Environmental groups have shifted their attitude about Biden from a “honeymoon” to a more critical and adversarial now that he is elected; they want to ensure his green promises are fulfilled.
This new pressure campaign marks a paradigm shift from previous administration, as such groups were shut out during Donald Trump’s term, due to his ambitions of positioning U.S oil sector on top of everything else almost at all cost.
Biden on the other hand, a democrat who served as vice-president during Obama’s administration, aligned many environmental groups and young activists behind his presidential campaign.
But, now that he has named his cabinet contenders, many of those who once applauded Biden’s speeches, are targeting him over the ones he is naming for cabinet. As we reported previously, Ernest Moniz is maybe the strongest candidate for Energy Secretary.
While Mr. Moniz is a very well-respected nuclear physicist, the positions he took after serving as Energy Secretary with Obama, has earned him detractors, as they critique his role on BP’s advisory board.
BP as we know is one of the largest fossil fuels companies, responsible for the historical Deepwater Horizon industrial disaster, which spilled 4,9 million barrels of oil, in the north central Gulf of Mexico. The disaster is considered the largest in the oil history.
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Environmental groups pressure Biden
During Obama’s term he was also criticized for not disclosing a lucrative position he took at the pro-drilling firm ICF International just days before an important fracking study revealed its dangers. In 2013, groups such as Public Citizen and Food & Water Watch campaigned against him.
Last week, Greenpeace projected a sign on Department of Energy’s wall saying “Biden: Build a fossil free future”. Urging him not to name Moniz as energy secretary.
As for now: “the honeymoon ended at the altar when the networks pronounced Biden president-elect; it’s Biden’s call if he wants that pressure with him or against him,” said Jamie Henn, director of environmental group 350.org’s Fossil Free Media, quoted by Reuters.
According to some experts such as Nat Keohane, senior vice president for climate at the Environmental Defense Action Fund, Biden could face even more heat than Obama. The reason, the worsening of the climate crisis, and the deep contrast between Biden and Trump. “There wasn’t the same breadth of voices in the U.S. environmental movement as there is now; climate wasn’t as high on the agenda,” he said.
Many of these groups backed Biden economically during his campaign; according to Reuters, “environmental political action committees, including the League of Conservation Voters; the Sierra Club, EDF Action and the Sunrise PAC spent more than $1.5 million in the 2020 federal election cycle. LCV alone spent over $750,000,” which may worsen the critiques if Biden fails to deliver his green promises.