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Biden does not give up on climate plans, says the head of the environmental agency

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Joe Biden has not given up on putting climate change at the heart of his legislative agenda, said his first environmental official, despite opposition from his own party threatening to derail important factors.

Michael Regan, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, told the Financial Times that he believes the U.S. president will not let his climate agenda be derailed by some of the moderate Democrats in Congress.

His comments came after Joe Manchin, the Democratic senator for West Virginia, warned that he found it “very, very disturbing” to find references to the disposal of fossil fuels in the draft texts of a bill $ 1 billion bipartisan infrastructure.

“The president is not shying away from his ambitious agenda,” Regan said. We truly hope that the President will use all the tools in the toolbox – whether it is the framework of bipartisan infrastructure, the ‘better rebuilding’ agenda, the reconciliation of the budget, legislation and our regulations. “

The negotiated infrastructure agreement in Congress would include “historic investments in infrastructure and climate adaptations and mitigation strategies,” he added.

Other climate policies such as the Clean Electricity Standard, which aims to help decarbonize electricity by 2035, would be part of a separate budget bill, Regan confirmed.

Biden has arrived at the office promising to put the fight against climate change at the center of his agenda. Earlier this year set a goal to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels by at least 50 percent by 2030.

The impact of these goals, however, will involve new legislation to increase green energy and make fossil fuels less attractive. The likelihood of passing such laws through Congress is likely to rest on a handful of Senate Democrats like Manchin, who has already defended the power of coal and criticized Biden’s coal goals as “too aggressive. “.

As head of the EPA, Regan, who took office in March under Biden, has a central role in helping the United States reduce emissions through stricter enforcement rules applied by his agency. .

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The new standards for vehicle emissions will be released by the EPA “in the coming weeks,” Regan said, with rules for heavy vehicles.

Further regulations on methane, a powerful greenhouse gas released during oil and gas production, are expected in September. “We’re really pushing for a profound reduction in emissions from this,” Regan said, without disclosing details.

In many cases the EPA reverses decisions made by the Trump administration, which has violated hundreds of environmental regulations.

“We took a look at all the rollbacks during the previous administration, and where science was not applied, where the rule of law was not applied, we are reversing those decisions,” Regan said.

He was speaking ahead of a meeting of G20 environment ministers in Naples on Thursday, which will be attended by special presidential envoy John Kerry, where he urged cooperation.

“We are committed to being a strong leader and global partner,” Regan said. “We are really excited to reactivate our global counterparts and do our part.”

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