The United States has elected a new President: former Senator from the State of Delaware and Vice President Joseph R. Biden. As I write this article, the Electoral College meets to cast their respective votes and solidify a decisive win that took place in November. A few weeks from now, on January 6th, Congress will finalize the process just before Inauguration Day. As a student of American politics and government, Presidential elections have always been of interest to me – but the transition and inauguration process has always been of particular interest. The Third Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, passed in March of 1932, dictates that the term of the sitting President and Vice President shall end at noon on January 20th, every four years. January 20th also happens to be my birthday. So, while most other political hacks such as myself are usually finished studying elections and taking a much needed break from November to January, my mind has always been focused on the happenings around the transition of government and the inauguration (there’s really nothing like being woken up every four years on your birthday and being told ‘go watch TV, the President is on’).
This Inauguration Day is of particular significance – not just to me, but to all those working in environmental, energy, and transportation policy as it will signify a new beginning. The past four years have certainly been stimulating at this end of the policy and advocacy realm. Things have often been tumultuous, always fast-paced, and continuously leaving us guessing what might happen next. There is no doubt that the outgoing Administration has impacted the policies that Clean Fuels Ohio actively works to affect – and, while there have been some positives, there has been a largely difficult and negative effect.
The Biden administration has already announced its plans to appoint former Secretary of State and U.S. Senator John Kerry to lead environmental policy for the President, including re-joining the Paris Agreement that the U.S. left in 2019. Re-joining the Paris Agreement is a significant first step to remedy the issues faced by poor transportation advancement. This new Administration, at first glance, seems to be promising for the work that we do. Already, we are seeing changes being made or suggested that relate to the implementation of cleaner fuel technologies, the installation of electric vehicle service equipment and infrastructure, overall vehicle electrification, carbon emissions reduction, and other policy moves that place a premium on creating more efficient, cost-effective market-based solutions for a healthier environment.
As things move forward, up to and past Inauguration Day, Clean Fuels Ohio is optimistic and hopeful about the major strides that can be made over the next four (and possibly more) years – both in the State of Ohio and at the Federal level. Clear, decisive leadership on moving the United States into the bright and diverse energy and transportation future is exactly what is needed – and appears to be what we’re about to get.
Christmas is coming soon – but I’ve got my sights set on Inauguration Day and the positive changes coming for our industry… and not just because it’s my birthday.