For the Love of Planet Earth: Aspirations and Achievements
by Debra Schrishuhn
Progressive Aspirations and Achievements Coexist in the Biden Administration:
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“PDA, representing the progressive base of the Democratic Party, cannot and will not endorse candidates who are not climate champions in the best tradition of what followed from the first Earth Day. Indeed, we must match that, and go beyond it to be responsible 21st-century stewards of this brilliant home we call planet Earth.”—Alan Minsky, PDA Executive Director
That said, we give credit where credit is due. We are, as our founder Tim Carpenter often said, practical progressives with an eye toward solid achievements. Progressives were thrilled when President Biden nominated Deb Haaland as Secretary of the Interior. Seven days after taking office he signed Executive Order 14008, “Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad,” calling for preservation and restoration of 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030, ordering the Department of the Interior to partner with agencies across the federal government to advance an inclusive and collaborative conservation vision. Public land holdings are being expanded and restored under the stewardship of Secretary Haaland.
The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (with input from PDA activists) is, even with its flaws and shortcomings, the most significant piece of climate legislation in U.S. history, offering funding, programs, and incentives to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy. Two months ago, the Environmental Protection Agency announced the availability of $2 billion from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (2021) to address emerging contaminants, including PFAS (also called “forever plastics”), in drinking water across the country.
Yesterday, President Biden signed an Executive Order, “Revitalizing Our Nation’s Commitment to Environmental Justice for All,” continuing his administration’s vision that “every person has a right to breathe clean air, drink clean water, and live in a healthy community – now and into the future.”
These actions are some of the reasons for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ recent assessment of the Biden presidency to date: “I think he is a much more progressive president than he was a United States senator.”
PDA will never stop holding elected officials accountable. We will never stop fighting for sound progressive policies in all areas and at all levels of government. As Alan Minsky states, we do not and will not endorse candidates who are not climate champions. We do, however, take pride (and some credit) in progressive policy achievements through recent legislation and executive orders. We do celebrate the election (after hard-fought campaigns) of increasing numbers of progressive Representatives and Senators.
We are gearing up for the grueling campaigns of the 2024 election cycle. Help us gather and maintain progressive momentum while fending off Republican attempts to gut environmental regulations and forward-looking climate policy. Become a PDA sustainer today.