Welcome back to The Planet You Save May Be Your Own, a weekly newsletter on local & state climate action.
Programming note: I’ve got a transit-related interview coming up the pike, but with a impending deadline on another project and a surprise COVID diagnosis (I’m feeling quite fine, actually - thanks, vaccines!) I’m going to push that until December. Next week The Planet You Save will be taking a break for Thanksgiving and the following week, paid members will get their bonus edition for November. For now, let’s take a look at climate action news around the US.
This week, the US published the National Climate Assessment — a big report-of-reports-and-research about where the country is at on the impacts and limiting climate change. It comes out every five years and you could be forgiven for not noticing last time — when it was buried the day after Thanksgiving.
Unlike other national accountings of America’s place in climate change, the NCA breaks everything down regionally, identifying how different parts of the US have different impacts — right now and in the future, the different needs to adapt and the progress being made locally.
A slight older climate adaptation grant program run by FEMA has been dominated by just five large states, E&E News reports, receiving half of the money available through 2021. The BRIC program is intended fund projects to project communities from climate-charged disasters like floods and wildfires. Some states have not even applied to the program, and multiple analysts blame the application process and a lack of capacity to apply in smaller, rural states.
(FWIW, I ran a little into this while reporting my story on electric school bus grants — some school districts didn’t even know the money was on the table, but multiple applicants noted how far-less complicated the application for those grants were)
Related: Areas that used to host fossil fuel industries are getting a large share of solar, wind, and clean energy manufacturing, a new analysis finds (Washington Post)
Sen. Joe Manchin is not running for re-election, making him the last in a long line of West Virginia Democrats that promoted coal. (Manchin has a direct financial interest in coal as well) But he was also the key vote on America’s first real climate law (though [he’s not of a fan of it anymore])(https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/aug/16/joe-manchin-inflation-reduction-act-climate-law-radical-agenda-joe-biden).
Associated Press looks back at his energy and environment record
Back in 2018, I did a short story on solar panel recycling, so I was pleased to see this story about the efforts of a four-year-old startup that’s reselling and recycling solar panels. More ways to reuse and eventually recycle the minerals inside solar panels are needed — as the current trickle of older panels eventually becomes a flood
Related: There were hundreds of EV and home batteries in the way of the Maui wildfires: here’s what happening to them
The country’s first solar-over-canal project begins on the Gila River Indian Community -- aiming to provide renewable power and cut down on water evaporation. (AZ Mirror)
DC’s first electric metro buses start riding (DCist)
Entrepreneurs want to use EV chargers to highlight historic Black landmarks (WBUR)
Green jobs that turned into “hell on earth”: A story about terrible working conditions and the fundamental energy challenge of large, hydroponic indoor farms (Grist)
Florida residents push back against the expansion of a waste-to-energy plant, saying it’s making them sick. (NBC)