Biden introduces environmental team to tackle ‘existential threat’

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Washington (AFP)

President-elect Joe Biden on Saturday introduced key members of his environmental team and said his administration will make the fight against global warming a pillar of its drive to rebuild the pandemic-stricken US economy.

Biden said these candidates “will lead my administration’s ambitious plan to address an existential threat of our time – climate change.”

“Folks, we’re in crisis,” Biden said at the event in Wilmington, Delaware. “Just as we need to be a unified nation to respond to Covid-19, we need a unified national response to climate change. ”

Nominees presented on Saturday include Representative Deb Haaland of New Mexico as Home Secretary.

Overseeing America’s natural resources, which include national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, if the Senate confirmed, Haaland would be the first Native American to hold a Cabinet position.

Biden said his administration will work to modernize water, transportation and energy infrastructure to make them better equipped to withstand extreme weather conditions – and create plenty of jobs along the way.

Biden also said he wanted to build 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations and 1.5 million energy-efficient homes and social housing.

He also said his administration will create a quarter of a million jobs “right away” by hiring people to plug millions of abandoned oil and gas wells that are considered a health and safety risk.

Biden reiterated that he would join the Paris climate agreement, which President Donald Trump abandoned, and reinstate a series of Obama-era environmental regulations that Trump eliminated.

For other jobs, Biden said he chose Gina McCarthy, administrator of the Obama Environmental Protection Agency, to head a new White House climate policy office.

Biden also brought in Michael Regan, North Carolina’s leading environmental regulator, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency and Brenda Mallory, an environmental lawyer, to lead the Council on Environmental Quality.

Regan and Mallory are black. Biden said that with Saturday’s announcements his cabinet will include six African Americans.

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