Boyden Gray & Associates partner Jonathan Berry published a retrospective on the first week of President Biden’s new administration in First Things on Friday, January 29, 2021. The piece analyzes what week-one executive actions might signal about the administration’s tendencies, especially regarding the Democratic Party’s sometimes conflicting priorities and future regulatory actions. For example, Berry explains:
Biden’s team has ordered federal agencies to procure only “green” products and structure their programs to maximize climate resilience. By executive order, federal infrastructure investments must now be used to reduce climate pollution and accelerate clean energy and transmission projects.
All of this comes at the expense of oil, gas, and coal. On his first day in office, Biden revoked the Keystone XL pipeline’s construction permit. This week, he announced a moratorium on oil and gas leases on federal lands. And he kicked off a plan to “promot[e] the flow of capital toward climate-aligned investments and away from high-carbon investments [read: oil, gas, and coal].”
This shift leads to the natural public policy question:
Will communities dependent on carbon-intensive energy become clients of government, or will the Biden administration identify pathways toward economic renewal? From the Rust Belt crises of the end of the last century, through the decline of the coal industry, no government program has succeeded in reversing economic and social decline in de-industrialized regions. Expect the same going forward.
The entire piece is entitled, The First Week of the Biden Administration, and can be read here.