News Roundups

Economy Needed More Help From Congress, Trump Admin Ignored Key Alternatives, and More

Daily stimulus and recovery news headlines from August 20, 2020.

Daily stimulus and recovery news headlines from August 20, 2020.

Fed Officials Said the Economy Needed More Help From Congress

Federal Reserve officials emphasized the need for ongoing economic support in late July as the coronavirus pandemic dragged on, keeping millions of workers at home and threatening U.S. growth.

“Uncertainty surrounding the economic outlook remained very elevated, with the path of the economy highly dependent on the course of the virus and the public sector’s response to it,” minutes from the central bank’s July 28-29 meeting showed.

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The Trump Administration Ignores Key Alternatives with New Methane Regulation Rollback

Last week, the Trump administration partially rolled back one of the last significant Obama-era climate change regulations: the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule to reduce methane emissions from oil and gas wells constructed after 2016.

The timing of the rule change does seem convenient: it was announced by EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler at an event in Pennsylvania—a state with a notable oil and gas sector, and which serves as a crucial swing state in this year’s presidential election. But with every action comes a reaction: what Trump gains in energizing his base, he will lose in energizing the more than 70 percent of Americans who believe in climate change and the 80 percent who want to see the United States do more (data based on the American Public Opinion on Global Warming survey results from 2018).

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Trump Opens an Arctic Refuge for Drilling—But Companies May Not Want To

On Monday, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt approved the first-ever oil and gas leasing program for Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, opening up 1.56 million acres of the pristine refuge to drilling and thereby putting threatened species, Indigenous communities, and the climate at risk.

As he announced the move, Bernhardt said his department was gearing up to auction off the drilling leases soon. “I do believe there could be a lease sale by the end of the year,” he said at a press conference.

This, of course, makes perfect sense from an economic perspective, because the oil and gas market are simply booming amid the covid-19 pandemic—oh, wait, sorry: The opposite is true.

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How COVID-19 Is Accelerating the Clean Energy Transition

A new report from Lux Research expects trillions of dollars from economic relief packages to go into deploying low- and zero-carbon infrastructure. The money also enables more investigations into and development of the technologies that make such improvements possible. 

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