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SCOTUS begins issuing new opinions, with another expected related to the power of federal agencies, the battleground state of Wisconsin gets a ruling on alternative voting sites, and coastal work is being done to help salt marshes withstand hurricanes.

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The Supreme Court for now protects access to abortion drug mifepristone, while Senate Republicans block a bill protecting access to in-vitro fertilization. Wisconsin's Supreme Court bans mobile voting sites, and colleges deal with funding cuts as legislatures target diversity programs.

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As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

ME Climate Expert Applauds Exec. Orders to Tackle Climate Change

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Wednesday, January 27, 2021   

AUGUSTA, Maine -- President Joe Biden will sign a bundle of executive orders today, reversing more Trump-administration rollbacks and setting new goals.

The orders range from protecting public lands, waters and coasts, to reining in corporate pollution.

He also plans to establish a National Climate Task Force and add an Office of Climate Change in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Ivan Fernandez, professor at the University of Maine's Climate Change Institute and School of Forest Resources, thinks an aggressive approach to tackling climate change is long overdue.

"We see sea-level rise, and wildfires, and droughts, and Lyme disease and other human health concerns, and deer ticks, and you name it," Fernandez outlined. "We know we are, every day, dealing with the consequences and adapting to climate change."

The executive orders also seek to bring environmental justice to low-income, Black, Brown and Indigenous communities who've been disproportionately affected by the climate crisis. And the orders direct investments into clean energy, which research shows can lead to long-term economic growth.

Fernandez predicted these measures will help support Maine's own efforts to curb the consequences of the warming climate, and pointed to the governor's first major climate mitigation and adaptation plan.

"It's never more important now than now to invest every dollar as wisely as possible, based on science, that moves us towards the future," Fernandez contended. "And it's a lot easier to do that when you have a partner at the federal level."

He sees the Biden team's science-based approach as a key difference from the previous administration, which rolled back more than 100 environmental protections.

Fernandez added he hopes it signals a transitional period for U.S. leadership on climate-change policy.


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