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Columbia Energy Exchange

New Congress Weighs in on Climate Change

President Biden has quickly followed through on his commitment to address climate change with a series of executive orders aimed at undoing the policies of the Trump administration and appointments across the government to carry out his ambitious agenda. But his plans will also require the approval of Congress to provide the necessary funding and legislative authority.

Given the political divides in Washington, there are plenty of questions about Biden’s ability to win over the new Congress even with his party in charge of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless is joined by Heidi Heitkamp, a former Democratic senator from North Dakota, for some informed insight on the dynamics on Capitol Hill. Senator Heitkamp is known as a middle-of-the-road politician, one who worked with Republicans as well as members of her own party in search of legislative solutions. Among her priorities then and now is a commitment to making sure rural states like North Dakota have a say in national debates over major issues like energy and climate change.

She served in the Senate from 2013 to 2019, and had assignments on the Agriculture, Banking and Homeland Security committees. Earlier in her career, she was an attorney for the Environmental Protection Agency before completing two terms as North Dakota state tax commissioner and two terms as the state’s attorney general. After leaving Congress, she co-founded the One Country Project to reopen rural dialogue between voters and Democrats.

Recently, the Bipartisan Policy Center named Senator Heitkamp co-chair of its new Farm and Forest Carbon Solutions Task Force and the University of Chicago Institute of Politics made her a 2021 Pritzker Fellow.

Among the topics Bill and Senator Heitkamp discuss are the prospects for President Biden’s priorities for funding and legislation to curb greenhouse gas emissions and promote cleaner forms of energy, including new jobs. Bill and Senator Heitkamp also talk about some of her former colleagues in Congress and their potential influence on energy and climate issues, as well as the outlook for oil and natural gas and the potential for emerging technologies like carbon capture and sequestration.


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