Kenneth J. Markowitz Stacey H. Mitchell Dario J. Frommer Christopher A. Treanor November 7 2022 Climate change policy update: NASA space mission, Colorado River, climate change in schools Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP | Environment & Climate Change - USA Kenneth J. Markowitz, Stacey H. Mitchell, Dario J. Frommer, Christopher A. Treanor Environment & Climate Change NASA's latest earth space mission furthers climate change understandingDepartment of Energy works to spur clean energy deploymentDepartment of the Interior threatens to control flow of Colorado RiverTreasury Department develops rules for green energy investmentsAttorneys general races to impact climate laws of 15 statesMidterm outcome may influence states' energy and climate change effortsNew England states set to enhance their climate plansStates seek to fund hydrogen hubs programmesMayor Eric Adams announces $4 billion plan to combat climate change in schoolsThis article outlines pertinent legal and policy climate change developments in the United States during the past week.(1)NASA's latest earth space mission furthers climate change understandingNational Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) earth surface mineral dust source investigation seeks to map "the prevalence of key minerals in the planet's dust-producing deserts" to "advance the understanding of airborne dust's effects on the climate". The mission has also proven effective at detecting methane.Department of Energy works to spur clean energy deployment The Department of Energy's Grid Deployment Office is planning to spend billions of dollars to try to encourage more clean energy deployment. As such, the office has sought public opinion this month on a $10.5 billion initiative aimed at funding grid resiliency. The hope is that creating national interest and involvement will help to alleviate the delicate operation of allocating funds most effectively and in a way that appeases industry, states and environmental groups.Department of the Interior threatens to control flow of Colorado River Officials from the Department of the Interior (DOI) have announced that, to keep hydropower dams generating electricity, they are preparing to control the flow of the Colorado River. DOI secretary Deb Haaland threatened cuts to Colorado River access altogether after Arizona, Nevada, Mexico, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming failed to develop a plan on reducing consumption of up to 4 million acre-feet in 2023.Treasury Department develops rules for green energy investmentsThe Treasury Department has collaborated with several clean power groups, utilities, labour unions, and others to develop detailed rules for $270 billion incentives to make a start on green energy investments. The department noted that Secretary Janet Yellen convened with 16 industry groups to discuss the guidance that will determine how companies can utilise clean energy tax credits.Attorneys general race to impact climate laws of 15 statesThirty states and Washington DC are holding attorneys general races in 2022. The top legal officers are the main enforcers of state environmental law and have the power to critique federal rules. Fifteen of the attorneys general races will have consequential impacts on state climate laws, including Arizona, Michigan, Iowa, Georgia, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Washington DC, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Colorado, Texas, Maryland, California, New York and Vermont.Midterm outcome may influence states' energy and climate change effortsVarious climate programmes and regulations in states including Oregon, Arizona and Maryland will hinge on the outcome of the 2022 midterm elections. Oregon's gubernatorial race between governor Kate Brown and Christine Drazan will determine the state's cap-and-trade programme. The democratic gubernatorial candidate in Maryland, Wes Moore has pledged to create a state plan with the goal of 100% clean energy by 2035. Two seats of the presently Republican-controlled Arizona Corporation Commission are open; should the commission flip, there may be an increase in renewable energy generation.New England states set to enhance their climate plansNew England states have previously enacted their own climate plans, enabling them to take advantage of renewable energy incentives in the climate bill enacted by Congress. Each New England state, with the exception of New Hampshire, has enacted climate laws surrounding greenhouse gas emissions reductions. The Inflation Reduction Act will allow New England to further the programmes already in existence.States seek to fund hydrogen hubs programmeWith the roll-out of the hydrogen hubs programme, states are beginning to establish and fund their own hydrogen hubs. These hubs are seen to be crucial to the decarbonisation of the US economy.Mayor Eric Adams announces $4 billion plan to combat climate change in schoolsNew York Mayor Eric Adams has announced the leading the charge plan, which provides $4 billion to "combat climate change, create healthier learning environments, improve air quality in communities disproportionately burdened by climate change and environmental injustice, and help develop the next generation's green workforce".For further information on this topic please contact Kenneth J. Markowitz, Stacey H Mitchell, Dario J. Frommer or Christopher A Treanor at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP by telephone (+1 202 887 4000) or email ([email protected], [email protected], [email protected] or ctreanor[email protected]). The Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP website can be accessed at www.akingump.com.Leila Fleming, public policy specialist, assisted with the preparation of this article.Endnotes(1) For further updates, including upcoming congressional hearings, federal agency climate news and events, click here. For the previous week's update, click here.