President-Elect Biden's Plan To Change Energy Policy Faces Challenges

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Energy and climate policy will be among the top priorities for president. Elect joe biden's administration but there will be some challenges. Biden is facing the prospect of a divided congress and competing demands from the energy industry and environmentalists. Joining me now to talk more about how the administration will navigate all that is wall street journal energy policy reporter. Tim pogo hi. Tim thanks for being here. Hi thanks for having me. So tim tell us broadly what we know. So far about president elect joe biden's energy policy. He's shooting big headline is two trillion dollar plan. That focuses heavily on infrastructure. He's trying to get power plants and the broader economy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The stated goal is to eliminate them across society by twenty fifty and so the big spending plan would help jump start that pay for things like going to low emissions mass transit expanding around the country paying things for like for new transmission to connect wind and solar power generation to demand markets. All across the country so in its biggest iteration it is in many ways a moonshot. So now you write that. This is likely to face challenges on several fronts. Let's start with the energy industry itself and states that rely especially on coal and oil for example. What are their major concerns. Well the major concern. Is that the oil industry in particular is a huge employer and you saw this on the campaign trail the supplies to gas production as well. Shale drilling is huge not just in traditional states like texas and oklahoma but it has grown a lot in in places like pennsylvania and ohio and it feeds into industries like steel in in ohio and pennsylvania and michigan in sand in wisconsin and minnesota. The concern is that if you move away from the oil industry too quickly to go to to lower carbon sources of energy that you put all those jobs at risk and so it's not just the states where a lot of those jobs are but it's unions in particular we're talking big parts of the biden coalition of the democratic party constituency. That want this to happen. In a measured way that does recognize the transition needs to happen to slow global warming but doesn't put the huge parts of the us economy tied into the oil and gas industry at risk of devastation. Very soon can you parse out for us where biden stands in relation to more progressive environmental policies. Like the green new deal. Biding this tribes a thread a needle. Here he's adopted the elements of progressive environmental policy that that combine climate policy with a jobs program essentially one of the reasons that he wants to do this. Two trillion dollar plan is that it focuses heavily on infrastructure spending. You know that in theory should people put people to work building new transmission lines building transportation infrastructure Plans to help out the auto industry to help them sell more low emissions vehicles. So that part he has adopted but where he has bristled because of pressure from moderates and even from republicans is in in you as i said earlier are quick push to basically get rid of the oil and gas industry or to put a lot of government pressure on them to shrink their markets in favor of electricity and especially low emissions electricity. Like wind and solar. And so. that's you know that's where the rub comes in There there's a lot of pressure on him to maybe the infrastructure works. Maybe we can do this spending but anything that seems more a punitive against the oil industry. I think of eliminating a lot of the tax breaks. They get there is a reluctance from even major parts of the democratic party to push forward with policies like that

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