To remind, during Donald Trump's Presidency the US was officially out of the Paris Agreement.
Now, the newly-elected US President reported that the Keystone XL pipeline has been canceled again, reducing Canadian oil producers' access to Gulf Coast ports. And offshore drilling in the Bering Sea and portions of the Arctic OCS is once again off the table with a renewed drilling moratorium.
In addition, it is noted that many of the other proposals will require a formal rulemaking process or new legislation. But the overall message could be summed up neatly with the White House's call for all agencies to "immediately commence work to confront the climate crisis," signaling more and deeper changes to come.
US issued several policy decisions that could affect the maritime and energy industries, including:
- directing the Department of the Interior to halt activity related to drilling permits in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge;
- initiating a regulatory process to restore the boundaries of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, established during the Obama era but rolled back under the previous administration;
- initiating a rulemaking process to reinstate or revise fugitive emissions standards for methane from new oil and gas projects, and proposing new standards for existing operations;
- establishing a commission to determine the "social cost" for emissions of CO2, NOx and methane, which federal agencies will be able to use to calculate the "global damages" of a given emissions source and the social benefits of reducing greenhouse gas output.
- a freeze on all Trump-era regulatory actions still in process.
The executive orders also reflect the new administration's stance on the COVID-19 crisis, with a new mask mandate on all federal property and a CDC-led effort to encourage mask compliance at large.