| By Maria Hernandez
President Joe Biden recently announced his plan to change the government’s vehicle fleet from gas-powered cars to electrically-powered vehicles. This announcement was made while he signed the “Buy America” executive order to push the government to endorse more domestic goods. While the “Buy America” executive order did not address the President’s plans for an electrical government vehicle fleet, the signing of the executive order shows President Biden’s preference for buying domestic goods.
Currently, the main domestic car brands that manufacture electric cars are Tesla, Nissan, and General Motors (2). Most likely, the government vehicle fleet will consist of electric cars manufactured by one of these brands. The announcement of this plan along with the signing of an executive order rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement last month seems to indicate that President Biden is taking his promises to take action against climate change seriously.
However, The Biden Administration recently authorized about 31 drilling permits permitting oil industries to operate on federal lands and coastal waters (3). This action directly contradicts Biden’s plan for a Clean Energy Revolution. Fracking the Earth for oil has immense negative effects on the environment such as disrupting marine life, wasting significant amounts of water, causing oil spills, and more (6). In addition, fracking creates large amounts of wastewater that contains harmful chemicals in the environment. The only way to dispel this wastewater is through injection into a deep well, such as a saltwater aquifer (6). According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, “The injection of wastewater can cause earthquakes that may cause damage and are large enough to be felt.”
Recent reports have said that the Biden Administration revoked dozens of the drilling permits for further review after it was revealed that many were improperly issued (7). For now, it remains unclear whether or not these permits will be reissued. However, companies are expected to get authorizations back soon and will not face penalties for any operations started under the improperly issued permits (7). The Biden Administration seemed to be going in the right direction in striving for environmental justice with the decisions to convert the government vehicle fleet from gas-powered to electrically-powered and rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement. However, the recent decision to grant permits to corporations in the oil industry to expand operations contradicts Biden’s promises to fight against climate change.