President Joe Biden has put federal agencies to work to review actions put into place under the Trump Administration that Biden claims conflict with his policy of protecting public health and the environment. And two areas of his focus — reducing harmful emissions from vehicles and reducing methane emissions from oil and gas operations — could have significant impact on energy firms and the auto industry.
Trump’s undoing of the Obama-era fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards for automobiles is one of Biden’s chief focuses in terms of the environment. But though automakers need to be thinking about potential new standards, the regulatory hoops Biden faces are daunting; David Friedman, a former acting administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, says it might take until the 2023 model year for stricter standards from Biden to take effect, according to the AP (via Manufacturing Business Technology).
Another area of regulation that the Trump Administration weakened was for oil and gas operations. Under President Obama, regulations required that operators inspect equipment built or modified after 2015 twice a year for methane leaks and repair any leaks that were discovered. Biden is expected to restore those methane regulations and may even extend those requirements to older wells, which could put some operators out of business, according to the article.
Biden’s goal for the environment is the put the country on an “irreversible path to achieve economy-wide net-zero emissions no later than 2050. The legislation must require polluters to bear the full cost of the carbon pollution they are emitting,” the new Administration wrote in a Clean Energy Revolution fact sheet.
Biden’s administration also says it will invest $400 billion over ten years as part of a mobilization of public investment in clean energy and innovation.
In terms of the built environment, Biden will set a target of reducing the carbon footprint of the US building stock 50% by 2035, creating incentives for deep retrofits that combine appliance electrification, efficiency, and on-site clean power generation.