Energy & Environment — Biden touts tighter methane regulation at COP27

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Friday, November 11, 2022

President Biden addresses the international COP27 summit. Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency unveils its tighter methane rule, and Egypt’s government could risk the U.S.’ moral authority on climate.  This is Overnight Energy & Environment, your source for the latest news focused on energy, the environment and beyond. For The Hill, we’re Rachel Frazin and Zack Budryk. Someone forward you this newsletter? EPA proposes stricter methane rule  The Biden administration on Friday proposed to tighten regulations on the oil and gas sector aimed at controlling emissions of a planet warming gas called methane.   The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) projects that in 2030, the requirements would cut 87 percent of methane emissions from the pollution sources that it regulates when compared to 2005 levels.   The proposal strengthens a Biden administration proposal from last year that was expected to have cut methane emissions from regulated sources by 74 percent in 2030 compared to 2005 levels.  The EPA press release says that taken together, its two methane proposals would reduce about 36 million tons of methane emissions between 2023 and 2035, which it said is nearly the planet-warming equivalent of greenhouse gases emitted from all of the country’s coal-fired power plants in 2020.   Methane, like carbon dioxide, is a greenhouse gas that warms the planet. Methane has a shorter lifespan than carbon dioxide, but is more than 25 times as potent.  The details:   Among the new provisions is the creation of what’s being called a “super-emitter response program” that would require oil and gas operators to respond to credible reports of large methane leaks.  The rule is expected to require that wells are monitored for leaks until they are closed and put new regulations on a practice called flaring in which excess gas is burned off. The agency estimated that between 2023 and 2035 the regulations would save enough natural gas to power 3.5 million homes.   The reactions:   The methane rule received a fairly neutral reaction from some oil and gas industry groups. Anne Bradbury, CEO of the American Exploration and Production Council, said in a statement that the group “appreciate[s] EPA’s inclusion of many of the recommendations we made for needed changes and clarifications for upstream.” But, she added, “we still have concerns that should be addressed to make key provisions truly workable.” Jon Goldstein, senior director of regulatory and legislative affairs at Environmental Defense Fund, told The Hill in a brief interview that he believed the proposal was significantly better than the agency’s prior plan, but said that he had hoped it would go farther — banning flaring except in emergency situations.  “It shows some great improvement on the initial proposal from a year ago,” he said, but added “It leaves some work to continue to press on as far as trying to eliminate pollution from routine flaring at oil and gas wells.”  Read about the proposal here.   ADDITIONAL ANNOUNCEMENTS FROM BIDEN   The methane rule is one of several initiatives the administration is highlighting. Here’s some of the others:   The U.S., with the European Union, Japan, Canada, Norway and the United Kingdom, is expected to announce a joint declaration to minimize flaring, as well as methane and carbon dioxide emissions in fossil energy.  Biden is also expected to give additional U.S. funds to help developing nations adapt to climate change’s impacts. Specifically, he’ll double the country’s pledge to the adaptation fund, adding an additional $50 million to his prior pledge and will also announce $150 million for adaptation initiatives in Africa. A joint $500 million effort with Germany and the European Union to bolster Egypt’s transition to renewable energy.   Biden insists US will meet goals, calls for more action President Biden insisted Friday the U.S. will deliver on its climate change commitments, addressing an audience at an international climate summit in Egypt that is skeptical of whether the U.S. will actually live up to its promises.  “Today, finally, thanks to the actions we’ve taken, I can stand here as president of the United States of America and say with confidence: The United States of America will meet our emissions targets by 2030,” Biden said onstage at the COP27 climate conference in Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt.   Some background info on that:   Biden scored a major domestic win on climate change over the summer when he signed the Inflation Reduction Act, sweeping legislation that represents the biggest effort by a U.S. Congress to date to take action on the issue. The legislation, which Democrats approved through a budget process that prevented a GOP filibuster in the Senate, will invest billions in clean energy and is intended to meet the U.S. goal of cutting its emissions in half by 2030, compared to a 2005 baseline. The U.S. has been the largest historical emitter of greenhouse gasses and modeling has shown this legislation does not, on its own, deliver the emissions reductions necessary to meet the 50 percent target, though Democrats have hailed it as a big step toward Biden’s climate goals.  What else did he say?   During his speech, Biden also called out Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, citing the conflict as a reason to shift away from fossil fuels. “Russia’s war only enhances the urgency of the need to transition the world off its dependence on fossil fuels. True energy security means every nation … benefiting from [a] clean, diversified energy future,” Biden said.  The president called on the global community to take action on climate and help developing countries. “The United States is acting. Everyone has to act,” he said. “Countries that are in a position to help should be supporting developing countries so they can make decisive climate decisions.”  Read more about Biden’s speech here.   Egypt's human rights record questioned amid COP27 Human rights activists worry that Egypt’s government will use the COP27 United Nations climate summit in the country to launder its human rights record, and are calling on President Biden to use his appearance there to press Cairo to release political prisoners.   “It’s very clear that the Egyptian Government has sought out a COP27 posting as a way to legitimize its dictatorship as a way to work the dictatorship’s re-entry into the international community as a legitimate form of government,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of the group Democracy for the Arab World Now. Critics of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s government have pointed to his government’s crackdowns on human rights activists and protesters, including the killing by security forces of at least 900 protesters in 2013 when he seized power.   President Biden met with Sisi on Friday. National security adviser Jake Sullivan said in a White House briefing Thursday that the White House has “deep concern” about imprisoned Egyptian activist Alaa Abdel Fattah, who has been on a hunger strike for seven months and started a water strike to coincide with the conference.  “We would like to see him freed,” Sullivan added.  A White House readout of the meeting said that Biden raised “the importance of human rights and respect for fundamental freedoms” but did not give specifics. The Hill has reached out for more details.   Observers, as well as members of his family, are concerned Abdel Fattah’s life is at imminent risk, and the UN’s own human rights watchdog has called for his release.   The president is under particularly intense pressure to stand up to Sisi after activists sharply criticized his collegial meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, where the president unsuccessfully appealed for increased oil production.   Whitson noted that the U.S. is not a neutral actor in Egypt. “In this case, the U.S. is actively arming and protecting the dictatorship in Egypt as it carries out these heinous abuses,” she said.   “It’s sort of irreconcilable for the U.S. to be championing environmental activism and environmental change in a country that has done everything to suppress the voices of its citizens, including the ones demanding environmental change,” she added.   Lawmakers weigh in: In a letter Monday, 57 Congressional Democrats, led by Sen. Chris Coons (Del.), wrote to Biden urging him to address Egypt’s human rights record with Sisi’s government, warning that failure to do so would undermine the U.S.’ moral authority on climate issues.   “We are … deeply troubled by the message it sends to the world that the Egyptian government is hosting COP27 while imprisoning tens of thousands of political prisoners – including many environmental activists,” they wrote.  Read more about the controversy here.   ON TAP NEXT WEEK Lame duck Congress begins! Wednesday:  The House Natural Resources Committee will hold a markup on a Republican effort to probe Biden administration actions on the Resolution Copper mine.  Thursday:  The House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on Puerto Rico’s post-disaster reconstruction and power grid  The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on Energy Department nominees.  The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is slated to hold a hearing on nominees for the Chemical Safety Board.   WHAT WE'RE READING Republicans Pitch ‘Clean’ US Oil Production at UN Climate Summit (Bloomberg) U.S. blocks more than 1,000 solar shipments over Chinese slave labor concerns (Reuters) Deadly 2021 winter storm data disregarded in models for new ERCOT power grid market report (The Dallas Morning News)  Carbon offsets are making a comeback at COP27 (Quartz) COP27 awash with fossil fuel representatives, research shows (The Washington Post) ICYMI Court to revisit decision approving road through wildlife refuge after Carter oppositionAnalysis: World has 9 years to avoid critical climate change threshold   Lighter clicks: 🌧️ It’s Rainning  📸 Or, for the visual learners, check out The Hill’s photos of the week!  That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Energy & Environment page for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you next week.  

President Biden addresses the international COP27 summit. Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency unveils its tighter methane rule, and Egypt’s government could risk the U.S.’ moral authority on climate. This is Overnight Energy & Environment, your source for the latest news focused on energy, the environment and beyond. For The Hill, we’re Rachel Frazin and Zack...

President Biden addresses the international COP27 summit. Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency unveils its tighter methane rule, and Egypt’s government could risk the U.S.’ moral authority on climate. 

This is Overnight Energy & Environment, your source for the latest news focused on energy, the environment and beyond. For The Hill, we’re Rachel Frazin and Zack Budryk. Someone forward you this newsletter?

EPA proposes stricter methane rule 

The Biden administration on Friday proposed to tighten regulations on the oil and gas sector aimed at controlling emissions of a planet warming gas called methane.  

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) projects that in 2030, the requirements would cut 87 percent of methane emissions from the pollution sources that it regulates when compared to 2005 levels.  

The proposal strengthens a Biden administration proposal from last year that was expected to have cut methane emissions from regulated sources by 74 percent in 2030 compared to 2005 levels. 

The EPA press release says that taken together, its two methane proposals would reduce about 36 million tons of methane emissions between 2023 and 2035, which it said is nearly the planet-warming equivalent of greenhouse gases emitted from all of the country’s coal-fired power plants in 2020.  

Methane, like carbon dioxide, is a greenhouse gas that warms the planet. Methane has a shorter lifespan than carbon dioxide, but is more than 25 times as potent. 

The details:  

  • Among the new provisions is the creation of what’s being called a “super-emitter response program” that would require oil and gas operators to respond to credible reports of large methane leaks.  
  • The rule is expected to require that wells are monitored for leaks until they are closed and put new regulations on a practice called flaring in which excess gas is burned off. 
  • The agency estimated that between 2023 and 2035 the regulations would save enough natural gas to power 3.5 million homes.  

The reactions:  

  • The methane rule received a fairly neutral reaction from some oil and gas industry groups. Anne Bradbury, CEO of the American Exploration and Production Council, said in a statement that the group “appreciate[s] EPA’s inclusion of many of the recommendations we made for needed changes and clarifications for upstream.” 
  • But, she added, “we still have concerns that should be addressed to make key provisions truly workable.” 
  • Jon Goldstein, senior director of regulatory and legislative affairs at Environmental Defense Fund, told The Hill in a brief interview that he believed the proposal was significantly better than the agency’s prior plan, but said that he had hoped it would go farther — banning flaring except in emergency situations.  
  • “It shows some great improvement on the initial proposal from a year ago,” he said, but added “It leaves some work to continue to press on as far as trying to eliminate pollution from routine flaring at oil and gas wells.” 

Read about the proposal here.  

ADDITIONAL ANNOUNCEMENTS FROM BIDEN  

The methane rule is one of several initiatives the administration is highlighting.

Here’s some of the others:  

  • The U.S., with the European Union, Japan, Canada, Norway and the United Kingdom, is expected to announce a joint declaration to minimize flaring, as well as methane and carbon dioxide emissions in fossil energy.  
  • Biden is also expected to give additional U.S. funds to help developing nations adapt to climate change’s impacts. Specifically, he’ll double the country’s pledge to the adaptation fund, adding an additional $50 million to his prior pledge and will also announce $150 million for adaptation initiatives in Africa. 
  • A joint $500 million effort with Germany and the European Union to bolster Egypt’s transition to renewable energy.  

Biden insists US will meet goals, calls for more action

President Biden insisted Friday the U.S. will deliver on its climate change commitments, addressing an audience at an international climate summit in Egypt that is skeptical of whether the U.S. will actually live up to its promises. 

“Today, finally, thanks to the actions we’ve taken, I can stand here as president of the United States of America and say with confidence: The United States of America will meet our emissions targets by 2030,” Biden said onstage at the COP27 climate conference in Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt.  

Some background info on that:  

  • Biden scored a major domestic win on climate change over the summer when he signed the Inflation Reduction Act, sweeping legislation that represents the biggest effort by a U.S. Congress to date to take action on the issue. 
  • The legislation, which Democrats approved through a budget process that prevented a GOP filibuster in the Senate, will invest billions in clean energy and is intended to meet the U.S. goal of cutting its emissions in half by 2030, compared to a 2005 baseline. 
  • The U.S. has been the largest historical emitter of greenhouse gasses and modeling has shown this legislation does not, on its own, deliver the emissions reductions necessary to meet the 50 percent target, though Democrats have hailed it as a big step toward Biden’s climate goals. 

What else did he say?  

  • During his speech, Biden also called out Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, citing the conflict as a reason to shift away from fossil fuels. “Russia’s war only enhances the urgency of the need to transition the world off its dependence on fossil fuels. True energy security means every nation … benefiting from [a] clean, diversified energy future,” Biden said.  
  • The president called on the global community to take action on climate and help developing countries. “The United States is acting. Everyone has to act,” he said. “Countries that are in a position to help should be supporting developing countries so they can make decisive climate decisions.” 

Read more about Biden’s speech here.  

Egypt's human rights record questioned amid COP27

Human rights activists worry that Egypt’s government will use the COP27 United Nations climate summit in the country to launder its human rights record, and are calling on President Biden to use his appearance there to press Cairo to release political prisoners.  

“It’s very clear that the Egyptian Government has sought out a COP27 posting as a way to legitimize its dictatorship as a way to work the dictatorship’s re-entry into the international community as a legitimate form of government,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of the group Democracy for the Arab World Now.

  • Critics of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s government have pointed to his government’s crackdowns on human rights activists and protesters, including the killing by security forces of at least 900 protesters in 2013 when he seized power.   
  • President Biden met with Sisi on Friday. National security adviser Jake Sullivan said in a White House briefing Thursday that the White House has “deep concern” about imprisoned Egyptian activist Alaa Abdel Fattah, who has been on a hunger strike for seven months and started a water strike to coincide with the conference.  
  • “We would like to see him freed,” Sullivan added. 

A White House readout of the meeting said that Biden raised “the importance of human rights and respect for fundamental freedoms” but did not give specifics. The Hill has reached out for more details.  

Observers, as well as members of his family, are concerned Abdel Fattah’s life is at imminent risk, and the UN’s own human rights watchdog has called for his release.  

The president is under particularly intense pressure to stand up to Sisi after activists sharply criticized his collegial meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, where the president unsuccessfully appealed for increased oil production.  

  • Whitson noted that the U.S. is not a neutral actor in Egypt. “In this case, the U.S. is actively arming and protecting the dictatorship in Egypt as it carries out these heinous abuses,” she said.   
  • “It’s sort of irreconcilable for the U.S. to be championing environmental activism and environmental change in a country that has done everything to suppress the voices of its citizens, including the ones demanding environmental change,” she added.  

Lawmakers weigh in: In a letter Monday, 57 Congressional Democrats, led by Sen. Chris Coons (Del.), wrote to Biden urging him to address Egypt’s human rights record with Sisi’s government, warning that failure to do so would undermine the U.S.’ moral authority on climate issues.  

“We are … deeply troubled by the message it sends to the world that the Egyptian government is hosting COP27 while imprisoning tens of thousands of political prisoners – including many environmental activists,” they wrote. 

Read more about the controversy here.  

ON TAP NEXT WEEK

Lame duck Congress begins!

Wednesday: 

  • The House Natural Resources Committee will hold a markup on a Republican effort to probe Biden administration actions on the Resolution Copper mine. 

Thursday: 

  • The House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on Puerto Rico’s post-disaster reconstruction and power grid  
  • The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on Energy Department nominees.  
  • The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is slated to hold a hearing on nominees for the Chemical Safety Board.  

WHAT WE'RE READING

  • Republicans Pitch ‘Clean’ US Oil Production at UN Climate Summit (Bloomberg
  • U.S. blocks more than 1,000 solar shipments over Chinese slave labor concerns (Reuters
  • Deadly 2021 winter storm data disregarded in models for new ERCOT power grid market report (The Dallas Morning News)  
  • Carbon offsets are making a comeback at COP27 (Quartz
  • COP27 awash with fossil fuel representatives, research shows (The Washington Post)

ICYMI

Lighter clicks:

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Energy & Environment page for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you next week.  

Read the full story here.
Photos courtesy of

How to learn to love winter

Getty Images Winter doesn’t have to be the absolute worst time of year. Depending on where you live and your personal disposition, winter fills you with either delight (Skiing! Warm beverages! Cozy sweaters!) or dread (dry skin, early sunsets, painful wind chills). Every season comes with its unique trappings, but for regions that experience freezing temps, winter tends to draw the most contention. It’s true that cold has less-than-desirable effects on the body. Many people report feeling hungrier in the winter; long, dark nights contribute to increased tiredness as well as feelings of winter malaise, known as seasonal affective disorder; low humidity and the heat in homes contribute to dry, itchy skin. Despite all the havoc winter unleashes on the mind and body, there are ways to care for yourself to blunt the impact of cold and darkness. Regardless of the time of year, understanding how you react to icy temperatures and shorter days — physically and mentally — can help you prepare defenses and have a more pleasant and comfortable winter (even if the season is already half over). How winter affects the body and mind The body has both physical and behavioral reactions to frosty conditions, says Clare Eglin, a principal lecturer in human and applied physiology at the University of Portsmouth. When the external world gets cold, your warm skin loses heat to the environment, Eglin explains, and this is how you perceive the concept of being cold. Hands and face are the biggest contributors to sensing a chill: If the hands and face are exposed to wintry elements, you’ll feel colder, says Eglin, who studies how the body reacts to frigid temperatures. “As we start to lose heat to the environment, then our body reacts to try and prevent that heat loss and so the blood vessels in the skin narrow and that prevents the blood flow going there,” she says. “That reduces the skin temperature further, which is great because it stops us losing so much heat to the environment, but then our skin temperature feels colder and so we feel colder.” As a result, the brain shifts the blood flow from the extremities to the core and you start to shiver and your teeth clatter in an effort to get warm. The behavioral reaction to cold is to hunch over to conserve heat, Eglin says. Remaining tense, with shoulders shrugged, for an extended period can cause moderate pain and stiffness. Shivering and moving around to get warm requires energy, Eglin says, which you get from food. As the body breaks down food, the process releases heat, and you’ll actually feel warmer. This may explain increased hunger during the winter, Eglin says, to compensate for the energy required to warm you up. These effects may be negligible: Studies show cold environments only account for 100 to 200 calories burned. However, contextual influences may contribute to increased hunger in the winter. The holiday season, early sunset, and boredom could cause you to think about and surround yourself with more food. One small study found that participants increased their consumption of meat and dairy products in the winter. “There’s a lot of variability,” Eglin says. “Some people show a marked increase in the amount they eat, and other people don’t.” Lack of daylight is to blame for sluggishness and depression. In the morning, daylight is the body’s cue to wake up and get to work; once the sun sets and light dissipates, the body produces melatonin and gets sleepy. Belated sunrise and early sunset during the winter is a recipe for tiredness all season long. Lack of light causes all the body’s internal clocks (the mechanisms that regulate body temperature, hunger, and stress response) to fall out of sync, says Bonnie Spring, a professor of preventive medicine, psychology, and psychiatry at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. “If it’s dark in the morning, and you feel like sleeping in and you do sleep in, then … you will be eating your breakfast later and not at a time when your insulin is sensitive enough to metabolize those calories efficiently,” she says. “You just get a spiral of things that goes off track.” Being off-cycle contributes to seasonal affective disorder, a type of depression that typically lasts during winter. SAD manifests in a depression beginning around late fall, Spring says, along with sleeping too much or too little; an increase in the consumption of carbohydrates, starches, and sweets; and weight gain. Because SAD is a genuine mental health disorder and considered a type of depression, more intensive treatments like therapy and antidepressants might be necessary. If you dread winter, try to change your mindset Despite all the biological and environmental hurdles winter throws our way, there are plenty of people who thrive during colder months. While she was organizing a research project on SAD in Norway, health psychologist Kari Leibowitz learned from a local collaborator how there weren’t any marked differences in mental health between winter and summer. In a country that is dark for most of the winter, Leibowitz was curious why these people flourished when so many others anguished during the season. Among her findings, which she chronicles in the forthcoming book How to Winter: Harnessing Mindset to Embrace All Seasons of Life, was a profound contrast in mindset toward winter among Norwegians. Largely, people in Nordic countries aren’t limited by cold and darkness; they continue to enjoy the outdoors and embrace coziness during the winter. (Of course, a year of paid parental leave and universal health care probably don’t hurt mental health, either.) By contrast, Americans, although hardly monolithic in experience, generally have a negative attitude about winter. “I think a lot of people, especially the people who aren’t in the coldest part of the US,” Leibowitz says, “tend to really struggle with the winter and focus a lot on the negatives and see it as a really limiting time of year ... when you can’t do the things that you enjoy doing.” Instead of viewing winter as a season of constraints, create opportunities that make it distinctive. If you enjoy beach trips or hiking in the summer, what are your winter alternatives? Lean into the coziness of the season and eat dinner by candlelight or experiment with warm recipes like soups and stews. Focus on the things you actually enjoy about the winter and activities you can only partake in when it’s cold and dark, like weekend ski trips and movie marathons. Something as small as reveling in the warmth of your home after a cold errand run can help improve mindset, Leibowitz says. “For a lot of people who really like the winter, they see it as a time to slow down, maybe have more intimate social gatherings, maybe read more, or make art or read poetry or practice music,” she says. Ritualizing certain aspects of winter entertainment — like a weekly TV night or daily cup of tea — makes an average part of life an event worth looking forward to. (Anticipating events in the future is also beneficial to mental health.) Get some daylight and fresh air, even when it’s cold outside In order to overcome the sluggish effects of minimal daylight in winter, light exposure is essential. Soaking in the daylight during a one-hour morning walk has been found to reduce the effects of SAD, according to research. Getting light in the morning also helps you fall asleep at night. Being in nature comes with a wealth of cognitive and emotional benefits, too. Layer up (more on that later) and take the dog for a walk or go for a quick hike. “If you are cooped up all winter long, if you’re not going on walks, if you’re not being active, if you’re not getting fresh air and whatever light you have access to in your part of the world,” Leibowitz says, “then it’s a recipe for feeling a little bit miserable during the winter.” Alternatives to natural light are lightboxes and sunrise alarm clocks. Designed to replicate the experience of soaking in natural light, these devices help treat SAD and are meant to be used for 20 to 30 minutes first thing in the morning. Similarly, sunrise alarm clocks play double duty: They serve morning light and also provide a wake-up call. Wear appropriate winter clothing Much of the disdain toward winter stems from a general dislike for being cold. “Every day I went to high school in my jeans and my sneakers and I put a coat on, but I wondered why I was shivering and miserable all winter,” says Leibowitz, whose New Jersey winters soured her view of the season. On a practical level, enjoying winter rests on your wardrobe. In Norway, where Leibowitz researches winter lifestyle, residents wear woolen leggings, undershirts, sweaters, and socks. Grocery stores are stocked with merino wool leggings and undershirts. By no means do you need to acquire these items if you don’t already have them (thrift stores and clothing swaps are good options for collecting warm-weather gear), but the sentiment remains: Layering is the key to staying warm in winter. Leibowitz’s Arctic-inspired winter wardrobe includes leggings under jeans and long-sleeved undergarments beneath a sweater. Waterproof jackets and boots keep snow and rain from soaking the clothes underneath. Your layering is contingent on your activity; you’ll want to wear more clothing for a casual walk outside or a lazy day on the couch than you will for a rigorous run or housework. As far as fabrics go, wool is ideal because it wicks moisture away from the body. Cotton, on the other hand, holds on to moisture, so if you sweat at all during a winter hike or bike ride, that perspiration won’t dry and will make you chillier. Soft and loose fabrics are comforting against dry, itchy skin. Remember to keep your hands and feet warm if you’re going outside, Eglin says, since blood flows away from the extremities when it’s cold. Good socks and gloves are essential. Navigating around ice and snow doesn’t have to be treacherous Ice and snowfall can prove especially difficult for folks with mobility issues. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, snow and ice must be cleared from entrances to public buildings. Most states have specific snow removal laws for residential properties, so double-check whether you’re responsible for shoveling the sidewalk outside of your house and clarify with your landlord on who’s responsible for clearing snow and ice at your building. Some towns and cities offer snow clearing exemptions for people with disabilities or seniors. To help fill in the gaps where local municipalities fall short with snow removal policies, be a good community member and make sure you’re keeping the sidewalks around your home clear of snow and ice, and, if you can, offer to shovel or offer rides to neighbors in need. Look in on who may need help getting groceries or prescriptions during a winter storm. If you’re unable to clear snow around your home, check to see if a local volunteer organization offers snow removal services. Spring recommends using community Facebook groups or apps like Nextdoor to volunteer to help out a neighbor or to ask for assistance. Winter doesn’t need to be a time of inconvenience. A shift in mindset and a practical approach to the season can empower you (and those around you) to feel comfy and cozy even through frigid conditions. Even Better is here to offer deeply sourced, actionable advice for helping you live a better life. Do you have a question on money and work; friends, family, and community; or personal growth and health? Send us your question by filling out this form. We might turn it into a story.

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