Updates from ELCA Advocacy re: Environment/Energy

Updates for May 2023 thanks to Christine Moffett, Witness in Society | Washington D.C. – Evangelical Lutheran Church in America  

  • Waters of the US Rule Veto: A new EPA rule would define the geographic reach of the agencies’ authority in regulating US waters to expand to cover streams, wetlands and other water bodies under the Clean Water Act. An attempt to overturn this rule was vetoed by President Biden. Therefore, this week the House held a veto override vote, which did not pass in the house, though the turnout showed that support for the WOTUS has waned in House democrats. 
  • EPA Clean Car and Clean Trucks rule: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced new proposed federal vehicle emissions standards that will accelerate the ongoing transition to a clean vehicles future and tackle the climate crisis. The “Multi-Pollutant Emissions Standards for Model Years 2027 and Later Light-Duty and Medium Duty Vehicles,” builds on EPA’s existing emissions standards for passenger cars and light trucks for MYs 2023 through 2026. Additionally, the “Greenhouse Gas Standards for Heavy-Duty Vehicles – Phase 3,” would apply to heavy-duty vocational vehicles (such as delivery trucks, refuse haulers or dump trucks, public utility trucks, transit, shuttle, school buses) and trucks typically used to haul freight. The public comment period for both rules is open. 
  • Environmental Justice Executive Order: President Biden signed an executive order directing every single federal agency to work toward “environmental justice for all” and improve the lives of communities hit hardest by toxic pollution and climate change. Among other things, the order will establish a new Office of Environmental Justice within the White House to coordinate efforts across the government and requires federal agencies to notify communities if toxic substances are released from a federal facility. This rule is especially poignant as a response to the most recent train derailment in East Palestine, OH.