Biden Bits: My Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

Biden Tweets Logo. Image by Lenny Ghoul.

It’s Tuesday.

January is over…

When Biden Bits was posted, President Biden had tweeted 2 times. He added 6 tweets giving him a Monday Tweeting Total of 8 tweets and 0 retweets…

Prior to the meeting there was an Oval Office pool spray. The YouTube is 4 minutes and 51 seconds long. Their full remarks can be found here.

The White House posted the following readout:

President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. met today with Amir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani of Qatar. Together, they reaffirmed their mutual interest in promoting security and prosperity in the Gulf and broader Middle East region, ensuring the stability of global energy supplies, supporting the people of Afghanistan, and strengthening commercial and investment cooperation. The President and the Amir welcomed the signing of a $20 billion deal between Boeing and Qatar Airways Group, which will support tens of thousands of U.S. manufacturing jobs. In recognition of the strategic partnership between the United States and Qatar, which has deepened over the past 50 years, the President informed the Amir of his intention to designate Qatar as a Major Non-NATO Ally.

White 01/31/2022.

President Biden sent the following letter to the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate on; Designating Qatar as a Major Non-NATO Ally

Dear Madam Speaker: (Dear Madam President:)

In accordance with section 517 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended (22 U.S.C. 2321k), I am providing notice of my intent to designate Qatar as a Major Non-NATO Ally.

I am making this designation in recognition of Qatar’s many years of contributions to U.S.-led efforts in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility and in recognition of our own national interest in deepening bilateral defense and security cooperation with the State of Qatar.

White 01/31/2022.

In January of 2021 the State Department posted a fact-sheet on the meaning and privileges of a Major Non-NATO Ally designation:

Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA) status is a designation under U.S. law [1] that provides foreign partners with certain benefits in the areas of defense trade and security cooperation. The Major Non-NATO Ally designation is a powerful symbol of the close relationship the United States shares with those countries and demonstrates our deep respect for the friendship for the countries to which it is extended. While MNNA status provides military and economic privileges, it does not entail any security commitments to the designated country.

State Department. 01/20/2021.

Privileges resulting from MNNA designation under 22 U.S.C. §2321k :

  • Eligible for loans of material, supplies, or equipment for cooperative research, development, testing, or evaluation purposes.
  • Eligible as a location for U.S.-owned War Reserve Stockpiles to be placed on its territory outside of U.S. military facilities.
  • Can enter into agreements with the United States for the cooperative furnishing of training on a bilateral or multilateral basis, if the financial arrangements are reciprocal and provide for reimbursement of all U.S. direct costs.
  • Eligible, to the maximum extent feasible, for priority delivery of Excess Defense Articles  transferred under section 516 of the Foreign Assistance Act (if located on the southern or south-eastern flank of NATO).
  • Eligible for consideration to purchase depleted uranium ammunition.

Privileges resulting from MNNA designation under 10 U.S.C. §2350a :

  • Eligible to enter into an MOU or other formal agreement with the U.S. Department of Defense for the purpose of conducting cooperative research and development projects on defense equipment and munitions.
  • Allows firms of a MNNA, as with NATO countries, to bid on contracts for maintenance, repair or overhaul of U.S. Department of Defense equipment outside the United States.
  • Allows funding to procure explosives detection devices and other counter-terrorism research and development projects under the auspices of the Department of State’s Technical Support Working Group .

Currently 17 countries are designated as MNNAs under 22 U.S.C. §2321k  and 10 U.S.C. §2350a :

  • Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Egypt, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Kuwait, Morocco, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, and Tunisia,
  • In addition, Pub. L. 107–228  provides Taiwan shall be treated as an MNNA, without formal designation as such.

His full statement:

Today in the United Nations Security Council, the United States presented in detail the full nature of Russia’s threat to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. And we made clear to the international community the full implications of that threat — not just for Ukraine, but for core tenets of the UN Charter and the modern international order.

If Russia is sincere about addressing our respective security concerns through dialogue, the United States and our Allies and partners will continue to engage in good faith. If instead Russia chooses to walk away from diplomacy and attack Ukraine, Russia will bear the responsibility, and it will face swift and severe consequences.

The United States and our Allies and partners continue to prepare for every scenario. The world must be clear-eyed about the actions Russia is threatening and ready to respond to the risks those actions present to all of us. Today’s Security Council meeting is a critical step in rallying the world to speak out in one voice: rejecting the use of force, calling for military de-escalation, supporting diplomacy as the best path forward, and demanding accountability from every member state to refrain from military aggression against its neighbors.

White 01/31/2022.

The White House published the following fact-sheet:

When President Biden reestablished U.S. climate leadership on the world stage in Glasgow at the U.N. climate conference, he unveiled the U.S. Methane Emissions Reduction Action Plan. The ambitious action plan outlined how the United States will leverage all available tools to tackle super-polluting methane emissions – a major contributor to climate change – while protecting public health, promoting U.S. innovation in new technologies, and helping employ thousands of skilled workers across the country.

Today, the Biden Administration is announcing new actions in line with the Methane Emissions Reduction Action Plan to tackle methane emissions and support a clean energy economy, including:

White 01/31/2022.
  • The Department of the Interior announcing $1.15 billion for states to clean up orphaned oil and gas wells, a significant source of methane emissions.
  • The Department of Energy announcing the launch of a Methane Reduction Infrastructure Initiative to provide technical assistance to the orphaned well clean-up efforts of Federal agencies, states and tribes.
  • The Department of Transportation announcing new enforcement of the PIPES Act to requires pipeline operators to minimize methane leaks.
  • The Department of Agriculture highlighting ongoing research efforts and investments to reduce methane emissions from beef and dairy systems.
  • The White House announcing the formation of a new interagency working group to coordinate the measurement, monitoring, reporting and verification of greenhouse gas emissions and removals.
  • The President’s Interagency Work Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization announcing a national workshop for energy communities on repurposing fossil fuel infrastructure, including orphan oil and gas wells, for use in new industries.

These steps demonstrate how President Biden and the United States are taking bold action at home to follow through on international commitments. At the US-led Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate in September 2021, the President and the EU announced the Global Methane Pledge: a global partnership to collectively cut emissions of methane by 30% compared with 2020 levels by 2030. President Biden has helped rally more than 110 countries to join the initiative, which now covers nearly half of all methane emissions and 70% of global GDP.

Together, today’s actions will:

White 01/31/2022.

Clean Up Orphaned Wells

As part of a new $4.7 billion orphan wells clean up program established under President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Department of the Interior today announced $1.15 billion is available for states to begin cleaning up thousands of orphaned oil and gas wells that are hazardous to the health and safety of communities across the country. Many of these orphaned wells are located in rural communities, environmental justice communities and communities of color that have suffered from years of divestment. Plugging these wells will not only reduce methane emissions and stop dangerous pollution, but it will create good-paying, union jobs and spur economic revitalization, especially in hard-hit energy communities. The funding announced today will be available to states to identify and plug orphaned wells, remediate and reclaim lands impacted by oil and gas development activities, and remove infrastructure associated with the wells. The 26 states eligible for this funding collectively represent nearly every state with documented orphan wells in the country.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law also includes additional investments that support methane reduction, including:

White 01/31/2022.
  • $11.3 billion in new funding for abandoned mine land reclamation through the Department of the Interior;
  • $1 billion for natural gas pipeline modernization at the Department of Transportation;
  • $100 million for wastewater efficiency investments, including methane capture or transfers, at the Environmental Protection Agency; and
  • $30 million for the Department of Energy to assist in identifying, characterizing and mitigating the environmental risks of undocumented orphaned wells.

Launch a Methane Reduction Infrastructure Initiative

The Department of Energy announced that it has begun coordinating with the Department of the Interior and other relevant stakeholders on the implementation of the Methane Reduction Infrastructure Initiative (MRII), which is funded with $30 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The MRII will enable the federal government, states and Tribes to develop a better understanding of the various challenges and opportunities to accelerating the detection, characterization, and mitigation of methane emissions from undocumented wells throughout the United States. As a first step, the MRII will host a technical workshop to begin discussing research, development, demonstration, and deployment (RDD&D) needs for the new Orphaned Wells Program created by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This workshop will bring together technology developers, industry partners, federal agencies, states, and others and focus on topics such as identification, characterization, methane measurement, and collaboration for the plugging of orphaned wells. The workshop will include discussions on advanced remediation and methane detection technologies, tools and methods, and best practices that can be used for the prioritization of well plugging and abandonment activities.

Minimize Pipeline Methane Leaks
The Department of Transportation (DOT) announced that it has begun enforcement of Section 114 of PIPES Act which will help ensure pipeline operators immediately begin to minimize their methane emissions and will help inform the development of a new rulemaking that will require pipeline operators to minimize their methane emissions across their pipeline systems. DOT will be convening a public webinar later this month to provide more information on the new enforcement activity in this space and make clear the agency’s expectations for immediate action to minimize methane emissions by the pipeline sector.

Reduce Methane Emissions from Beef and Dairy Systems
The Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is developing science-based models and tools that are helping industry partners assess and track progress toward net zero emissions from the U.S. dairy sector. ARS researchers have collaborated with university and industry partners to conduct a full life cycle assessment of U.S. beef and dairy systems in order to further improve dairy’s environmental footprint and reduce ammonia and methane emissions from manure storage sources with a goal of reducing overall methane emissions. In addition to the cutting-edge research being pursued by USDA scientists, the Department’s Rural Development mission area has supported over $200 million in methane reducing anaerobic digester projects over the past year

Advance Greenhouse Gas Monitoring and Measurement
The White House is announcing the formation of a Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Monitoring & Measurement Interagency Working Group to help identify and deploy the best available tools and data systems to measure, monitor, report, and verify (MMRV) carbon dioxide, methane, and other GHG emissions and removals. The new GHG measurement interagency working group will work with scientists, technologists, and mappers to develop a comprehensive national GHG MMRV system that will facilitate the dissemination and availability of validated, science-based GHG data for use by federal agencies, local, state, and Tribal governments, the private sector, and the public. In the near term, the GHG Measurement & Monitoring Interagency Working Group will focus on presidential climate priorities including carbon dioxide and methane emissions and removals under the U.S. Methane Emissions Reduction Action Plan and the USDA’s Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry initiatives. The Working Group is co-led led by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Office of Management and Budget, and the White House Climate Policy Office.

Spur New Industries in Energy Communities
The President’s Interagency Work Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization, which focuses on economic diversification and community-driven solutions in historic coal, oil, and gas regions across the United States, announced that it will hold a national workshop on the potential to reduce methane emissions from legacy fossil fuel infrastructure, including orphan oil and gas wells, while supporting new emerging industries including clean energy and manufacturing. Leveraging and transforming legacy fossil fuel infrastructure opens up the opportunity for a skilled workforce to access new sources of long-term high-quality jobs and for states and communities to increase tax revenues. As an example, the Department of Energy recently awarded $8.4 million in grant funding to establish new geothermal energy and heat production from orphaned oil and gas wells. This workshop will be hosted by the Interagency Working Group and will include technical expertise from across the Administration on site remediation and reclamation, worker training and upskilling of dislocated workers, and the broad range of options for repurposing fossil fuel infrastructure.

White 01/31/2022.

The video clip is 53 seconds long…

Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg says: The bipartisan infrastructure law is going to fund so many great projects, it’s hard to pick just one. There is not a state or territory in the U.S., that won’t benefit directly from the projects we’re going to be able to do.

Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland says: One of the most exciting new investments is the 16 billion dollar investment in legacy pollution cleanup.

Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo says: Every single American, including every family ad child in Navajo Nation, will have what they deserve and need–which is high speed affordable, reliable broadband.

Administrator of the EPA Michael Regan says: Now that the bill has passed, I am most excited about the $50 billion that will go to our water infrastructure.

Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh says: Not only does it bring new roads and bridges and broadband access to clean drinking water and electric charging stations all across America, but it creates opportunities for jobs.

For Tuesday, February 1st, 2022, President Biden has received his daily brief. This afternoon the President and the Vice President will host Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-) and Ranking Member Chuck Grassely (R-) to discuss the upcoming Supreme Court vacancy.

President Biden has tweeted 2 times so far for Tuesday…

The White House posted the following Proclamation on; National Black History Month, 2022…

Each February, National Black History Month serves as both a celebration and a powerful reminder that Black history is American history, Black culture is American culture, and Black stories are essential to the ongoing story of America — our faults, our struggles, our progress, and our aspirations.  Shining a light on Black history today is as important to understanding ourselves and growing stronger as a Nation as it has ever been.  That is why it is essential that we take time to celebrate the immeasurable contributions of Black Americans, honor the legacies and achievements of generations past, reckon with centuries of injustice, and confront those injustices that still fester today.

Our Nation was founded on an idea:  that all of us are created equal and deserve to be treated with equal dignity throughout our lives.  It is a promise we have never fully lived up to but one that we have never, ever walked away from.  The long shadows of slavery, Jim Crow, and redlining — and the blight of systemic racism that still diminishes our Nation today — hold America back from reaching our full promise and potential.  But by facing those tragedies openly and honestly and working together as one people to deliver on America’s promise of equity and dignity for all, we become a stronger Nation — a more perfect version of ourselves.

Across the generations, countless Black Americans have demonstrated profound moral courage and resilience to help shape our Nation for the better.  Today, Black Americans lead industries and movements for change, serve our communities and our Nation at every level, and advance every field across the board, including arts and sciences, business and law, health and education, and many more.  In the face of wounds and obstacles older than our Nation itself, Black Americans can be seen in every part of our society today, strengthening and uplifting all of America.

Vice President Harris and I are deeply committed to advancing equity, racial justice, and opportunity for Black Americans as we continue striving to realize America’s founding promise.  That began by building a Federal Government that looks like America:  including the first Black Secretary of Defense, the first Black woman to head the Office of Management and Budget, the first Black man to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, the first Black woman to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development in more than 40 years, the first Black chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisors, a Black Ambassador representing America at the United Nations, and the first Black and South Asian Vice President in our history.  We have been proud to appoint accomplished Black Americans to serve in a vast array of roles across our Administration.  I am prouder still to have already nominated eight Black women to serve as Federal appellate judges — matching in just 1 year the total number of Black women who have ever served on Federal appeals courts.

My Administration has worked hard to reverse decades of underinvestment in Black communities, schools, and businesses.  Both the American Rescue Plan and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law are making historic investments in Black America — from vaccine shots in arms to checks in families’ pockets and tax cuts for working families with children to a landmark $5.8 billion investment in and support for Historically Black Colleges and Universities.  And in my first year in office, the American Rescue Plan provided the full Child Tax Credit to the lower income families of more than 26 million children — who are disproportionately Black — and put us on a path to cut Black child poverty in half.

As the Infrastructure Law continues to be implemented, we will expand on that progress.  Lead service lines that have contaminated the water of too many homes and schools in Black communities will be removed and replaced.  We will deliver high-speed internet to every community so that no Black family is left behind in the 21st century economy.  Historic investments in public transportation will help more people in more neighborhoods get to where good jobs actually are quickly and safely.  We will reconnect Black neighborhoods cut off from opportunity by highways that were built to brush them aside.  Long-standing environmental injustices that have hit Black communities the hardest will be remediated.  We will deliver major investments in Black entrepreneurs and small businesses — including making the Minority Business Development Agency permanent and seeding it with a record $110 million in new resources to help level the playing field for Black businesses.

But this is only the start.  To fulfill America’s promise for all, we will work tirelessly in the year ahead to deliver on my Build Back Better agenda, bringing down the costs that families face on child care, housing, education, health care, prescription drugs, and so much more.  We will continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic with equity at the center of our response.  We will not rest until we have protected the foundation of our democracy:  the sacred right to vote.  And we will fight to keep dismantling all of those structural inequities that have served as barriers for Black families for generations.
As we celebrate National Black History Month, let us all recommit ourselves to reach for that founding promise.  Let us continue to fight for the equity, opportunity, and dignity to which every Black American is due in equal measure.  Let us carry forward the work to build an America that is, in the beautiful words of the poet Amanda Gorman, “Bruised, but whole — benevolent, but bold, fierce, and free.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim February 2022 as National Black History Month.  I call upon public officials, educators, librarians, and all the people of the United States to observe this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-two, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-sixth.

White 01/31/2022.

Lunar New Year starts today and last for 15/16 days. This Lunar New Year is the “Year of the Tiger…”

USA Today says; Each Lunar year is represented by a cycle of 12 zodiac animals. This year is the Year of the Tiger, the first since 2010. “The tiger is commonly associated with something like bravery, courage and strength,” Chen said. Yang added the tiger can also be viewed as an uplifting animal that can give people hope, especially with COVID-19. “This nicely coincided with hopeful recovery from the pandemic crisis,” she said. “This actually is quite significant year in terms of the symbol.”

The daily press briefing is scheduled for 1:45 p.m. D.C., time.

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Member of the Free Press who is politically homeless and a political junkie.