
California Governor Gavin Newsom, left, and San Francisco Mayor London Breed with Sheila Burton and Mattie Scott of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence in San Francisco, June 2021. Photograph: Karl Mondon/AP

“It takes time for this change to happen and community programs are not waiting for governments to determine this funding – they are meeting the needs today,” he continued.

“There’s a learning curve in the field to find the information,” said Greg Jackson, executive director of the Community Justice Action Fund, a national violence prevention group. “Before these executive actions, we had $5-10 million and now we have billions for people to compete for.”

For programs like 1 Hundred Year Enterprises, the support Jackson and Spence refer to couldn’t come soon enough. The founders plan to begin working with young people in juvenile detention, most recently partnering with Richmond officials, to organize a series of meetings between black men who once contributed to the city’s gun violence. They plan to start taking students on field trips that they hope will broaden their horizons.

“It takes a lot of determination and resolve to run and fund a program,” said Lejon Reese. “We’ve lost sleep and sacrificed family time, but we have to keep the boots on the ground because we’re trying to deter young people from a path that leads to death or prison.”

Canadian judge issues order to stop protesters from blocking US border bridge Fri, 11 Feb 2022 23:29:00 +0000
Reuters / 07:29 Feb 12, 2022

People erect a tent as truck drivers and supporters continue to block access to the Ambassador Bridge, which connects Detroit and Windsor, to protest coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination mandates, in Windsor , Ontario, Canada February 10, 2022. REUTERS/ Carlos Osori

WINDSOR, Ontario – A judge on Friday ordered an end to the four-day blockade of a Canada-U.S. trade corridor by anti-coronavirus mandate protesters and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised President Joe Biden swift action to end to the crisis.

The order could lead police in the city of Windsor, Ont., to clear truckers who piled up dozens of vehicles near the Ambassador Bridge, North America’s busiest land border crossing and a choke point for Detroit automakers.

Superior Court Judge Geoffrey Morawetz said his order would go into effect Friday at 7 p.m. Eastern Time (0000 GMT) to give people time to clean up the area. Trudeau told reporters earlier that no action was on the table.

Authorities have diverted shipments to stem losses amid production cuts by companies such as Ford. Ontario declared a state of emergency on Friday and the judge approved the request by Windsor authorities in hopes of forcing a halt to the protests.

Occupying the access roads leading to the bridge on Friday, protesters expressed defiance and there were few signs they were backing down.

“Canada is supposed to be a free country,” said Liz Valley, a protester from Chatham, Ont. “When that freedom is threatened, we must stand up.”

“The Prime Minister promised quick action to enforce the law, and the President thanked him for the steps he and other Canadian authorities are taking to restore open passage of bridges to the United States,” said- he added.

Trudeau told reporters he agreed with Biden that the blockades cannot continue. “Everything is on the table because this illegal activity must stop and it will end,” Trudeau said.

The Biden administration had previously urged Canada to use federal powers to ease the blockade of the Ambassador Bridge, a step Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government failed to take. Trudeau said Friday that his government was not seriously considering using the military during the protests.

The leader of Ontario, where police have avoided using force to disperse protesters, sought pressure on Friday by threatening fines of C$100,000 and up to a year in prison for non-compliance .

Announcing the penalties as part of the emergency measures, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said they were necessary to “make it clear that it is illegal and punishable to block and obstruct the movement of goods, people and services along critical infrastructure”.

Windsor police issued a statement warning of the arrests, but it was unclear if and when authorities would start issuing fines or seeking jail time.

Economic losses

As car production cuts mount, Ford, the second-largest U.S. automaker, said on Friday it had temporarily halted work at its Ohio assembly plant. General Motors and Toyota also announced further production cuts.

Shares of Canadian auto parts maker Magna International fell 4.4% on Friday after saying it suffered a first blow following the bridge closure.

Beyond auto sector losses, the three obstructed U.S.-Canada crossings account for 33% of Canada’s trade with the U.S., valued at $616 million a day, Export Development & Development said. Canada.

Closing the bridge could worsen the limited supply of new vehicles in the United States and contribute to the already rapid rise in the price of new vehicles, IHS Markit said in a report on Friday.

Even if the blockade ends, a return to normal will take several weeks as shortages ripple through the supply chain, IHS Markit said.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, home to nearly a fifth of all US auto production, told CNN: “The Canadian government must do whatever it takes to address this issue safely and quickly.”

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FWW: VP’s visit to Newark highlights need for additional funding Fri, 11 Feb 2022 17:06:00 +0000

VP’s visit to Newark highlights need for additional funding

The administration’s infrastructure agreement does not fully fund the necessary water solutions

Today, Vice President Kamala Harris is in Newark to highlight the city’s response to a lead crisis that has impacted drinking water in New Jersey’s largest city.

The visit is expected to shed light on the urgent need to address lead contamination across the country and the shortcomings of the Infrastructure Investment and Employment Act.

Food & Water Watch Water for All Program Director Mary Grant released the following statement:

“Newark overcame its drinking water crisis thanks to strong grassroots pressure from community activists and the city’s ability to secure the funding necessary to protect residents from dangerous lead contamination. Unfortunately, the White House has yet to make the level of commitment needed to end the lead in water crisis nationwide. The infrastructure bill championed by the Biden administration spends $15 billion on replacing lead pipes, which is only a quarter of what the water industry estimates is needed to replace all the pipes lead service. And about half of that funding comes in the form of loans, instead of grants, which disinvested cities urgently need. It is simply not enough.

“If the administration is to fully address this crisis, President Biden should prioritize integrating the UAE Act into his infrastructure agenda. This bill is the only permanent solution to our water crises. water, allocating $35 billion a year to urgently address issues facing communities across the country. The WATER Act prioritizes disadvantaged communities and would be fully paid for by reversing some of the tax breaks given to corporations by the previous administration.And the UAE Act would ensure that funds would not flow to large private water companies that take over public water systems.The solution to our national water crisis water is ready – now we must act.


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States get green light to build electric car charging stations, Auto News, ET Auto Fri, 11 Feb 2022 02:19:00 +0000

Biden has also set a goal of 50% electric vehicle sales by 2030, as part of a broader effort to achieve a zero-emissions economy by 2050.

WASHINGTON: States get green light to build nationwide network of electric vehicle charging stations that would place new or upgraded ones every 80 kilometers (50 miles) along interstate highways under Biden administration’s plan aimed at boosting the widespread adoption of zero-emission cars.

The administration on Thursday announced the availability of $5 billion in federal money to states over five years under President Joe Biden’s Infrastructure Act, outlining a vision for climate-friendly road travel a coast to coast.

Under Department of Transportation requirements, states must submit plans to the federal government and can begin construction by this fall if they focus on highway roads first, rather than neighborhoods and malls. that can allow people to travel long distances with their electric vehicles. Each station should have at least four fast-charging ports, which allow drivers to fully charge their vehicles in about an hour.

Many technical details remain to be worked out and the administration recognizes that it will take work to convince drivers accustomed to petrol cars, especially in rural areas. The money is far less than the $15 billion Biden had envisioned to deliver on a campaign promise of 500,000 charging stations by 2030, and it may take substantial private investment to make the plan work.

“A century ago America ushered in the age of the modern automobile; now America must lead the electric vehicle revolution,” said Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who will have final approval. on most aspects of financing.

Buttigieg made the announcement outside the Transportation Department with White House officials flanked by a pair of black Ford Mustang Mach-E SUVs in the federal government‘s growing electric fleet that he and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm drive. The retail price of the vehicle starts around $44,000 and climbs to $60,000+ including options, and they are currently manufactured in Mexico.

Buttigieg made a particular appeal to rural drivers, suggesting that America’s wide open spaces no longer need to be a “valley of death” for electric vehicle drivers.

“Many might consider them a luxury item,” he said. “The reality is that no one benefits from electric vehicles in principle more than those who travel the longest distances, often our rural Americans.”

The law provides an additional $2.5 billion for local grants, due later this year, to fill remaining gaps in the charging network in rural areas and in disadvantaged communities, which are currently less likely to own the vehicles. more expensive electricity. States that do not meet all federal requirements risk delaying approval from the Federal Highway Administration or not receiving any money at all.

Biden has also set a goal of 50% electric vehicle sales by 2030, as part of a broader effort to achieve a zero-emissions economy by 2050.

Electric vehicles accounted for less than 3% of new auto sales in the United States last year, but forecasters expect big increases over the next decade. Consumers purchased around 400,000 all-electric vehicles. According to a Consumer Reports survey, anxiety over limited range and the availability of charging stations were among consumers’ top concerns about owning an electric vehicle.

Biden hopes to do even more to promote electric vehicles, including a provision in his stalled social and environmental bill for a $7,500 tax credit for people who buy electric vehicles.

“It will help make America the world leader in electric vehicles,” Biden said this week of American companies developing electric vehicle infrastructure.

“China has led the race so far, but that is about to change,” he said. “Because America is building convenient, reliable, and fair nationwide public charging networks. So wherever you live, charging an electric vehicle will be quick and easy.”

Granholm described the initial $5 billion investment as creating “the backbone” of the national network. Alluding to soaring gas prices, said the goal of the new stations is to build “the infrastructure needed for drivers across America to save money and go the distance.”

Environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council praised the administration’s quick start, but said there was still a lot of work to do. He said states, utilities and private companies will need to step up and fill funding gaps to ensure a comprehensive public charging system by 2035, which is estimated to cost $39 billion.

“We have no time to waste,” the band said in a statement.

Currently, EV owners charge their vehicles at home 80% of the time, making the need for EV charging stations in colleges, apartment building parking lots, or even public streets less urgent. But that is likely to change as more and more people who don’t have a garage to house a charging station are buying electric vehicles.

Under the Department of Transportation’s plan, states would be eligible to build EV stations in neighborhoods and cities once FHWA and Buttigieg certify that they’ve done their part to fulfill their commitments to the network. freeway EV charging, known as alternative fuel corridors.

DC fast chargers, which can charge a car to 80% of its battery capacity in 20-45 minutes, are quite expensive, costing between $40,000 and $100,000, limiting the number that can be built, but they allow drivers to quickly return to a road such as a highway.

Jessika Trancik, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor who studies electric vehicle charging, called the administration’s approach a good first step. She said a successful strategy to spur wider use of electric vehicles will require charging stations in a host of different locations, including faster charging along highways and slower charging near homes and businesses. work places.

Even with limited resources, she said, federal money could be doled out to accelerate private investment, with greater government incentives for areas that might otherwise be underserved by the private sector.

“It’s not about the government installing each of these chargers themselves,” she said. “It’s also about stimulating private sector investment.”

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US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said the funding “will help us win the race for electric vehicles by working with states, unions and the private sector to deploy a historic charging network nationwide.”

Biden welcomed the Tritium announcement in remarks at the White House, saying charging stations produced in Tennessee will mirror the bipartisan infrastructure deal, which provides $7.5 billion in federal grants for build a network of charging stations.

]]> EU joins flea race with €42 billion bid to rival Asia Tue, 08 Feb 2022 03:22:17 +0000

The production of semiconductors, also called chips, has become a strategic priority in Europe as in the United States, after the shock of the pandemic which stifled supply – Copyright AFP François WALSCHAERTS

Alex Pigman

The EU is launching a plan on Tuesday to raise tens of billions of euros to boost production of semiconductors in Europe and end the bloc’s digital dependence on Asia.

The production of semiconductors, also called chips, has become a strategic priority in Europe and the United States, after the shock of the pandemic stifled supplies, immobilized factories and emptied stores of products.

Chipmaking overwhelmingly takes place in Taiwan, China and South Korea and the 27 member states of the European Union want factories and companies inside the bloc to play a bigger role.

Thierry Breton, the EU’s industry commissioner, will urge Europeans on Tuesday to be as ambitious as possible and match similar plans in the United States, where the Biden administration is asking Congress to approve $52 billion.

Visiting the IMEC chip research center in Belgium on Monday, Breton boasted that the plan “will position Europe as an industry leader but also give us complete control of our semi -conductors”.

“The EU will equip itself with the means to guarantee its security of supply, as the United States does for example,” he declared, in a separate briefing to journalists.

“Europe will remain an open continent, but on its own terms,” ​​he said, referring to a “paradigm shift” in Europe’s approach to highly strategic supplies such as semiconductors.

If approved, the EU plans could generate a total of 42 billion euros ($48 billion) through existing EU budget funds as well as by relaxing existing rules on state subsidies for Member States.

The main goal of the chip crusade will be to double Europe’s semiconductor capacity from 10% of global value today to 20% by 2030.

The proposal will need to be approved by EU member states and the European Parliament, where opinions will vary between the ambitions of industrial heavyweights such as Germany, France and Italy and those of smaller states fearful of shutting down valuable supply chains with Asia.

– Race for subsidies –

Some member states, led by the Netherlands and the Nordics, will also resist any plans to widen the scope of state aid, with the commission set to make it easier for EU governments to inject cash to chip makers.

“We don’t want to end up in a situation where a huge US company gets a lot of money from the EU to open a factory in a big member state,” an EU diplomat said.

But the pressure on Europe to act quickly is strong, with South Korea also promising huge sums of subsidies to expand its chip business.

These payments will likely dwarf anything Europe has to offer. In Taiwan, chip behemoth TSMC plans to spend between $40 billion and $44 billion over the next 12 months on new factories.

With the new priority, it appears manufacturers are looking for the best deal as they seek locations for new factories.

Intel, the US-based chipmaker, is set to announce a major investment in Europe, with major destinations possible including Germany, France and Italy.

CEO Pat Gelsinger told German media that his decision hinged not just on issues of suitable locations and personnel “but also on the grants available to build the factories”.

“We have also secured considerable subsidies for our factories in Asia,” Gelsinger said.

EXPLANATION: What happens to European energy if Russia acts? | Economic news Sun, 06 Feb 2022 07:43:17 +0000


FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Fears are growing about what would happen to Europe’s energy supply if Russia were to invade Ukraine and then halt natural gas exports in retaliation for U.S. and European sanctions.

The tensions show the risk of Europe’s dependence on Russia for energy, which provides around a third of the continent’s natural gas. And Europe’s stock is already low. While the United States has pledged to help by increasing exports of liquefied natural gas, or LNG, it can only produce a limited amount at a time.

This leaves Europe in a potential crisis, with its gas already undermined by a cold winter last year, a summer with little renewable energy production and Russia producing less than usual. Prices soared, crushing households and businesses.

Here’s what to know about Europe’s energy supply if tensions escalate into war and Russia is hit with sanctions:

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No one knows for sure, but a full shutdown is considered unlikely, as it would be mutually destructive.

Russian officials have not indicated they would consider cutting supplies in the event of new sanctions. Moscow depends on energy exports, and although it has just signed a gas deal with China, Europe is a key source of revenue.

Europe is also dependent on Russia, so any Western sanctions would likely avoid directly targeting Russian energy supplies.

More likely, experts say, Russia would withhold gas sent through pipelines crossing Ukraine. Russia pumped 175 billion cubic meters of gas into Europe last year, nearly a quarter of it through these pipelines, according to S&P Global Platts. This would leave the pipelines under the Baltic Sea and through Poland still in operation.

“I think that in the event of even a less serious Russian attack on Ukraine, the Russians are almost certain to cut off the gas passing through Ukraine on the way to Germany,” said former American diplomat Dan Fried, who as the State Department’s coordinator for sanctions policy helped craft 2014 measures against Russia when it invaded and annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula.

Russia could then offer to make up lost gas if Germany approves the new Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, whose operators could potentially face US sanctions even if a recent vote to do so failed. German officials also said the pipeline blockade operation would be “on the table” in the event of an invasion.

Disruption of gas supply beyond Ukrainian pipelines less likely: ‘If they push too far, they will make a breach with Europe irreparable, and they have to sell the oil and gas somewhere’ , Fried said.

It is a major gas producer and is already shipping record levels of liquefied natural gas, or LNG, by ship around the world. This could only help Europe a little.

“We’re talking about small increases in the size of US exports, whereas the hole Europe would have to fill if Russia backed down or Europe cut Russia would be much bigger than that,” said senior analyst Ross Wyeno. for the Americas. LNG at S&P.

The Biden administration has been talking to gas producers around the world about whether they can ramp up production and ship to Europe, and it has been working to identify natural gas supplies from North Africa, from the Middle East, Asia and the United States.

The administration is also discussing with buyers the possibility of waiting.

“Is there any other country that was planning to get a shipment of LNG that doesn’t need it and could give it to Europe?” said Amy Myers Jaffe, managing director of the Climate Policy Lab at Tufts University, mentioning Brazil or countries in Asia.

Over the past month, two-thirds of US LNG exports have gone to Europe. Some ships filled with LNG were heading for Asia but turned back to Europe because buyers there offered to pay higher prices, S&P said.


Not in the event of a complete cut, and it cannot be increased overnight. Export terminals cost billions of dollars to build and are operating at full capacity in the United States

Even if all LNG import facilities in Europe were operating at full capacity, the amount of gas would only be about two-thirds of what Russia sends through pipelines, Jaffe said.

And there could be difficulties distributing LNG to parts of Europe that have fewer pipeline connections.

If Russia stopped shipping only the gas that passes through Ukraine, it would take the equivalent of about 1.27 additional LNG shipments per day to replace that supply, said Luke Cottell, principal LNG analyst at S&P. . Russia could also redirect some of that gas to other pipelines, reducing the need for additional LNG to about half a load per day, he said.


Russia has fulfilled its long-term contracts to supply gas to Europe, but it is selling less on the spot market and has not filled the storage containers it has in Europe, experts say.

” It’s already arrived. It’s not theoretical,” Jaffe said.

Russian reductions in spot gas supplies contributed to the sharp rise in natural gas prices in Europe. They reached 166 euros ($190) per megawatt-hour in December, more than eight times their level at the start of 2021. Prices have fallen to less than 80 euros per kilowatt-hour as more LNG arrives.

But consumers are feeling the squeeze from higher electricity and gas bills. European governments are deploying subsidies and tax breaks to ease financial stress on households.


As the United States increased its LNG exports, domestic natural gas prices also rose. More than 10% of gas produced in the United States last year was exported, said Clark Williams-Derry, an analyst at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.

Gas prices in the United States soared more than 30% in the last week of January, largely due to an approaching winter storm in New England, Williams-Derry said. But prices were also hurt by tighter U.S. supplies amid uncertainty over Russia, he said.

“Russia is disrupting European gas markets, with the US talking about essentially exporting the next ‘Berlin Airlift’ for natural gas to Europe,” he said.

If the United States pushes to increase LNG exports, domestic prices would likely rise, Williams-Derry added.

Ten Democratic senators, led by Jack Reed of Rhode Island and Angus King of Maine, recently urged the Department of Energy to study the effect of rising exports on domestic prices and suspend approvals for proposed terminals. They said they understood that “geopolitical factors” were causing more gas to be sent.

“However, the administration must also consider the potential increased costs to American families,” the senators said.

Bussewitz reported from New York and Daly from Washington.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

US House China competition bill to pass this week Wed, 02 Feb 2022 19:49:00 +0000

The Chinese and American flags are printed on paper in this illustration taken January 27, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

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WASHINGTON, Feb 2 (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday introduced a multibillion-dollar bill aimed at increasing U.S. competitiveness with China and boosting U.S. semiconductor manufacturing , preparing the legislation for full approval by the House this week.

Democratic President Joe Biden’s administration has been scrambling to persuade Congress to approve the bill, which includes $52 billion to subsidize semiconductor manufacturing and research, as shortages of key components used in automobiles and computers have been exacerbated by supply chain bottlenecks.

The Democratic-controlled House approved the America Competes Act rule by 219 to 203, largely along party lines. House aides said they expected a vote to pass the full measure on Friday, after considering a number of amendments.

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The bill contains several trade provisions and would also authorize $8 billion in U.S. contributions to the Green Climate Fund, created by the Paris Agreement to fight climate change, to help developing countries cope. .

Republicans have proposed an amendment to remove that funding. Three Democrats want to increase it by $3 billion.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said last week that the 2,900-page bill would “increase” investment in chips, boost US manufacturing and research, and advance US leadership in the face of a rising China.

House Republicans have complained that Democrats did not include them in the drafting of the legislation. They harshly criticized the weather provisions and said they could be used to help Beijing.

“Republicans are a strong ‘no’,” said Rep. Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Cori Bush filed an amendment last week barring semiconductor companies receiving government grants from paying dividends or buying back company stock.

The Senate passed its own bill – the US Innovation and Competition Act – by a vote of 68 to 32 in June. This legislation includes $52 billion to increase domestic semiconductor production and authorizes $190 billion for American technology and research to compete with China.

The House bill authorizes $45 billion to strengthen supply chains and manufacturing of essential goods for health, communications and other sectors.

If the full House measure passes, the Senate and House will have to reconcile the differences between their bills. The final version would come back to both houses for full approval and then, if that legislation passes, to Biden for his signature.

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Reporting by David Shepardson and Patricia Zengerle; edited by Jonathan Oatis and Mark Porter

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US to reduce levies on most Canadian lumber producers Tue, 01 Feb 2022 01:19:23 +0000

The 2006 Canada-US softwood lumber agreement expired in October 2015, without replacement. In the latest round of the trade dispute, Canadian producers have been paying U.S. duties on softwood lumber since April 2017.Christine Muschi/Reuters

The U.S. Department of Commerce plans to lower tariffs for most Canadian lumber producers, but raise them for West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. WFG-T, Canada’s largest lumber company.

The Commerce Department said late Monday that based on its preliminary assessment, the combined countervailing and anti-dumping duties would be 11.64% for most Canadian producers, down from 17.91% currently.

West Fraser, based in Vancouver, is the only company that will not benefit from the reduced rates, which are expected to take effect in the fall of 2022. Its duty rate is expected to increase to 13.09%, from 11.14% currently.

Rates will vary for three other lumber producers in addition to West Fraser.

International Trade Minister Mary Ng said she was determined to find a way to end US tariffs on softwood lumber.

“The U.S. Department of Commerce indicates with these preliminary results that it intends to maintain its unjustified duties on imports of Canadian lumber,” Ng said in a statement after the announcement. “They are a tax on American consumers and reduce housing affordability for American buyers at a time when housing prices are already at record highs.”

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Canadian softwood lumber producers have been on a rollercoaster ride over tariff rates in the cross-border dispute that dates back almost 40 years.

Just nine weeks ago, the Commerce Department doubled tariffs on most Canadian producers, and those duty rates are expected to remain in effect through September.

The 2006 Canada-US softwood lumber agreement expired in October 2015, without replacement. In the latest round of the trade dispute, Canadian producers have been paying U.S. duties on softwood lumber since April 2017.

BC Lumber Trade Council President Susan Yurkovich said Canadian forestry companies will continue to pay unwarranted fees. “We continue to hope that the American industry will end this decades-long litigation,” she said in an email.

The revisions announced Monday are still subject to verification by the Commerce Department, which will also accept submissions from parties such as the US Lumber Coalition and representatives of Canadian producers. The coalition has repeatedly argued that Canada subsidizes lumber production and sells softwood lumber in the US market at less than market value.

Canada counters that its producers receive no subsidies and that there has been no dumping on the US market.

The federal government is challenging U.S. softwood lumber tariffs in a process under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement that allows Canada and the U.S. to create trade panels to settle the disputes. In addition, Canada filed a complaint in 2017 with the World Trade Organization.

Timber prices have been volatile during the pandemic, fluctuating upwards as homeowners embarked on a DIY renovation spree from summer 2020 to spring 2021. They then fell for three months, before rebounding at the end of the summer of 2021.

Spot prices — what sawmills charge wholesalers — were US$1,220 last week for 1,000 board feet of two-by-fours made from western spruce, pine and fir, according to Madison’s Lumber Reporter, a Vancouver-based industry newsletter. This price level is more than 170% higher than last August.

“We don’t believe the Canadian government or the Biden administration is focused on addressing this issue, as the trade dispute is not currently causing any job losses in Canada given healthy commodity prices,” he said. CIBC World Markets Inc. analyst Hamir Patel in a Monday research note.

Mr. Patel estimates that Canadian producers have made deposits for duties totaling more than $6.4 billion since 2017.

According to the interim tariff schedule that will take effect this fall, customs duties for Vancouver-based Canfor Corp. would drop to 6.75% from 19.54% currently.

Montreal-based Resolute Forest Products Ltd. would have a new preliminary rate of 20.24%, compared to 29.66% today.

Commerce also set JD Irving Ltd.’s interim rate. of Saint John at 7.09%, compared to 15.05% currently.

The latest preliminary rates are based on an assessment of industry data for 2020.

Canada has repeatedly won cross-border trade appeals in the 1982 softwood lumber dispute, but the US Lumber Coalition has proven a strong opponent.

“Enforcement of trade laws has resulted in dramatic growth in U.S.-made lumber by mitigating the harmful effects of subsidized and unfair Canadian imports,” coalition chairman Jason Brochu said in a statement released Monday.

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