Saturday, December 4, 2021

WATCH LIVE: Vice President Harris Discusses Tackling Climate Change

WASHINGTON (AP) – Vice President Kamala Harris will highlight drought-related problems in the West on Monday when she visits Lake Mead in Nevada and presents the Biden administration’s proposals on infrastructure and climate change that have stalled in Congress.

Harris is expected to speak at 1:35 pm ET. Look in the player above.

Bureau of Land Reclamation officials will brief Harris on elevation levels in the artificial reservoir that supplies drinking water to 25 million people in the American West and Mexico, White House officials said Sunday.

Following the tour, the Vice President will make comments and meet with representatives from the Department of the Interior and other federal and state agencies, including the Southern Nevada Water Resources Administration. She will be joined by US representatives Dina Titus, Susie Lee and Stephen Horsford from Nevada.

Lake Mead, formed in the 1930s by a dam on the Colorado River, has dropped to an all-time low. In August, federal officials announced the first-ever water shortage in the Colorado River. As a result, Arizona, Nevada and Mexico will receive less water than usual next year due to the drought that has swept much of the West.

In September, Reclamation released forecasts showing even worse prospects for the river.

Against this backdrop, the vice president is expected to push President Joe Biden’s ambitious domestic agenda – originally announced at $ 3.5 trillion – for which Democrats are struggling to enlist the support of the moderates.

The agenda includes climate provisions that the Biden administration said will make the United States more resilient to the effects of climate change. Key elements include the introduction of new emission limits in line with federal clean energy requirements and the provision of tax incentives for the electric vehicle industry.

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Harris will also emphasize that climate change could make extreme weather events such as droughts and heatwaves more frequent, costly and harmful, White House officials said.

Officials said Harris will negotiate a separate $ 1 trillion public works infrastructure agreement that was passed by the Senate several months ago and is awaiting House approval. This package contains about $ 8 billion for Western water projects.

Some of the ways to deal with the effects of drought in the plan include investing in desalination technologies that make seawater usable, strengthening rural water infrastructure, and creating additional wastewater recycling technologies to help augment existing water supplies.

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Western states experienced a dangerously hot summer that killed hundreds in the Pacific Northwest and brought with it many record wildfires, exacerbated by drought.

Officials said Harris will also discuss how water scarcity is affecting farmers, the country’s food supply, and the economy.

The Biden administration said its infrastructure spending plans will create millions of jobs to repair water infrastructure, restore watersheds and wetlands, and improve water efficiency.

Amid a lack of support from some Democrats, Biden said on Friday that he would rather shorten the duration of some programs in his vast package of social services and climate change than delete entire sections.

The Associated Press receives support from the Walton Family Foundation to highlight water and environmental policy. AP is solely responsible for all content.

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