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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

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Gov. Whitmer endorses Kamala Harris for president, says she's not leaving Michigan; Grilled by lawmakers on the Trump assassination attempt, Secret Service director says, 'We failed;' Teachers rally at national convention in Houston; Opioid settlement fund fuels anti-addiction battle in Indiana; Nonprofit agency says corporate donations keep programs going.

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Democrats consolidate support behind Vice President Harris, Republicans threaten legal action over changes to the presidential ticket, and a possible bipartisan consensus forms on the failure of the Secret Service to protect former President Trump.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied, and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

New transmission planning rule takes MA wildlife into account

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Thursday, May 30, 2024   

Conservation groups in Massachusetts are backing the Biden Administration's new plan to update the nation's power grid.

Studies show the U.S. must double its existing transmission capacity to meet clean-energy goals over the next decade.

Veronica Ung-Kono, staff attorney for the National Wildlife Federation, said a new planning rule will allow grid operators to maximize our existing grid before building new infrastructure.

"We just have to find a way to responsibly build that is mindful of wildlife," Ung-Kono urged. "Knowing that so many species are already at risk."

Critics of the planning rule said it could allow states wanting to install more renewable energy to pass those costs onto others but Ung-Kono countered those states not directly benefiting from the transmission build-out will not have to pay for it.

The nation's aging power grid is responsible for a quarter of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and federal regulators cited the importance of grid resilience in the face of climate change.

Ung-Kono pointed out the new planning rule considers impacts on air quality and noise pollution as well as the needs of tribal nations and environmental justice communities.

"This is the first time that we have seen the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission specifically want to uplift the priorities and needs of these populations of people while also balancing the needs of wildlife," Ung-Kono observed.

Ung-Kono added the new transmission planning rule also requires grid operators to plan at least 20 years ahead in order to identify long-term energy needs. The Biden Administration has set an initial goal of upgrading 100,000 miles of transmission lines over the next five years, unlocking hundreds of gigawatts of additional clean energy.

Disclosure: The National Wildlife Federation contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Endangered Species and Wildlife, Energy Policy, and Water. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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