“It’s About Time” Executive Order Mandating Mask-Use on Transportation

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Photo by Sergey Zolkin on Unsplash

By Mel Barnard

President Biden signed an executive order this month mandating the use of face masks throughout the nation on domestic and international modes of travel. While mask-wearing is a requirement for most methods of travel already, the decision has largely been up to individual state and local governments on how to enforce safety. The Transport Workers Union President praised this action, calling it “a long overdue measure to protect workers” and “about … time our government lived up to its obligations to public health”. 

The current death toll of COVID-19 is over 500,000. More people have died from this pandemic than from WW2, the Korean War, and Vietnam put together. Although the vaccine gives hope, already variant strains of the virus and difficulties with the rollout threaten a quick return to normal. As transportation systems attempt to reopen, frontline workers like those who work in public transportation need protections to stop another wave. 

Read more at Mass Transit

 

The Authority Speaks Up for Electric Vehicles and Alternative Fuels

 

By Mel Barnard

The Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM) has exciting—or rather, electrifying news to share. Agencies around Marin are adding Electric Vehicles to their fleet and upgrading or installing equipment appropriately for that change.

Transitioning to electric can drive positive change in your life. On a personal level, you don’t have to worry about oil changes, you can save $1,200 a year on fuel and maintenance, electricity is cheaper than gasoline by a significant margin, etc. Transitioning also helps the community by driving more local spending with gas savings and putting safer vehicles on the road. Electric Vehicles also cut out tailpipe emissions and reduce ecological damages to our climate.

TAM has created resources for those looking to transition to more sustainable fuel vehicles as well as information for the community at large.  Some of these resources are linked below, but you can find out even more information on their site.

Biden, Emphasizing Job Creation, Signs Sweeping Climate Actions

Photo by Adolfo Félix on Unsplash

By Mel Barnard

President Biden has kept true on his promise to change course on climate. A series of executive actions he released recently pauses new federal oil leases, moves to electrify government vehicles, centers climate in foreign policy, and more. Biden strongly emphasized the ways climate action can bring jobs to the economy through clean technologies like wind and solar. However, he also seems to be wary of workers’ experiences. The average coal worker in West Virginia might not be able to become a solar energy engineer in Wyoming. For landlocked, less-than-sunny states, Biden offers opportunities for workers to build energy-efficient homes, seal leaking oil and gas wells, and notably, transition the transportation sector from gas to electric.

Some economists caution the nation’s ability to transition quickly without harming the economy, but others point to evidence showing a net wash in jobs as the economy grows more green. While environmental groups like Oceana are pushing for more than a pause on federal oil and gas leasing, the executive action is a sign of changing climate policy.

Read the full article from the New York Times here