White House could declare climate emergency as soon as Wednesday: sources

·2 min read

President Biden could declare a climate emergency as soon as Wednesday, two sources familiar with the plans told The Hill on Tuesday.

One of the sources said that federal agencies are expecting an executive order declaring a climate emergency as soon as tomorrow, but it’s not entirely clear what it will entail.

A second source also said the declaration could come on Wednesday. A third person confirmed that a climate emergency declaration was under consideration by the White House, as first reported by The Washington Post.

The White House announced Tuesday that Biden will travel on Wednesday to Somerset, Mass., to deliver remarks on tackling climate change.

A White House official declined to directly comment on whether Biden will pursue a climate emergency declaration, saying only that many options are under consideration.

“The President made clear that if the Senate doesn’t act to tackle the climate crisis and strengthen our domestic clean energy industry, he will. We are considering all options and no decision has been made,” the official said in an email.

The move comes as hopes for climate action on Capitol Hill have stalled, as swing vote Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) backed away from talks last week following months of negotiations. The potential climate legislation, as part of Biden’s broader economic agenda, was expected to include major investments in clean energy.

In the days since, some Democrats and activists have been putting pressure on the White House to declare a climate emergency in the days that followed, with Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) telling reporters on Monday evening that the Biden administration should explore it as an option.

After Manchin said last week that he wanted to move forward with a deal focused only on healthcare, Biden said he would take “strong executive action” but didn’t specify what that would include.

President Trump declared emergencies both to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, enabling additional funding, and to divert funding from other purposes for a border wall.

Updated at 11:32 a.m.

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