During the White House press briefing on Thursday, deputy national climate adviser Ali Zaidi was asked about reports that Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., objects to a ban on offshore drilling in the Build Back Better bill. Zaidi responded with the Biden administration’s previous efforts to tackle climate change.
- Just a quick follow-up on Build Back Better. There's multiple reports that Senator Manchin is objecting to including drilling bans off the Atlantic and Pacific Coast as well as Gulf of Mexico. How significant of a loss would that be? What is the White House doing to keep those in the bill? And just separately, a ban on drilling in ANWR is still in the package. What is the White House doing to ensure that that stays in the package?
ALI ZAIDI: Well, let me talk a little bit about what we've been doing. This is a president that came in, and right over there, signed back the protections for Bears Ears, an incredibly important national monument, and Grand Staircase Escalante. He halted leasing in the Arctic Refuge and in Chaco Canyon, important places to protect for posterity.
He set the first-ever national conservation goal and is galvanizing folks across sectors, across states and local governments, in tackling the climate crisis in a way that recognizes it's not just what we're doing to nature, it's that nature can be our partner in taking on the challenges that we face. And look, we've had incredibly productive dialogues, in the context of this bill and others, on how we take on the climate crisis in a way that marshals the power of nature-based solutions.
And the bipartisan infrastructure law, by the way-- hopefully I get to come back for the $21 billion we're going to spend to remediate the places we fouled and that can now become hubs of economic activity and hubs of climate solutions based in nature. That was in the bipartisan infrastructure law. He brought together Democrats and Republicans in both chambers of the House, passed something historic. So we're excited about that work, and we're moving forward.