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Exam Code: A00-250 Practice exam 2022 by team
A00-250 SAS Platform Administration for SAS9

Exam Name SAS Certified Platform Administrator for SAS 9
Exam Code A00-250
Exam Duration 110 minutes
Exam Questions 70 multiple-choice and short-answer questions
Passing Score 70%

Successful candidates should be able to:
Secure the SAS configuration on each server machine.
Check status and operate servers.
Monitor server activity and administer logging.
Establish formal, regularly scheduled backup processes.
Add users and manage their access.
Establish connectivity to data sources.
Set up and secure metadata folder structures.
Administer repositories and move metadata.

Exam Contents
Securing the SAS configuration
Secure a SAS platform configuration.
Update SAS Software
Monitoring the Status and Operation of SAS Metadata Servers
Manage metadata repositories.
Identify the properties and functionality of SAS servers.
Configure a SAS Metadata server cluster.
Monitoring, Logging, and Troubleshooting SAS Servers
Monitor SAS servers.
Administer SAS server logging and modify logging configurations.
Troubleshoot basic SAS server issues such as server availability.
Backing Up the SAS Environment
Backup and restore the SAS environment.
Administering Users
Manage connection profiles.
Manage roles.
Register users and groups in the metadata.
Give users access to processing servers and data servers.
Determine when to store passwords in the metadata.
Manage internal SAS accounts.
Identify SAS server authentication mechanisms.
Administering Data Access
Register libraries and tables in the metadata.
Update table metadata.
Pre-assign a library.
Troubleshoot data access problems.
Use the metadata LIBNAME engine.
Managing Metadata
Identify how the metadata authorization layer interacts with other security layers.
Identify where, how, and to whom metadata permissions are assigned.
Determine the outcome of metadata authorization decisions.
Use metadata permissions to secure metadata.
Create and use Access Control Templates.
Promote metadata and associated content.

SAS Platform Administration for SAS9
SASInstitute Administration action
Killexams : SASInstitute Administration action - BingNews Search results Killexams : SASInstitute Administration action - BingNews Killexams : Executive Action vs. the Nature Crisis: Top 8 Opportunities President Biden Should Pursue To Meet His America the Beautiful Commitment

Introduction and summary

After slow progress, 2023 is a make-or-break year for Biden’s conservation commitment

On the campaign trail, then-presidential candidate Joe Biden committed to dramatically escalating the pace of conservation in the United States toward a national goal of protecting 30 percent of its lands and waters by 2030, later expanding on this commitment through his “America the Beautiful” initiative. During President Biden’s first two years in office, he has taken important steps to undo damage wrought by the Trump administration—including by restoring Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante, and Northeast Canyons and Seamounts national monuments as well as protections for the Tongass National Forest. In addition, he has rebuilt the capacity of America’s land and water management agencies and taken new action to protect threatened lands, address inequity, and empower Tribes.

But the nature crisis and Biden’s own “30×30” goal demand that the president acts with greater urgency: He must use 2023 as a launch pad if he is to keep his promises and his 2030 goals in sight. With existing protections for U.S. lands still hovering around 13 percent, meeting Biden’s 2030 goal will require quickly accelerating the pace of conservation measures for public and private lands,1 while also ensuring these actions expand nature access for underserved communities, address climate change, and respect Tribal sovereignty and priorities. Meeting the president’s already-tight climate goals, likewise, demands that America not allow its natural carbon sinks to slip away as the country makes progress on emissions.

New threats to nature

Several new factors will also require President Biden to lean even further into his executive authorities to protect lands and waters. Although the Inflation Reduction Act was a historic win for the climate, damaging provisions added to the bill mandate new leasing of national lands and waters for oil and gas, which could substantially undermine conservation progress. Meanwhile, mining companies are exploiting skyrocketing demand and subsidies to file thousands of new claims on public lands, rush environmental reviews, and take advantage of century-old legal requirements that leave communities and U.S. lands in the lurch.2

The clock is ticking, and the coming months will be critical to determining the nation’s conservation trajectory.

Additionally, the impacts of long-standing inequities regarding access to parks and green space—including those analyzed in the Center for American Progress’ “The Nature Gap” report3—have only grown more acute during the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, evidence suggests that the pandemic exacerbated racial and socioeconomic inequities related to local and national park access and recreation opportunities.4

Finally, even as the nature crisis and nature gap have grown, conservation progress in Congress has been slowing, and the 117th Congress has, so far, failed to enact a single bill conserving a significant amount of land.

Figure 1

While the 2022 “lame duck” period presents President Biden and Congress with a short opportunity to pass some pending public lands bills, the positions taken by the incoming House Republican Majority leadership suggest that community-driven conservation proposals are more likely to languish during the 118th Congress.

Land and water conservation is a prime opportunity for executive action

Despite congressional inaction, President Biden has the executive tools to deliver conservation results for local communities that have spent years, and often decades, working to protect the places they treasure. If the president uses 2023 as a launch pad for action, he can set a trajectory to meet his goal of protecting 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters and turn his America the Beautiful vision into reality.5

Polls and election results show that the public is with Biden in his conservation mission. recent public opinion analysis from FM3 Research found that conservation actions—such as those discussed below—are deeply and consistently popular.6 And at the ballot box, conservation measures once again demonstrated their deep and bipartisan appeal this year, with state, county, and local measures to fund new parks and land conservation adopted by voters across the country by wide margins.7

Here are eight actions that President Biden should take now to make good on his promise to protect nature and bolster his climate change agenda:

  1. Designate new national monuments.
  2. Designate national marine sanctuaries.
  3. Conserve high-value Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands through rulemaking and planning.
  4. Issue a national forest climate rule and conserve old forests across public lands.
  5. Create and expand national wildlife refuges.
  6. “Withdraw” sensitive and sacred lands from future drilling and mining.
  7. Restore protections and pursue Indigenous-led conservation opportunities for BLM lands in Alaska.
  8. Harness new funding for conservation.

While these represent some of the most significant and immediate steps President Biden and his team can take to proactively deliver on his conservation promise, this is not intended to be a comprehensive list. For example, two crosscutting priorities—supporting Indigenous-led conservation and addressing the inequitable nature gap—are touched on in multiple recommendations in this report but also warrant an independent focus by the Biden administration. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland’s directive to expand Tribal co-stewardship of public lands8 and a new interagency agreement to create more equitable access to parks and nature9 represent important steps in the right direction.

Designate new national monuments


President Biden has the authority under the Antiquities Act to designate national monuments that protect nationally significant lands and waters, actualize community conservation asks, broaden the stories and cultures represented by America’s system of protected lands, and increase access to nature for communities historically deprived of its benefits.

A recent analysis by CAP and Monumental SHIFT found that just a quarter of national parks and monuments are dedicated to telling the story of underrepresented communities in America. The average rate at which presidents have used the Antiquities Act to protect sites that honor underrepresented communities has tripled since 1981, but this trend peaked during the Obama administration before coming to a near standstill.10

Read the full analysis

On October 12, 2022, President Biden designated his first new national monument, Camp Hale-Continental Divide, which will permanently protect 54,000 acres of mountains and valleys where the famed 10th Mountain Division prepared for World War II.11 Local efforts to permanently protect Camp Hale have been ongoing for more than a decade. In the face of a gridlocked Congress, scores of local advocates, businesses, veterans, and local decision-makers celebrated President Biden for finally taking action.

Figure 2

Specific action and impact

President Biden should make full use of the Antiquities Act to help meet his conservation promises and follow the recommendations of communities across the country to protect special places, honor diverse histories, and bridge the inequitable gap in nature access.

Some national monument proposals that warrant near-term action include Castner Range in Texas, Avi Kwa Ame in Nevada, and the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley historic site in Illinois and Mississippi. A new CAP issue brief highlights these and other opportunities as well as their potential benefits for conservation, climate, and communities.

Read the issue brief

The Antiquities Act is a uniquely powerful tool for conserving places of historic and cultural significance and expanding the diversity of stories told by the nation’s protected public lands. Additionally, the National Park Service (NPS) administers the National Register of Historic Places, an official list of the nation’s historic places worthy of preservation.12 Recently, the Hispanic Access Foundation recommended updates to the evaluation criteria and related historic preservation processes—as well as specific Latino heritage sites awaiting recognition—that warrant action to help address long-standing problems around cultural representation and diversity on the National Register.13

Designate national marine sanctuaries


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has the authority to designate national marine sanctuaries under the National Marine Sanctuaries Act. NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) currently manages 15 sanctuaries and two marine national monuments encompassing more than 620,000 square miles of marine and Great Lakes waters.

There are two stages to creating sanctuaries: nomination and designation.14 The most successful nominations prove that the area holds national significance and that providing sanctuary designation would uphold the conservation and management goals of that area. Several proposed sanctuaries under consideration by ONMS have Indigenous involvement and leadership, with nominations submitted by Tribes and Indigenous nonprofits or supported by Indigenous groups.15 Although the Biden administration has not designated any new sanctuaries yet, it has begun the designation process for the Chumash Heritage and Hudson Canyon national marine sanctuaries and accepted the Alaĝum Kanuux̂ National Marine Sanctuary onto the inventory of successful nominations.16

Specific action and impact

To help meet his America the Beautiful commitments for marine conservation, President Biden should direct NOAA to substantially expedite the process for designating potential marine sanctuaries, including by acting on designation proposals currently under consideration by NOAA and advancing successful nominations to the designation stage.

Some of the opportunities NOAA should pursue expeditiously include beginning the designation process for the Mariana Trench National Marine Sanctuary and the Alaĝum Kanuux̂ National Marine Sanctuary. These and other opportunities are highlighted in CAP’s new issue brief mentioned above.17

Conserve high-value BLM lands through rulemaking and planning


As the nation’s largest land manager, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) oversees roughly 245 million acres of public lands, or 10.5 percent of all lands in the United States. These include a diversity of landscapes—from Arizona’s Sonoran Desert National Monument to California’s Lost Coast Trail—providing world-class recreation opportunities, habitat for big game and endangered wildlife, clean water supplies, natural carbon reserves, and a home for sacred places, rich histories, and cultural and scientific wonders.

BLM lands represent the single biggest opportunity for President Biden and Secretary Haaland to make conservation progress and balance a system that has overwhelmingly favored the short-term interests of oil, gas, and mining companies.

Despite a mandate to manage these public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations, the BLM has never established comprehensive regulations for the conservation of its natural and cultural wonders. Additionally, only 13.6 percent of BLM lands have durable protections that prevent development by extractive industry.18 Meanwhile, work to update plans guiding the management of specific BLM lands—resource management plans—remains woefully behind schedule and underfunded. While the BLM is legally required to review management plans every five years, the vast majority of BLM plans are outdated, with some dating back more than 40 years and some updates taking more than a decade to complete.19

As America’s most vulnerable public lands, BLM lands also represent the single biggest opportunity for President Biden and Secretary Haaland to make conservation progress and balance a system that has overwhelmingly favored the short-term interests of oil, gas, and mining companies.

Specific action and impact

Through rulemaking under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA), the BLM should require lands of the highest value for wildlife, cultural and historic resources, recreation, climate, and other public goods to be managed for long-term protection. Rulemaking—and any other necessary policy revisions—should require a consistent, durable, and high level of protection for existing areas of critical environmental concern (ACECs); Excellerate protections for lands already identified for their wilderness values; and direct the identification and designation of new ACECs, wilderness study areas, wildlife migration corridors, habitat management areas, backcountry conservation areas, and other designations that provide consistent and durable conservation. New BLM rules should also mandate the incorporation of traditional knowledge, consultation with Tribes, and the pursuit of co-management or other Tribal collaboration opportunities consistent with the BLM’s recent instructional memorandum.20

Additionally, the Biden administration should fund a surge effort to complete BLM resource management plan updates that deliver durable conservation protections on a landscape-by-landscape basis. This effort can be aided by utilizing significant portions of the $500 million allocated in the Inflation Reduction Act for the conservation and restoration of BLM and NPS lands.21

The BLM should also ensure that its ongoing review of management plans issued in 2015 to conserve the greater sage-grouse, and the 78 million acres of sagebrush ecosystem managed by the agency, reflects the latest science by adopting new durable conservation and restoration measures.22 In addition to mineral withdrawals discussed below in this report, this should include new ACECs and other habitat protections, no surface occupancy requirements, and a mitigation framework that avoids, minimizes, and compensates for habitat loss from development.

These actions could have the following impacts, consistent with President Biden’s commitments:

  • 30×30 goal: While the scale of conservation gains will ultimately depend on a combination of policies and plan-by-plan decisions, conserving high-value BLM lands represents one of the most significant levers America has to reach its 2030 land conservation goal. Elevating the conservation status of lands already identified by the BLM for their conservation and wilderness values alone would benefit tens of millions of acres, representing just a portion of the total conservation opportunity.23
  • Climate: Conserving high-value BLM lands could also have an outsize impact on U.S. climate resilience. Analysis has shown that unprotected BLM lands, above all other federal agencies, provide important ecological connectivity between existing protected areas, offering the potential to secure corridors needed for species to thrive and adapt to climate change.24 Additionally, new BLM land protections would help secure important stores of natural carbon. One analysis estimated that conserving some of the unprotected BLM lands with particularly high ecological and climate resilience values from industrial mineral extraction and logging would secure almost 3 billion tons of existing carbon stock.25 That estimate represents just a small portion of the potential area BLM could durably conserve.
  • Communities: New ACECs and other designations would allow the BLM to protect sacred and culturally significant sites, engaging Tribes in both the development of recommended new protections and in co-management, while also preserving opportunities for traditional uses. Additionally, conserving unprotected outdoor recreation opportunities on BLM lands would yield significant community and economic benefits. One study from 2016 found that nonmotorized recreation on BLM lands already supported 25,000 jobs and generated $2.8 billion annually for the U.S. economy,26 while another study from 2018 found that wildlife-related recreation on these lands generated 26,500 jobs, more than $1 billion in wages, and more than $421 million in tax revenue each year.27

Issue a national forest climate rule and conserve old forests across public lands


The U.S. Forest Service, within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), manages 193 million acres across the country, including a disproportionate amount of the country’s old-growth and mature forests.28 National forests harbor hundreds of endangered species, important habitat and migration corridors for big game species, and the headwaters of many of the United States’ most important rivers. Additionally, older forests are very productive at capturing and storing carbon. But unfortunately, these resources are threatened by a changing climate, uncharacteristic wildfires, and avoidable loss due to logging. The administration has an opportunity and responsibility to conserve these lands and guide their continued stewardship.

In July 2021, the USDA announced important actions to conserve old-growth forest and support local economies in Southeast Alaska. This includes restoring “roadless rule” protections for the Tongass National Forest in Alaska eliminated by the Trump administration, ending large-scale old-growth logging in this forest, and supporting sustainable economic growth through a regional strategy that invests $25 million in near-term funding and technical assistance.29

Old-growth and mature forests are carbon-storing powerhouses. Securing and restoring these natural carbon reserves must be a core component of the nation’s climate strategy.

Building on these actions in Alaska, President Biden issued an executive order this year that established conserving old-growth and mature forests on federal lands as a national policy priority and directed the secretaries of agriculture and the interior to take inventory of old-growth and mature forests across the country and develop policy solutions to address threats.30 Additionally, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has directed the USDA to complete a gap analysis that maps and assesses climate change vulnerabilities and risks to watersheds; identifies important areas for biodiversity and at-risk species, carbon, and mature and old-growth forests; and recommends opportunities for action.31 Lastly, the Inflation Reduction Act provides $50 million for the protection of old-growth forests on National Forest System land and to complete the inventory of old-growth and mature forests.32

Moreover, the Forest Service launched a 10-year “Confronting the Wildfire Crisis” strategy in January to protect communities and address restoration and resiliency needs in the face of uncharacteristic wildfires.33 Addressing wildfire resiliency and conserving old forests are interrelated and mutually supportive: Ecologically appropriate wildfire risk reduction strategies can protect remaining old growth, safeguard the oldest fire-resistant trees, and help restore mature forests so they can become tomorrow’s old growth.

Specific action and impact

Drawing on the best available science, the Forest Service should immediately initiate a climate rulemaking that affords durable protections for old-growth and mature forests (including “legacy trees”34), properly functioning watersheds, and the most important areas for wildlife movement.35 Such a rule could also help implement the Forest Service’s 10-year wildfire strategy and guide science-based, outcome-driven investments in wildfire risk reduction and restoration through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), Inflation Reduction Act, and regular appropriations. Consistent with the president’s direction to Secretary Haaland, the BLM—which manages close to 58 million acres of forests and woodlands36—should follow suit through rulemaking, potentially integrated into broader conservation regulations discussed above.

See CAP's March 2022 report

Pending final rulemaking, the Forest Service and the BLM should also immediately adopt a policy to retain older trees through commercial timber harvest restrictions to ensure consistency with the administration’s climate and conservation goals and the IIJA and Inflation Reduction Act. Relatedly, the agencies should closely review pending timber projects with significant mature and old-growth impacts and reconsider any with clearly negative impacts.

These actions could have the following impacts:

  • 30×30 goal: A National Forest rulemaking represents one of the Biden administration’s biggest levers to make progress toward conserving 30 percent of U.S. lands by 2030. A climate rule would have positive impacts across the full 193-million-acre National Forest System but, in particular, for the more than 37 million acres of properly functioning watersheds that lie outside wilderness, inventoried roadless, and other existing conservation designations.37 A focus on unprotected old-growth and mature forests could affect a distinct but overlapping set of lands, which one recent analysis estimated at 35 million acres.38
  • Climate: Old-growth and mature forests are carbon-storing powerhouses. Securing and restoring these natural carbon reserves must be a core component of the nation’s climate strategy. The analyzed 35 million acres of unprotected old or mature forests referenced above was estimated to hold more than 4 billion tons of carbon. Past CAP analysis has also found that ecologically appropriate restoration in fire-prone forests could reduce wildfire-related emissions by 70 percent through 2030, in part by protecting big, fire-resistant trees and helping a new cohort of trees mature on the landscape.39
  • Communities: With 1 in 5 communities relying on drinking water directly connected to headwaters within the country’s national forests—and myriad other benefits of ecologically intact forests and recreation opportunities—the benefits of a potential rulemaking would be widely spread.40 Additionally, some Tribes have identified a rulemaking that protects mature and old-growth forests as a valuable step to uplifting their stewardship of these forests and continuing meaningful collaboration with the agency.41

Create and expand national wildlife refuges


National wildlife refuges are the only federal land designation focused primarily on wildlife conservation, and they represent a versatile tool for permanent conservation that can be deployed across a wide array of geographies, ecosystems, and scales, from large landscapes to smaller refuges in urban areas. The secretary of the interior has authority under multiple laws to expand the National Wildlife Refuge System by acquiring land or interests in land, such as conservation easements.42 In fact, approximately 500 of the 568 units of the refuge system were initially established by administrative action, not by acts of Congress.43

Secretary Haaland announced her first expansion of the National Wildlife Refuge System on July 13, 2022, with the establishment of the Lost Trail Conservation Area in Montana and the purchase of a 38,052-acre conservation easement. Ultimately, her action authorizes the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to purchase up to 100,000 acres of permanent conservation easements within the new unit’s boundaries.44

Specific action and impact

Secretary Haaland should fully utilize her legal authorities to create new wildlife refuges and expand existing refuges, including through purchases, donations, and land transfers to FWS from other federal agencies. In addition to expanding protections for large, ecologically connected landscapes for their wildlife habitat values, Haaland should pursue actions that will meaningfully increase access for nature-deprived communities, including by designating and expanding urban wildlife refuges. Where needed to evaluate potential expansion of existing refuges, the administration should also prioritize resources to complete updates to comprehensive conservation plans, which formally guide the future management of refuges.

In pursuing opportunities for refuge expansions and designations, Haaland should look to locally led proposals. One example is the proposed expansion of the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert. A locally based, transnational (U.S.-Mexico-Tohono O’odham) community organization is asking the Department of the Interior (DOI) to consider expanding the refuge to add lands to the east currently managed by the BLM.45 Located between Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Barry M. Goldwater Air Force Range, and Reserva de la Biosfera El Pinacate y Gran Desierto de Altar in Mexico, the Cabeza Prieta refuge currently conserves more than 860,000 acres of Sonoran Desert wildlife habitat. Expansion could help protect wildlife habitat and other natural and cultural resources around Ajo, Arizona; help address the threats of development and unmanaged recreation; and provide an opportunity to explore co-management of culturally significant sites with Tribal entities.

“Withdraw” sensitive and sacred lands from future drilling and mining


Congress gave the Secretary of the Interior powerful tools to protect lands, including the authority to “withdraw” lands from new oil, gas, and mineral leases and claims in order to maintain another public value or purpose.46 Under FLPMA, the secretary can designate federal lands as off-limits for future mining and drilling, beginning with an immediate pause—known as a “segregation”—lasting up to two years to allow for robust public input and evaluation, followed by a final withdrawal, which can last for up to 20 years and is subject to renewal.

Currently, 90 percent of Bureau of Land Management lands are open to leasing and subsequent development by the oil and gas industry.47 The Trump administration put record amounts of these federal lands up on the auction block, offering more than 25 million acres to the oil and gas industry,48 including large tracts of big game habitat and migration corridors49 and historically and culturally significant lands.50 The Biden administration has an opportunity to balance the scales by ensuring the most ecologically and culturally sensitive lands cannot be leased by future administrations.

It is critical that the Biden administration act to protect the country’s most sensitive and treasured lands—where mining and drilling are clearly not appropriate—before it is too late.

Meanwhile, with rising demand for minerals, new domestic mining incentives, and a 150-year-old law giving away mining rights on federal lands with minimal compensation or safeguards, U.S. public lands appear to be slated for a literal and figurative gold rush. Mining laws and regulations should be updated, but it is also critical that the Biden administration act to protect the country’s most sensitive and treasured lands—where mining and drilling are clearly not appropriate—before it is too late.

Specific action and impact

Secretary Haaland should act swiftly to complete recommended withdrawals that would advance the administration’s conservation goals and protect the most ecologically and culturally significant lands and waters from destructive drilling and mining. Additionally, she should immediately direct the BLM and partner agencies to recommend new areas for potential withdrawal.

Oil and gas-focused actions

The Biden administration has already taken the first steps toward withdrawing more than 350,000 acres surrounding Chaco Culture National Historic Park from oil and gas leasing.51 And just last month, Secretary Haaland initiated a withdrawal of approximately 225,000 acres in the Thompson Divide area of Colorado to protect it from drilling and mining, finally answering the local community’s decades-long fight to protect their drinking water and outdoor recreation economy.

In addition to completing these withdrawals, the BLM should identify and recommend for withdrawal other lands with outstanding ecological and cultural values that are at risk of potential oil and gas development. There are robust data on ecological intactness and connectivity, imperiled species richness, wildlife corridors for big game species, climate accessibility, and other values of federal lands, which could be used to identify those lands of the greatest value for wildlife and with high potential for development conflicts. An upcoming analysis from Conservation Science Partners and CAP will highlight some of these most significant wildlife conflict areas. Similarly, the BLM should draw on existing agency data,52 traditional knowledge, and consultation with sovereign Tribal nations to identify potential withdrawals that are necessary to protect cultural resources, sacred sites, and other areas of significant cultural and historic value.

These actions could have the following impacts:

  • 30×30 goal: While administrative withdrawals under FLPMA are not permanent, they could provide durable protection that is renewed administratively or permanently cemented by legislation or an Antiquities Act designation. recent analysis by Conservation Science Partners found that 90 million acres of unprotected BLM lands are among the top 20 percent of all lower 48 lands when valued for wildlife connectivity, suggesting tremendous potential for conserving wildlife corridors on BLM lands via withdrawals, rulemaking, or other measures.53 Finalizing the proposed withdrawals for Chaco and Thompson Divide alone would protect 575,000 acres of culturally and ecologically significant lands from new drilling and mining.
  • Climate: Conserving the most important and connected wildlife habitat, including corridors, is vital for wildlife to adapt to climate change. Additionally, protecting the most sensitive places from new oil and gas leasing is consistent with President Biden’s climate goals. As scientists call for a major reduction in the burning of fossil fuels to reach net zero by 2050, the United States must ramp down oil and gas leasing and production on public lands to keep this goal within sight. This reality makes it all the more obvious that places with other substantial values and public uses should be off the table for new development.
  • Communities: Administrative withdrawals can be an important tool to respond to Tribes and local communities and honor their values and vision for public lands. The proposed Greater Chaco region withdrawal would answer Pueblo and other Tribal communities’ generations-long call to protect the cultural heritage and rich history surrounding Chaco Canyon. And taking the Thompson Divide off the table for new leasing would be a major win for a local coalition of farmers, ranchers, business owners, sportsmen and women, and recreationists who have fought together for more than a decade to protect their community from oil and gas development.
Mining-focused actions

The pending actions discussed below are a good starting point, but other at-risk lands and waters likely warrant additional action by the administration, including some proposed in legislation and others identified during ongoing BLM management plan updates:

  • Boundary Waters (Minnesota): Proposed copper-sulfide mining threatens to pollute the watershed of America’s most-visited wilderness: the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. In 2018, the Trump administration halted a proposed mineral withdrawal for the Boundary Waters’ watershed and attempted to renew previously canceled leases for the proposed Twin Metals mine. The Biden administration proposed a new withdrawal in October 2021 and, separately, terminated the unlawfully issued Twin Metals leases. With the long-awaited environmental assessment completed in June 2022, the DOI and USDA should now move forward expeditiously to issue a final withdrawal to protect the Boundary Waters watershed.

The proposed withdrawal would offer 20-year protection for more than 225,000 acres in the Rainy River Watershed, conserving important lands and waters within Minnesota’s Superior National Forest and preventing mine pollution from directly affecting the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Multiple studies have projected that the economic benefits of protecting the watershed—including maintaining recreation, tourism, and other economic drivers—clearly outweigh the potential benefits of proposed mining.54

Read more

  • Sagebrush focal areas (multiple Western states): As part of a broader initiative aimed at conserving the greater sage-grouse, the BLM announced in August 2021 its intention to revive a proposed mineral withdrawal for approximately 10 million acres of sagebrush focal areas (SFAs).55 When first proposed for withdrawal in 2015, SFAs were considered the most essential habitat for the greater sage-grouse. Consideration of the mineral withdrawals was abruptly canceled by the Trump administration in 2017, but a court decision subsequently threw out that cancellation and required the BLM to consider whether the proposed withdrawals are necessary for sage-grouse conservation. Moving forward, the BLM should prioritize withdrawals for these areas and take additional warranted action to conserve this threatened ecosystem. (Also see recommendation above on the BLM’s ongoing sage-grouse plan review).

If finalized, the withdrawals would protect key habitat for sage-grouse and a variety of other species, including big game, from the threat of new and expanded mining. Additionally, sagebrush rangeland soils contain significant carbon stocks. Protection from extractive development, as well as the associated fire risk, can help ensure that slow-accumulating carbon remains sequestered.

Spotlight: California desert conservation opportunity

The Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) provided a utility-scale clean energy development and conservation framework for 22.5 million acres of California desert, including the identification of 4.2 million acres of national conservation lands, areas of critical environmental concern, wildlife allocations, and national scenic and historic trail management corridors where renewable energy development is not appropriate.56 However, actions by the Trump administration, including the cancellation of a proposed mineral withdrawal in 201857 and a skewed interpretation of California desert protections added by the Dingell Act of 2019,58 left millions of acres of fragile conservation lands without clear protection from mining and other destructive activities.

After initially halting an effort by the Trump administration to fully revise the DRECP,59 the BLM has an opportunity to ensure the conservation lands within the DRECP boundaries have durable protections through new mineral withdrawals and other administrative measures, including guidance correctly interpreting the Dingell Act. Such action would help conserve millions of acres of sensitive lands that provide vital habitat for the desert tortoise and many other species specific to the region,60 as well as areas of cultural and historic importance for many of the 44 federally recognized Tribes and nine non-federally recognized Tribes that have traditionally inhabited the DRECP area.61

Restore protections and pursue Indigenous-led conservation opportunities for BLM lands in Alaska


In January 2021, the Trump administration issued five public lands orders, which, if implemented, would have revoked mineral withdrawals prohibiting mining and oil and gas development for 28 million acres of formerly protected lands—also known as “D-1 lands,” after the section of the law designating them.62 These included lands within the Bay, Bering Sea-Western Interior, East Alaska, Kobuk-Seward Peninsula, and Ring of Fire planning areas. The Biden administration put these orders on hold in 2021 and, in August 2022, launched a public process to evaluate the impacts that lifting the D-1 protections would have on fish and wildlife habitat, subsistence resources, and food security for communities.63

Retaining existing mineral withdrawals and pursuing Indigenous-led conservation solutions could help sustain valuable fishing and hunting grounds, culturally important lands, and other traditional uses for nearly half of all federally recognized Tribes in Alaska.

These threatened areas include lands that are ecologically sensitive and culturally significant to many Alaska Native communities. The highly productive salmon spawning streams and large intact habitat that supports caribou, moose, and bear populations are critically important to communities statewide for subsistence fishing and hunting, commercial and recreational salmon fishing, and recreational use. Furthermore, they include important migration corridors, subsurface carbon-rich permafrost, and countless fragile ecosystems.64

Specific action and impact

The BLM should take final action to rescind the Trump-era orders, immediately restoring protections to the 28 million acres directly affected. It should also consider recommendations generated during this public process to pursue new equitable and durable conservation measures across the nearly 50 million acres of D-1 lands, such as exploring opportunities for Alaska Native co-management and other Indigenous-led conservation opportunities.

These actions could have the following impacts:

  • 30×30 goal: Immediately revoking the Trump administration’s last-minute orders would restore legal protections to approximately 28 million acres. Further action by the BLM, consistent with the recommendations of Alaska Native communities and other stakeholders, could provide additional, durable conservation protections for D-1 lands, including through co-management and other innovative measures.
  • Climate: Much of the affected land includes enormous carbon stocks, both sequestered as permafrost and in living old-growth and mature forests. Overall, Alaskan lands make up 18 percent of the United States in area but contain approximately 53 percent of the carbon stock.65
  • Communities: More than 100 Alaska Native communities rely on these lands for subsistence fishing and hunting.66 Retaining existing mineral withdrawals and pursuing Indigenous-led conservation solutions could help sustain valuable fishing and hunting grounds, culturally important lands, and other traditional uses for nearly half of all federally recognized Tribes in Alaska.

Harness new funding for conservation


Consistent with the approach of the America the Beautiful Challenge grants, President Biden should ensure IIJA and Inflation Reduction Act funding is leveraged to maximize progress toward his conservation goals, including across federal, Tribal, state, and private lands.

Specific action and impact

For relevant programs, the administration should establish clear funding criteria to 1) make measurable progress toward the 30×30 conservation goal, 2) share nature’s benefits more equitably and meet the president’s Justice40 commitment, 3) advance Tribal priorities and honor sovereignty 4) pursue carbon sequestration and other natural climate solutions, 5) ensure collaboration across federal, Tribal, state, and private lands to protect connected lands needed for wildlife, and 6) take advantage of opportunities to leverage private conservation investments. In deploying IIJA, Inflation Reduction Act, and other conservation investments, federal agencies must also address the known barriers that can impede projects and delay benefits from reaching target communities.

Where appropriate, the administration should incorporate Inflation Reduction Act funding to expand the impact of the America the Beautiful Challenge and call on philanthropic leaders to substantially boost this initiative in light of the massive demand.67 For the initial round of these grants, requests from applicants exceeded available funding by more than 11 to 1.68

Finally, because the president’s 30×30 goal cannot be met without strong support for private land conservation, the administration should develop legislative principles for the 2023 Farm Bill that include investment in programs that meet the growing demand for private lands conservation and leverage partnerships to maximize the president’s 30×30 goal, climate, and community outcomes.

Some examples of relevant Inflation Reduction Act and IIJA funding streams:

  • Coastal resilience funding (NOAA): $2.6 billion, available through 2026, to conserve or restore coastal habitats and increase climate resilience and livelihoods for local communities.
  • Regional Conservation Partnership Program (USDA): $6.75 billion for partner-led conservation and restoration projects on private lands that generate climate benefits.
  • Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (USDA): $1.4 billion to acquire easements on agricultural land, including wetlands and grasslands. There is significant unmet demand for land protection: Only 1 in 10 wetland easement projects were funded in 2019.
  • Forest Legacy Program (USDA): $700 million to acquire easements on forest lands identified by states as being especially vulnerable to conversion and nature loss.
  • U.S. Forest Service Landscape Scale Restoration grants (USDA): $450 million for grants and cost-share agreements through the State and Private Forestry program to support improved carbon sequestration on private forestland. Significant portions of this funding target small or underserved landowners.
  • Conservation and restoration funding (DOI): $500 million for conservation and restoration of lands administered by the NPS and BLM, as well as $125 million for the FWS to restore habitat on national wildlife refuge lands and state wildlife areas.
  • Freshwater restoration funding (multiple agencies): The IIJA and Inflation Reduction Act included billions of dollars for restoring rivers, estuaries, streams, and lakes, including for fish passage. This includes funding for Forest Service’s Legacy Roads and Trails program, which removes antiquated roads, bridges, and culverts; restores freshwater ecosystems; and provides funding for programs managed by the DOI, Department of Transportation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, NOAA, and Environmental Protection Agency.

Harnessing available funding for conservation could have the following impacts:

  • 30×30 goal: The administration estimates that Inflation Reduction Act investments will lead to new conservation easements on 475,000 acres of private lands that, when coupled with easements acquired with 2018 Farm Bill funding, accelerate the pace of private lands conservation significantly.69 The administration also estimates that Inflation Reduction Act funding will protect 1.8 million acres of National Forest lands from wildfire and help restore 550,000 acres.70
  • Climate: Easement funding can be used to target habitats that store and sequester significant amounts of carbon, including forests, grasslands, and wetlands. Protecting them from conversion avoids emissions that undercut nature’s capacity to serve as a climate solution. Forest restoration, including the use of prescribed fire, can also contribute to progress toward 2030 climate targets.71
  • Communities: There is significant unmet demand for USDA conservation programs, and the administration estimates that more than 280,000 landowners will receive funding for their projects due to the Inflation Reduction Act. This would fund climate-smart conservation on 125 million acres.72


President Biden has a number of executive powers at his disposal to meet his conservation promise to the nation. With strong actions, including those discussed above, he can still put the United States on a path to conserve 30 percent of its lands and water by 2030 while securing natural solutions to climate change, more equitably connecting people with the benefits of nature, and supporting and sustaining communities. But getting there will require a whole-of-government approach that takes advantage of all available tools, as well as committed leadership from the White House and key Cabinet officials. The clock is ticking, and the coming months will be critical to determining the nation’s conservation trajectory.


The authors would like to thank CAP’s Jarvis Holliday, Anuka Upadhye, Zainab Mirza, Miriam Goldstein, Bill Rapp, Allie Cohen, Keenan Alexander, Steve Bonitatibus, and Sam Hananel as well as our many external reviewers, particularly the local and national conservation leaders who are building impactful and equitable conservation solutions every day.

Mon, 21 Nov 2022 10:00:00 -0600 en text/html
Killexams : Affirmative action case could bring employment considerations into question

The use of affirmative action in UNC admissions processes has been under review since Students for Fair Admissions filed a lawsuit against the University in November 2014. While this case deals directly with the consideration of race in public university admissions processes, it is unclear how the outcome will affect affirmative action for employment.

SFFA v. University of North Carolina was brought to the U.S. Supreme Court for oral arguments on Oct. 31. The private organization alleged that UNC violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by considering race in admissions.

Jeffrey M. Hirsch, a law professor at UNC, specializes in labor and employment law. He said the Supreme Court has not dealt with an employment-related affirmative action case in decades.

He also noted the distinction between affirmative action in the public and private sectors of employment, a distinction that also matters in cases of higher education.

“I think the public sector employers are already more limited in the type of affirmative action that they can engage in, and in particular, whether they can engage in affirmative action at all, as opposed to the education context, or at least higher ed,” Hirsch said.

Traditionally, in the employment context, diversity has not been a justification for affirmative action, according to Hirsch. Instead, it has been used as a remedial option.

“In other words, because some of the original affirmative action cases, or cases where an employer sometimes along with the union even, have been engaging in sort of repeated pernicious discrimination, even sometimes in contrary to a court order,” he said.

According to Hirsch, if the Court's ruling is relatively narrow, marking the end of race-conscious admissions in higher education, employment policy would be largely unaffected. However, if the court ruled more broadly, favoring a "colorblind" policy, the days of remedial affirmative action in employment would be numbered.

“Those are kind of two sides, two ends of the spectrum for how the decision can play out and we could have something somewhere in the middle, where it's a little more confusing, about whether they would consider affirmative action as a remedy in any case, or just some cases,” Hirsch said.

Christina Huang and Joy Jiang, two of the co-directors for UNC for Affirmative Action, spoke outside the Supreme Court on Oct. 31. The coalition was formed in late September 2022 to educate students and defend affirmative action. 

Jiang said affirmative action creates a field of equity so that all students can be represented and seen.

“I'm a first-gen student, and I don't want it to end here," they said. "I want my kids to go to college. I want my sisters to go to college. I want my cousins and everyone who was able to connect to me in any sort of way.”

In regards to the University's case, Huang said she thinks it is closely tied to employment. 

“I think this case is so big because it sets a precedent, and I mean, even looking at education, like the pipeline from education to career, if less people are getting educated, less people of color are being educated. Then they're less likely to get those occupations, and there's gonna be less diversity in the workforce,” she said.

In a statement to The Daily Tar Heel, UNC Media Relations said, "the case currently before the Supreme Court relates to undergraduate admissions policy, not hiring. We do not anticipate the decision will have an impact on recruitment or retention of faculty and/or staff."

In closing, Jiang said they, Huang and the rest of the coalition love being UNC students.

“At any opportunity we are given, we'd want that for everybody else, to be given the opportunity to be a UNC Tar Heel,” Jiang said. “And it's really important to us. Especially with the liveliness of UNC, it comes from the student body and the population of students here at Carolina.”

The court’s ruling on the University’s affirmative action policy will likely be released in early 2023.


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Tue, 29 Nov 2022 15:50:00 -0600 text/html
Killexams : Minimizing administrative harm: a key step to improving health care

Late on a Friday, I sit reviewing some of my patients’ old medical records instead of heading home to be with my family. I’ll likely be doing it next Friday, and the one after that.

This wasn’t my idea. The health system I work for discovered that some patients for whom CT scans were ordered never got them over the ensuing two to three years. So administrators decreed that clinicians like me must review the records of each patient who needed a CT scan, find out if the test was missed, determine if the missed test needs to be rescheduled, and report as to whether we reordered the scan or deemed it unnecessary.

For each patient, the procedure involves a mind-numbing and demoralizing number of mouse clicks and keystrokes. This project was aimed at reducing medical injury, but is instead wreaking administrative harm.


That these hours could be spent in countless other ways — especially caring for patients and our families rather than tending to our computers — raises an obvious question: Is the system we created to fix the system even working?

Two things before I go any further: First, neither I nor my colleagues question the importance of reconciling uncompleted tests for our patients. Second, we are committed to pitching in. We have dedicated our careers and out-of-office time to making health care better and safer for our patients. We go the extra mile every day to be sure that diagnoses are made; tests conducted, read and responded to; and treatments performed.


We do this despite the clunkiness of an electronic health record system that was given an “F” for usability, that systematically robs us and our families of hours of off-the-clock time, and that has been minimally improved despite the years of feckless platitudes in national taskforce reports regarding EHR-mediated burnout.

The problem of patients’ unperformed scans needed to be resolved. But by their doctors? Alone? On their own time?

Like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, my colleagues and I can distinguish between natural disasters and human-made calamities. The real-life challenges of our patients, which led to the missed CT scan appointments, are natural, inherent in any system involving the messiness of real life. But our lonely after-hours slog to clean up this problem was a human-made trauma. It wasn’t an emergency, and it wasn’t solely a clinical responsibility. The missed scans had been accumulating over several years. The EHR system and its caretakers had neither notified clinicians when their patients had missed their appointments nor had they configured a follow-up system for rescheduling each missed scan in real time. Yet the mandatory cleanup of this managerial mess abruptly became an urgent priority on doctors’ task lists.

To learn more about how this painful reconciliation process had been formulated, I called my department’s quality director. He referred me to the hospital’s project manager, who told me that requests for a more collaborative, user-friendly, and less hasty process had been dismissed by headquarters.

So this administratively driven mandate, this digital drudgery, was dumped on clinicians who had no participation in the decisions about whether, when, or how to accomplish this task and without the benefit of any electronic streamlining. Hence the workaround of a 1990’s era spreadsheet, the nostalgic joy of MS-DOS era copy and paste, the bliss of multiple dives into the electronic health record for each patient, and the attestations I had to type to resolve each of these incomplete orders.

That was a pure distillation of administrative harm.

Administrative harm, like clinical harm, has long been recognized in medicine, but little discussed until recently. It can result from an intervention — like the one I had been tasked with — or from a failure in one of five domains of administrative responsibility. These realms encompass the tangible, essential assets needed to support the delivery of health care; in the words of the late Paul Farmer, staff, space, stuff, and systems. The administrative harm to my Friday nights stemmed from a systems defect.

In the spirit of the National Academy of Medicine’s “To Err is Human” report, I filed an incident report — just as I would if I made or observed a medical error — even though the harm to me didn’t fit in any clinical category. My health system properly exhorts its clinicians to apologize to patients who have experienced medically-derived harm, also known as iatrogenic harm, and offers classes and mentoring on how to deliver such apologies.

It seemed only fitting to me that if the clinical-administrative review were to judge that this quality improvement project resulted in injurious and preventable adminogenic harm, an administrative apology should follow. I’ve been waiting three months and have heard nary a hint of regret or apology from the system’s quality and safety infrastructure.

This infliction of administrative harm was largely preventable. Engaging a broader spectrum of decisionmakers — including administrators, IT personnel, and fulltime clinicians — would have been more respectful of worker’s professionalism and time, and more palatable and more effective than a unilateral email edict solicitously headlined, “Action Required.” These groups could have been tasked to collaboratively study the backlog of unperformed CT scans and iterate ways of resolving those cases, as well as streamlining IT processes to support that work.

The joint decision from such a group ultimately may have entailed me and my peers sifting through our cases, well aware of our clinical intent and our patients’ circumstances. But we would have done so using an IT system respectful of and optimized for our work, rather than the clunky, retro, and risky cut-and-paste slogs of my Friday nights. That process would have harnessed the EHR, rather than harnessing clinicians to the EHR.

From a technical standpoint, such a process is feasible. Our IT system daily flaunts its capabilities, pelting clinicians with messages that pop up in the EHR reminding us to tend to patient-specific administrative priorities, such as “The dietitian has classified the patient with moderate protein calorie malnutrition. For this to be recognized, it requires your documentation. Please press F2 and select a choice from the drop-down menu.” IT resources currently directed at ensuring healthy reimbursement from insurers and other payers should equally support the health of patients and clinicians.

There is sufficient money within the system for this purpose. To cite just one example, data from the Lown Institute’s Hospitals Index on pay equity shows that my hospital spends more on the pay for its CEO team relative to the pay of our rank and file workers than 94% of all U.S. health systems. Clinician-administrator teams could reallocate a small fraction of that excessive administrative compensation to adequate IT support, rebalancing priorities to reduce these systemic administrative injuries to frontline personnel.

Prevention, a centerpiece of the best medical care, should likewise characterize the approach to administrative harm in health care. Brief, periodic assessments can furnish early warning signs of the risk of administrative injury. One example of a succinct, pertinent survey is the three-question Stanford Personal-Organizational Values Assessment Scale: (1) My input is valued in important administrative decisions? (2) Our organization’s goals and values fit well with my goals and values? and (3) Administration values my clinical work? Each question is answered on a scale from 0 (not at all true) to 4 (completely true) and aggregated as a score from 0 to 12. The lower the score, the worse the divergence in values. Such a clinical-administrative vital sign can be used internally as well as in benchmarking with peer institutions that use the scale.

Early detection can mitigate the proliferation of administrative harm. Thousands of clinical quality improvement projects are implemented in health systems every year in the U.S., but too many, like my Friday night work, are unmonitored by prospective inquiry or post-implementation survey. A better approach comes from a UCLA primary care performance improvement project, which included a rare survey of the clinicians whose performance was being measured and nudged. Before and after questionnaires revealed that the publication of peer comparison data not only failed to achieve the primary aim of improved health maintenance metrics but also eroded job satisfaction and increased burnout among the clinicians.

The researchers concluded that well-intended but maladroit quality improvement efforts such as theirs (and the one I was “asked” to conduct) can contribute to a system that “harms physician well-being.” Based on their investigation, UCLA has refined its improvement initiatives by adding more overt leadership support and continuous frontline feedback to reduce administrative injury.

As I finish my improvement exercise for the day, my pinging inbox reminds me that I am perilously close to the deadline for the next quality improvement mandate. The cheerily exhortatory message informs me that Healthstream online training modules await in which I will learn to optimize my coding to ensure the financial health of our hospital system. Tonight, as I close down my computer, my scores on the Stanford Personal-Organizational Values Alignment Score are these: 0 for input valued, 2 for the fit of goals and values, and 2 for clinical work value, a woefully misaligned 4 out of 12.

Someday, I hope that our health systems will be as dedicated to reducing administrative harm to their workforces as they are to preventing clinical injuries to their patients. Until then, I’ll brace myself for more misaligned Friday nights harnessed to my EHR toiling at unilateral quality improvement, instead of squandering the time in those “countless other ways.”

Walter J. O’Donnell is a pulmonary and critical care physician at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston. The views expressed here are those of the author.

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Sun, 27 Nov 2022 10:00:00 -0600 en-US text/html
Killexams : Experimental cancer vaccine shows promise in animal studies

An experimental therapeutic cancer vaccine induced two distinct and desirable immune system responses that led to significant tumor regression in mice, report investigators from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.

The researchers found that intravenous (IV) administration of the vaccine boosted the number of cytotoxic T cells capable of infiltrating and attacking tumor cells and engaged the innate immune system by inducing type I interferon. The innate immune response modified the tumor microenvironment, counteracting suppressive forces that otherwise would tamp down T-cell action. Modification of the tumor microenvironment was not seen in mice that received the vaccine via needle injection into the skin (subcutaneous administration).

Dubbed "vax-innate" by the scientific team, the approach achieves an important goal in the quest for more effective immunotherapeutic vaccines for cancer. The study demonstrates that IV vaccine delivery enables and enhances T-cell immunity by overcoming tumor-induced immunosuppressive activity. The researchers say the candidate vaccine might also be given intravenously to people who have already received tumor-specific T cells as a therapy. It also could Excellerate tumor control by increasing the number of T cells and altering the tumor microenvironment to make them function better, the researchers note.

The experimental vaccine, SNAPvax, was designed by Robert Seder, M.D., and colleagues at the NIAID Vaccine Research Center (VRC) together with collaborators from Vaccitech North America, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company in Baltimore, Maryland. Vaccitech announced plans to advance the SNAPvax platform for use in treating human papilloma virus-associated cancer in 2023.

Story Source:

Materials provided by NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Thu, 10 Nov 2022 12:14:00 -0600 en text/html
Killexams : Biden administration faces multifront battle on student loans

The Biden administration is pushing forward on multiple fronts in its battle to see through a $500 billion student debt transfer .

Two separate courts have blocked the program, which President Joe Biden attempted to implement without congressional approval on Aug. 24, and the White House is now appealing to the Supreme Court for help while extending the student loans repayment pause for at least another six months.


"As Americans continue to recover from the pandemic, my administration has been working to provide student debt relief to millions of working- and middle-class families across the country," Biden said in a video about the latest pause extension. "But Republican special interests and elected officials sued to deny this relief even from their own constituents. But I'm completely confident my plan is legal."

The federal student loan repayment pause dates to March 2020, when then-President Donald Trump implemented it along with a wave of other COVID-19-related policies. The latest extension is Biden's sixth since taking office and could see the pause last until Aug. 30, three and a half years after its initial implementation.

Biden promised the last pause extension would be the final one. That news came in conjunction with a loan "forgiveness" announcement of up to $20,000 for some borrowers. However, with the forgiveness program looking vulnerable to being struck down in court, the Biden administration is pushing the pause back once again.

On the political side, administration officials have heavily criticized Republicans for the legal setbacks. College-educated voters have emerged as a reliably Democratic bloc in recent elections.

“We’re extending the payment pause because it would be deeply unfair to ask borrowers to pay a debt that they wouldn’t have to pay, were it not for the baseless lawsuits brought by Republican officials and special interests," Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said .

However, those lawsuits have been successful in icing the program, and the White House faces long odds in a Supreme Court that has emphasized separation of powers of late.

"Whenever you hear Democrats or even President Biden try to blame conservatives for the failure of their illegal student loan bailout just remember why; they're mad because the Constitution applies to them in the same way it does everyone else," said Elaine Parker, president of the conservative Job Creators Network Foundation. "They're mad because Biden cannot rule the country like a king."

Proponents of student loan forgiveness are still holding out hope that the program will go through as designed.

"The administration has done a good job of laying out its reasoning for using the HEROES Act to implement the president's $10,000/$20,000 debt relief plan and its authority for doing so as well," said Persis Yu, deputy executive director of the Student Borrower Protection Center. "The law is on the administration's side."

Criticisms of Biden's forgiveness program tend to focus on its cost, which has been estimated at between $500 billion and $1 trillion by various scorekeepers, and the fact that it only benefits those who attended college at the expense of blue-collar workers. But the pause itself comes with a hefty price tag.

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates the latest pause extension could cost $40 billion, bringing the grand total for the pause to $195 billion, mostly due to missed payments. The pause costs more than $5 billion per month and also fuels inflation, CRFB argues.

Neal McCluskey, director of Cato's Center for Educational Freedom, said earlier this month that Biden's student debt transfer faced 50-50 odds of being overturned in court. He now says those odds have shifted to perhaps 80-20 in favor of the program being struck down.

“Once the courts determined people had standing to sue, the constitutional and legal case was pretty clear,” he said. “The Biden administration does not have the authority to cancel $400 billion in student debt.”


If courts strike down the student debt transfer, it's possible lawsuits could then emerge attacking the legality of the pause as well. Both rest on the authority the White House says it has under the HEROES Act of 2003, which was designed with military service members in mind.

Biden is also battling with Congress over his continued extension of the national COVID-19 emergency, which grants him expanded powers. So long as the emergency powers remain in effect, the White House may continue working to keep the repayment pause in effect.

"There's been a general belief that the HEROES Act does allow a president to freeze repayment so long as there's still a national emergency," said McCluskey. "As long as the federal government keeps saying we're in a period of national emergency, he'd technically have the ability to continue these waivers."

Mon, 28 Nov 2022 23:40:00 -0600 en text/html
Killexams : Biden administration to extend pause on student loan repayments

The Biden administration is extending the pause on student loan payments until no later than June 30, 2023, as the administration's plan to forgive up to to $20,000 in loans is held up in court. President Biden announced the extension Tuesday in a video posted to the White House Twitter account. 

Student loan repayments were supposed to resume Jan. 1, 2023, for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began. But a federal appeals court has blocked the president's student loan forgiveness program, and the administration has asked the Supreme Court to reinstate their stalled plans. For now, the fate of the program remains unclear, with millions of borrowers in limbo.

The White House announced in August that Mr. Biden would be taking executive action to forgive $10,000 in loans for Americans making under $125,000 a year or $250,000 for married couples. Pell grant receipents are eligible for additional $10,000 to be forgiven. 

"I'm confident that our student debt relief plan is legal," Mr. Biden tweeted. "But it's on hold because Republican officials want to block it. That's why @SecCardona is extending the payment pause to no later than June 30, 2023, giving the Supreme Court time to hear the case in its current term."

Payments would restart 60 days after the Supreme Court decision or on June 30, whichever comes first. The Supreme Court has not yet said whether they will take the case. 

Since the Biden administration announced the plan, it has faced a number of legal challenges, and has been blocked by two federal courts. The White House has said that nearly 26 million Americans have applied for the program, and 16 million applications have already been approved. 

— Kristin Brown contributed to this report 

Tue, 22 Nov 2022 06:56:00 -0600 en-US text/html
Killexams : Biden administration extends student loan payment pause to no later than June 2023

The Biden administration on Tuesday extended the pandemic-era federal student loan payment pause and interest accrual until no later than June 2023 while the administration faces legal challenges to its debt forgiveness plan.

“I’m confident that our student debt relief plan is legal. But it’s on hold because Republican officials want to block it,” President Biden said in a statement. “That’s why @SecCardona is extending the payment pause to no later than June 30, 2023, giving the Supreme Court time to hear the case in its current term.”

The pause was set to expire on Dec. 31 after Biden extended it in August around the same time he announced the student loan forgiveness program. At the time, the White House called that extension “one final time.”

The latest extension into next year will deliver the Supreme Court time to decide whether it will rule on whether the program can continue.

The payment pause will end “no later than June 30, 2023,” Biden said, because payments will resume 60 days after the Education Department is permitted to implement the program or the litigation is resolved, which should come before the end of June, when the Supreme Court term typically concludes. 

Loan payments were first put on hold in March 2020 under former President Trump at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to deliver individuals relief from paying their student loan bills. The freeze has since been extended six times.

Biden’s long-awaited forgiveness program has stopped accepting applications after it was blocked by several court challenges.

The Biden administration on Friday urged the Supreme Court to clear one of the legal obstacles blocking its student debt relief program, as part of the administration’s broader legal effort to have the policy reinstated.

The administration is currently fending off two separate rulings issued over the past two weeks that have effectively halted Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan, which would deliver federal borrowers making less than $125,000 a year up to $10,000 in debt relief.  

That move came after a unanimous three-judge panel on the 8th Circuit halted Biden’s massive debt relief plan, which had already been blocked nationwide by a separate court ruling.

In an earlier legal development, a Trump-appointed federal judge in Texas invalidated the program, saying the presidential action unlawfully encroached on Congress’s power. 

The administration has vowed to fight the challenges. 

“We’re not going to back down though on our fight to deliver families breathing room,” Biden said in his announcement. “That’s why the Department of Justice is asking the Supreme Court of the United States to rule on the case. But it isn’t fair to ask tens of millions of borrowers who are eligible to relief to resume their student debt payments while the courts consider the lawsuits.”

More than 23 million people applied for student loan relief before the applications closed.

Student loan advocates called the extension announced on Tuesday a necessary step, but pushed the administration to fight back against the legal challenges.

“The least the Biden administration could do is not collect on a debt they promised they would cancel,” Braxton Brewington, spokesperson for the Debt Collective, said in a statement on Tuesday. “This pause extension is necessary, but also the bare minimum. What 45 million borrowers truly need is a Biden administration that won’t allow fringe lawsuits and right-wing courts to undermine economic relief that’s already been approved.”

Natalia Abrams, president of the Student Debt Crisis Center, applauded Biden for the move. 

“Too many borrowers, parents, and students have yet to recover from the financial harm caused by the pandemic and the possibility of a winter surge in COVID-19 cases is proof that this crisis is not over. Student debt cancellation is essential to helping borrowers recover from the pandemic, but it remains stuck in the courts,” she said in a statement.

Updated at 4:05 p.m.

Tue, 22 Nov 2022 23:46:00 -0600 en-US text/html
Killexams : Greens slam Biden administration for impeding climate action at COP27

The EcoAction Committee of the Green Party of the U.S. criticized the Biden administration as the United States once again impeded climate action at the recently concluded COP27 in Egypt.

"The head of the United Nations and leading scientists have repeatedly warned that the time to avoid climate collapse is running out and that the commitments made by governments worldwide are grossly inadequate. While the GOP has been climate deniers, the Democrats have long promoted climate delay, blocking critical action to halt fossil fuel burning as quickly as possible. The U.S. has been the biggest contributor to climate change and under Biden and Kerry they remain one of the biggest obstacles to saving life on the planet," said Mark Dunlea, co-chair of EcoAction.

The final text "clearly protects oil and gas petro-states and the fossil fuel industries," said Laurence Tubiana, one of the architects of the 2015 Paris climate agreement and now head of the European Climate Foundation. Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland, blamed the G20 countries for the lack of progress on cutting emissions, saying "The world remains on the brink of climate catastrophe." The secretary general of the UN warned: "Our planet is still in the emergency room. We need to drastically reduce emissions now – and this is an issue this Cop did not address."

The U.S. has repeatedly opposed efforts to impose mandatory emission cuts while resisting efforts to have the industrial nations provide funding for the "loss and damages'" their fossil fuel emissions have imposed on the developing world in the Global South. The efforts by the U.S. to promote carbon credit schemes and humanitarian aid as a substitute for loss and damages was roundly rejected as inadequate.

The U.S. remained largely silent as the developing country after decades of efforts were able to get an agreement in principle on "loss and damages" with the real details to be worked out in the future. The U.S'. main involvement was to join with the European Union to push for China (the world's present largest emitter of GHG) and India to make contributions to the funds even though they are still classified as developing nations.

The push by India and 80 other countries to phase out fossil fuels was rejected, with instead an agreement that only mentions halting "unabated coal," a loophole to allow fossil fuels to be continued to be burnt while tens of billions of public funds are wasted on the unproven technology of carbon capture. Democrats in the U.S. have diverted billions of tax dollars to such schemes.

"The U.S. under Biden continue to the master of greenwashing, offering up sound bites that recognize the severity of the problem while in reality protecting the fossil fuel industry. We need to end the use of fossil fuels within the next decade while making industry pay (e.g., a carbon fee and dividend) for all the pollution and global warming they have created. Climate change is already here, with extreme weather accelerating. The world's health community estimates that air pollution alone already kills an estimated 8 million people annually," said Howie Hawkins, the 2020 Green Party nominee for president.

The Green Party first began calling for a Green New Deal in the U.S. in 2010, combining a ten-year timeline to get to zero emissions with a comprehensive Economic Bill of Rights built on a guaranteed living wage job and income, single payer universal health care, affordable housing, and free college education including housing. Greens support investing at least 40% of climate funds in low-income and communities of color that are the principal victims of climate change. The Greens advocate a Just Transition to ensure a decent standard of living for all, including workers and communities presently dependent on fossil fuels.

Mon, 21 Nov 2022 03:10:00 -0600 text/html
Killexams : Unemployment advocates seek action from incoming administration unemployment © Provided by KYW Radio Philadelphia unemployment

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Jermaine Heath lost his job in September and immediately applied for unemployment. The journey following that has been long and frustrating, as Heath still has not received any payments.

“I have four boys that need to be taken care of,” Heath said. “It becomes a crunch on your finances.”

“It’s hard when you have your landlord calling you for your rent.”

Because of this, Heath joined advocates outside the governor’s Philadelphia office Tuesday to release a Keystone Research Center (KCR) report showing the extent of problems with the unemployment system.

They are asking for action from the incoming administration.

Issues spiked during the pandemic when initial claims for unemployment rose 20 times the average rate, according to the KCR report.

According to Sharon Dietrich of Community Legal Services, in the midst of the pandemic, the state launched a new, online application that led to backlogs and broke down communication leaving applicants with no way to get information.

Many cannot even get applications filed, Dietrich added.

The report says Pennsylvania ranks toward the bottom for processing claims with nearly half of workers waiting 10 weeks for payments.

Department of Labor and Industry officials agree improvements are needed and say a bill in the Pa. state House would help reduce barriers and wait times.

Susan Dickinson, deputy secretary for unemployment, says the department has received federal funding to Excellerate access and equity, is increasing staffing levels and making improvements to the online system to reduce the waiting period for payments to the online system.

“We were able to hire 80 people in August and September,” Dickinson said. “Having new staff on board is very helpful. They answer a lot of phones and they also answer emails.”

“As we’re finding ways to make the process better for everyone, we’re putting in those changes and getting changes to the system little by little.”

Despite their efforts, advocates say it’s still too slow to pay and not responsive enough.

Fri, 02 Dec 2022 03:47:00 -0600 en-US text/html
Killexams : Biden administration dealt another setback in court in effort to revive student loan debt relief policy

CNN  — 

A second federal appeals court has rejected a Biden administration bid to put on hold a ruling blocking the President’s student debt relief policy.

The 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday night that it would not pause a ruling from a Texas judge striking down the policy while an appeal of the ruling played out.

The move sets the stage for the US Justice Department to take the case to the US Supreme Court, which is already considering a separate request from the Biden administration that it reverse an order from the 8th US Circuit Court of Appeals blocking the loan forgiveness program.

The 5th Circuit denial was handed down by a panel made up of a George W. Bush appointee, a Barack Obama appointee and a Donald Trump appointee.

They did not explain their reasoning for rejecting the administration’s request, but the panel ordered the full appeal to be considered on an expedited basis.

College alum tells CNN: The only way to open the door was to take on student loan debt

Nearly two weeks ago, the Biden administration began notifying people who are approved for federal student loan relief, even as the future of that relief remains in limbo since lower courts blocked the program nationwide. The emails from the US Department of Education to borrowers acknowledged recent legal challenges have kept the administration from discharging the debt.

Biden’s program would offer up to $20,000 of debt relief to millions of qualified borrowers, but it has been met with legal challenges.

The November 10 Texas ruling upheld by the appeals court Wednesday declared Biden’s program illegal. That prompted the Education Department to halt accepting loan relief applications.

About 26 million people had applied for student loan relief prior to the recent court decisions with 16 million of those applications being approved, according to the Biden administration.

Federal student loan payments that had been paused during the Covid-19 pandemic were set to resume in January. But the Biden administration again extended the pause period on November 22 as legal battles continue.

The payment pause will last until 60 days after the litigation is resolved. If the program has not been implemented and the litigation has not been resolved by June 30, payments will resume 60 days after that, according to the Department of Education.

“I’m completely confident my plan is legal,” said President Joe Biden in a video posted on Twitter last week, referencing his student loan forgiveness program.

“But it isn’t fair to ask tens of millions of borrowers eligible for relief to resume their student debt payments while the courts consider the lawsuit,” he added.

Economist offers "counter-intuitive" advice on student loans

The Biden administration has argued that Congress granted the secretary of education the power to broadly discharge student loan debt in a 2003 law known as the HEROES Act, which was passed in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

The government’s lawyers argue that the law allows the secretary to discharge debt in an event of a national emergency, including the Covid-19 pandemic.

But the Texas federal judge found that the law does not provide the executive branch clear congressional authorization to create the student loan forgiveness program.

“The program is thus an unconstitutional exercise of Congress’s legislative power and must be vacated,” wrote Judge Mark Pittman, who was nominated by then-President Trump.

“In this country, we are not ruled by an all-powerful executive with a pen and a phone,” he continued.

The Texas lawsuit was filed by a conservative group, the Job Creators Network Foundation, in October on behalf of two borrowers who did not qualify for debt relief.

One plaintiff did not qualify for the student loan forgiveness program because her loans are not held by the federal government and the other plaintiff is only eligible for $10,000 in debt relief because he did not receive a Pell grant.

They argued that they could not voice their disagreement with the program’s rules because the administration did not put it through a formal notice-and-comment rule making process under the Administrative Procedure Act.

“This ruling protects the rule of law which requires all Americans to have their voices heard by their federal government,” said Elaine Parker, president of Job Creators Network Foundation, in a statement following the ruling on November 10.

The advocacy group was founded by Bernie Marcus, a major Trump donor and former Home Depot CEO.

If Biden’s program is allowed to move forward, individual borrowers who earned less than $125,000 in either 2020 or 2021 and married couples or heads of households who made less than $250,000 annually in those years could see up to $10,000 of their federal student loan debt forgiven.

If a qualifying borrower also received a federal Pell grant while enrolled in college, the individual is eligible for up to $20,000 of debt forgiveness.

There are a variety of federal student loans and not all are eligible for relief. Federal Direct Loans, including subsidized loans, unsubsidized loans, parent PLUS loans and graduate PLUS loans, are eligible.

But federal student loans that are guaranteed by the government but held by private lenders are not eligible unless the borrower applied to consolidate those loans into a Direct Loan before September 29.

This story has been updated with additional background information.

Wed, 30 Nov 2022 22:06:00 -0600 en text/html
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