save a main road from rising seas.

  • Shelters in Mexico are struggling to house migrants expelled from the U.S., as more people seek to cross. And the U.S. is scrambling to manage the increase of children crossing the border alone. Neither crisis is abating.

  • Law enforcement agencies dismissed violence linked to the Proud Boys as street brawling without a strategy — until the attack on the Capitol.

  • Voting-rights advocates are waging the most consequential political struggle over access to the ballot in decades. Can it succeed?

  • Women in Britain are demanding safety from male violence after the disappearance and death of Sarah Everard, 33, in London. A social movement has sprung up, which “feels different this time,” The Times’s Amanda Taub writes.

    • Senator Mitt Romney of Utah is urging American spectators, companies and diplomats to boycott the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, to punish China for its human rights abuses. He favors that approach over an athlete boycott.

    • Elite private schools masquerade as hubs of social change but actually deepen inequality, and they have become indefensible, Caitlin Flanagan writes in The Atlantic.

    • “Most local papers are gasping for life, and if they die it will be their readers who lose the most,” the Florida novelist Carl Hiaasen writes in his last column for The Miami Herald.

    Morning Reads

    A Morning read: How the sale of a Fifth Avenue townhouse became an international debacle.

    Lives Lived: Marvelous Marvin Hagler was one of boxing’s great middleweight champions. His awesome punching power helped him win 62 bouts — 52 by knockouts. He died at 66.

    Here are more tips from Victor.)

  • Ed Feng at FiveThirtyEight has found that preseason polls, which gauge a team’s raw potential, predict a team’s success in the tournament better than some end-of-season rankings.

  • Josh Katz and Kevin Quealy of The Times suggest looking for games on which the public and the experts disagree. “If you think the nerds know something the public doesn’t, those kinds of outcomes represent good opportunities,” Kevin told us.

  • Here’s a link to a printable version of the bracket. The N.C.A.A. will release the bracket for the women’s tournament tonight (we’ll have a link in tomorrow’s newsletter).

    For more: Alan looks at the tournament changes that the N.C.A.A. has made to cope with the pandemic.

    What did they learn?

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    Biden’s make or break moment: president aims to build on success of relief bill

    In the White House Rose Garden, where for four years Donald Trump raucously celebrated political wins with his allies, it was now the turn of Democrats to take a victory lap – masked and physically distanced, of course.

    Kamala Harris, the vice-president, heaped praise on Joe Biden for signing a $1.9tn coronavirus relief bill, the biggest expansion of the American welfare state in decades. “Your empathy has become a trademark of your presidency and can be found on each and every page of the American Rescue Plan,” Harris said.

    Democrats this week passed the plan into law; now they have to sell it. Friday’s event with members of Congress fired the starting gun for Biden, Harris and their spouses to mount an aggressive marketing campaign, travelling the country to tell Americans directly how the hard won legislation will improve their lives.

    Salesmanship was always seen as Trump’s forte but this is a golden opportunity for Biden, a once unlikely saviour. The oldest president ever elected – at age 78 – is riding high in opinion polls. His rescue plan is endorsed by three in four citizens. His opposition is in disarray with Republicans struggling to find a coherent counter- narrative, squabbling over Trump and obsessing over culture wars.

    But Biden’s long career will have taught him the laws of political gravity: presidents and prime ministers who start on the up inevitably take a fall. He has also spoken of the need to avoid the fate of Barack Obama who, having intervened to stave off financial disaster in 2009, was repaid with a “shellacking” for Democrats in the midterm elections.

    Politics is about momentum and, with vaccines coming fast, the economy set to roar back, and spring in the air, Biden has it for now. Ed Rogers, a political consultant and veteran of the Ronald Reagan and George HW Bush administrations, said: “In politics, good gets better, bad gets worse. Biden is on something of a roll right now and so it’s good for him to be a little more aggressive and be seen out and about.

    “They do want to take credit and he should. The tides will turn; there’ll be periods when they look like they can’t do anything right.”

    In what the White House calls a Help is Here tour, first lady Jill Biden is set to travel to Burlington, New Jersey, on Monday, while the president will visit Delaware county, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday. Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, will go to Las Vegas on Monday and Denver on Tuesday. Emhoff will remain out west and make a stop in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Wednesday.

    At the end of the week, Biden and Harris will make their first joint trip in office to Atlanta where Democrats’ victories in two Senate runoff elections in January were pivotal to getting the relief package passed against unyielding Republican opposition.

    The White House has acknowledged that the public relations offensive is an attempt to avoid a repeat of 2009, when the Obama administration did not do enough to explain and promote its own economic recovery plan. Biden, who was vice-president at the time, told colleagues last week that Obama was modest and did not want to take a victory lap. “We paid a price for it, ironically, for that humility,” he said.

    That price included a backlash in the form of the Tea Party movement and rise of rightwing populism. But there were important differences in substance as well as style. Obama’s $787bn bill, which followed the bailout of the banks, delivered a recovery that felt abstract and glacial. This time the impact is more immediate and tangible: some Americans will receive a $1,400 stimulus payment this weekend, with mass vaccinations and school reopenings on the way.

    Bill Galston, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution thinktank in Washington and former policy adviser to Bill Clinton, said: “I underestimated the extent to which the experience of 2009 has seared itself into the memory of senior Democrats: the interpretation of going too small and paying the price in a painfully slow recovery, spending too long at the beginning negotiating with members of the other party who were never going to agree and never going to compromise, not telling the American people what they had accomplished for them.

    “The list of lessons learned is a very long one and, to an extent that I find surprising, the administration is refighting and winning the past war.”

    Despite preventing financial meltdown, Democrats lost 63 seats in the House of Representatives in the 2010 midterm elections, the biggest shift since 1948. That fit a pattern in which the incumbent president’s party tends to fare badly in the first midterms, and so Republicans are upbeat about their chances of regaining both the House and Senate next year.

    Dan Pfeiffer, a former senior adviser to Obama, argues that the Covid relief bill is the start of the battle for the 2022 midterms and warns that Democrats cannot take the credit for granted since Americans “currently have the long-term memory of a sea cucumber”.

    He wrote in the Message Box newsletter last week that despite Obama’s speeches and visits to factories, “it was nearly impossible to break through the avalanche of bad news”. But “this plan’s benefits are more specific, more easily understood, and likely to be broadly felt before too long”.

    Pfeiffer urged grassroots supporters to join Biden and Harris in the messaging effort via social media. “I spent much of 2009 and 2010 banging my head against the proverbial wall because not enough people knew about how Barack Obama had helped prevent the economy from tumbling into a second Great Depression,” he added. “Let’s not do that again.”

    The plan will also require strict oversight to ensure money is not misspent or wasted. Donna Brazile, a former interim chair of the Democratic National Committee, said: “It is a massive bill with massive consequences but it requires not just the president and vice-president and cabinet but state and local governments to also work together to ensure that the vaccines are rolled out in an equitable way and ordinary citizens are able to take advantage of some of the wonderful initiatives that are in the bill.”

    There has been a striking contrast between Biden and Harris’s disciplined focus on passing historic legislation and Republicans’ fixation on “cancel culture”, from Dr Seuss, after the children’s author’s publishing house announced it was discontinuing several books that contained racist imagery, to confusion over whether the Mr Potato Head toy will still be a “Mr”.

    The issue, which often gets more coverage on conservative media than coronavirus relief, is seen as a way of animating the base in a way that attacks on Biden do not. The president is not Black like Obama, nor a woman like Hillary Clinton, nor a democratic socialist like Bernie Sanders, all of which seem to have inoculated him against demonisation by the rightwing attack machine.

    And despite its popularity with the public, every Republican senator opposed the American Rescue Plan, offering Biden’s team a chance to score political points. Lanhee Chen, a fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, said: “It’ll be interesting to see how much they make it about the benefits of the plan versus about Republicans not having voted for the plan.”

    Chen, policy director for the 2012 Mitt Romney presidential campaign, added: “The challenge for Democrats is going to be as elements of this come out that will be unpopular, is it going to be defined by the things that are unpopular or the things that would appear to be politically quite favourable?”

    The OECD predicts that the rescue plan will help the US economy grow at a 6.5% rate this year, which would be its fastest annual growth since the early 1980s. But as Bill Clinton, George W Bush and Tony Blair discovered, all political honeymoons come to an end.

    Republicans are already exploring a new line of attack by accusing the president of ignoring the burgeoning crisis of a surge in children and families trying to cross the southern border. The rare outbreak of unity among Democrats – in the Rose Garden, Biden thanked Sanders for his efforts – is not likely to endure. And the next major item on the legislative wishlist, infrastructure, is likely to be even tougher.

    But it is the American Rescue Plan, and the political battle to define it, that could make or break Biden’s presidency. Michael Steel, who was press secretary for former Republican House speaker John Boehner, said: “They’re making a bet on economic recovery and I hope they’re right because I want the US economy to recover swiftly.”

    But, he added, “I think that people will continue learning more about the things in this legislation that are not directly related to Covid relief or economic stimulus. There’s definitely a real risk of blowback.”

    Steel, now a partner at Hamilton Place Strategies, a public affairs consulting firm, added: “We could be on the on the verge of a new Roaring Twenties with a booming economy and so much pent up demand for people to travel and live and spend money. We could also be priming the pump for a devastating wave of inflation. The economy is generally the number one issue going into an election and there’s a very real chance that we have a tremendous upside or some dangers ahead.”

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    Andrew Cuomo says he will not quit: ‘I did not do what has been alleged’ – live

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    Joe Biden signs landmark $1.9tn Covid relief bill into law – video

    Joe Biden has signed into law a $1.9tn coronavirus relief package, cementing the first major legislative victory of his presidency. ‘This historic legislation is about rebuilding the backbone of this country,’ Biden said about the American Rescue Plan. Touting the bill’s broad public support, he said the plan’s passage by the House of Representatives on Wednesday ensured that ‘their voices were heard’

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    A Rundown School for Palestinian Children Awaits U.S. Aid

    JABA, West Bank — When Joe Biden was elected president, residents of the tiny hilltop village of Jaba in the occupied West Bank cheered.

    They hope the new American president will restore funding to a project to transform a rundown school in their village into a modern facility by adding an impressive three-story building with a library, a new science lab, more classrooms, an office for social workers and a shaded basketball court.

    Work on the project stopped in 2019 after the Trump administration effectively ended aid to the Palestinians.

    Jaba, home to about 1,300 residents near Bethlehem, is set on a series of small rolling hills that straddle Israel and a string of settlements. It has few businesses; its sole medical clinic operates one day a week; and its streets are narrow. It also suffers from a housing shortage because it is in an area where Israel rarely allows new construction.

    The original plan to expand the school would have represented one of the village’s most significant upgrades in the past decade. It would have allowed it to increase its student body from 80 to 250, including 50 girls.

    “We hope Biden will find a way to rectify the cruel decision to halt funding to the school,” said Jaba’s mayor, Diab Mashala, sipping coffee in his spacious living room. “It is vital to the future of our children.”

    Many Jaba residents were excited about the school’s expansion because it would have made grades 11 and 12 available in the village. Students in those two grades must now travel to a larger school in the neighboring village of Surif, a one-and-a-half-mile journey that parents complain can be dangerous because of occasional assaults by ultranationalist settlers.

    “I would feel much less anxious if my son could learn in our village,” said Muheeb Abu Louha whose son studies in Surif.

    Along the trek between the villages, students must bypass a large roadblock — an orange gate surrounded by piles of burned trash and mounds of dirt — and then walk the rest of the way or hail a taxi or minibus. The only other option is a circuitous 30-minute car ride.

    Humam al-Tos, a senior, said settlers have hurled stones at him more than once.

    “It’s terrifying,” said Mr. al-Tos, 18, who hopes to study mechanical engineering in Turkey. “When the army comes, they stop them. But when the army isn’t in the area, they do what they want.”

    The Israeli military would not say whether it was aware of settlers attacking students between Jaba and Surif, but said it “does not stand by” when it witnesses violence. And on a warm day in mid-February uniformed boys and girls walked along the narrow road without incident.

    The roadblock has not been removed, Israeli security officials said, because the road does not meet Israel’s safety requirements and the Palestinian Authority must submit to Israel a plan to repair it before any efforts to reopen the road can begin.

    Palestinian officials did not respond to requests for comment.

    The school itself is a symbol — one example of how the Palestinians hope the United States will restore relations with them.

    During a recent tour of the partially built structure in Jaba, layers of dirt, dust and trash were collecting in its interior, rebar protruded from its rooftop and walls of exposed concrete blocks appeared to be weathered.

    In late February, the United Nations Development Program and the Education Cannot Wait fund solicited bids for completing a small part of the project, but program officials said while they would work to make an 11th-grade classroom available, there were no funds to construct a 12th-grade one. It also said it would install a multipurpose room and a canteen.

    For handicapped students, the project is crucial because it would be much easier not to have to travel to Surif. “Finishing high school here would be a difference-maker for me,” said Khader Abu Latifa, 14, a ninth grader who has a muscle-related disease.

    Khader started walking at the age of eight but he still struggles to take steps. He said he hoped his father would drive him to Surif when he entered 12th grade, but worried the older man would not always be available to give him a ride.

    And for a handful of girls, the school project embodies their only hope to obtain an education.

    Several religiously conservative families in the village refuse to allow their daughters to study in other towns, forcing them to drop out before completing high school, said Mr. Mashala. “Giving these girls the option to complete their studies could be transformative for them,” he said.

    But while a number of people in Jaba say they are optimistic that the Biden administration will restore the needed funding, bipartisan legislation known as the Taylor Force Act, signed into law by Mr. Trump in 2018, could complicate efforts to do that.

    The act restricts the U.S. government’s ability to disburse aid that “directly benefits” the Palestinian Authority as long as the authority pays salaries to families of Palestinian security prisoners and slain attackers.

    Analysts, however, said that what “directly benefits” the Palestinian Authority must be defined by Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

    “Would funding construction of this school, which is controlled by the Palestinian government, be considered direct support of the Palestinian Authority? It may or may not be,” said Joel Branould, an expert on U.S. law surrounding foreign aid to the Palestinians. “It is up to the secretary of state to decide.”

    A State Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the U.S. looks forward to resuming economic and humanitarian aid to the Palestinians, but would do so in a manner consistent with relevant U.S. law.

    The Palestinian Authority hasn’t announced plans for any significant reforms to its highly popular payment system in the coming months.

    Mr. Mashala, who has been mayor since 2017, questioned the logic of holding students accountable for policies they had no part in developing.

    “Our kids have nothing to do with politics,” he said. “They are totally innocent. Why should they pay the price for something they have nothing to do with?”

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    US House poised to approve Joe Biden’s $1.9tn Covid relief plan

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    The House of Representatives is poised to give final approval to Joe Biden’s sweeping $1.9tn coronavirus stimulus and relief plan, a giant aid package the president has said is critical for lifting the US out of the pandemic and reviving its battered economy.

    If passed by the House on Wednesday, as Democratic leaders expect, the first major legislative initiative of Biden’s presidency will rush assistance to families struggling under a year-long public health crisis and provide the most generous expansion of aid to low-income Americans in a generation.

    It will send direct payments of up to $1,400 to most Americans, expand aid to state, local and tribal governments, provide federal subsidies for those struggling to afford health insurance, housing and food and deliver money to boost Covid-19 vaccine distribution and testing and to safely reopen schools.

    Economists predict that as one of the largest emergency rescue packages in American history, the American Rescue Plan (ARP) will accelerate economic recovery, boosting growth to levels not seen in recent decades and dramatically reducing numbers living in poverty.

    According to one estimate, the ARP could cut child poverty by as much as half, through an expansion of a tax credit for families with children that many Democrats want to make permanent.

    House Democrats, who hold a slim majority, were confident the measure would pass on Wednesday morning, despite changes made in the Senate that threatened to alienate some progressives.

    The New York congressman Hakeem Jeffries, the House Democratic Caucus chair, said he was “110% confident” of success. Once passed by the House, the bill will be sent to Biden for signature.

    The Senate passed the bill on Saturday in a 50-49 vote, Democrats overcoming unified Republican opposition and a last-minute objection by Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a member of their own party.

    The package before the House on Wednesday was narrower than Biden’s initial proposal, which included progressive priorities subsequently either stripped out or scaled back to appease moderates like Manchin, who echoed Republicans with concerns that the infusion of aid was too big in an economy showing signs of revival.

    A provision to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour was deemed inadmissible under a budget process Democrats used to bypass Republican opposition.

    The Senate-approved version tightens eligibility for stimulus checks and restructures a proposal for unemployment benefits that Biden hoped to raise to $400 a week. Under the new plan, unemployment benefits will remain at $300 a week but will be extended through the beginning of September, rather than August. The first $10,200 of supplements from 2020 will be made tax-free.

    Though disappointed with some of the amendments, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, called them “relatively minor concessions” and said the overall package remained “truly progressive and bold”.

    Republicans say the plan is excessive and mismatched to the economic and public health outlook, as more Americans are vaccinated and states move to reopen businesses and schools. They have also revived concerns the package will grow the national debt, worries they set aside under Donald Trump.

    “We know for sure that it includes provisions that are not targeted, they’re not temporary, they’re not related to Covid and it didn’t have to be this way,” said the Wyoming congresswoman Liz Cheney, House Republican Conference chair. “We could have had a bill that was a fraction of the cost of this one, it could have gotten bipartisan approval and support.”

    The extraordinary price tag is just shy of the $2.2tn coronavirus relief bill signed into law by Donald Trump at the onset of the pandemic last March. It will be the sixth spending bill Congress has enacted to address the devastation wrought by the twin public health and economic crises, and is poised to be the first to pass without bipartisan support despite Biden’s campaign promise to work with Republicans.

    Yet the lack of consensus in Washington belies its popularity with voters across the political spectrum and local and state officials of both parties. Encouraged by polling that shows broad public support for the bill, Biden and Democrats have argued that the plan is bipartisan.

    Final passage of the bill will come a day before Biden is due to deliver his first primetime speech on Thursday, marking the first anniversary after the introduction of sweeping public health measures to try to control the spread of the Covid-19 virus that has killed nearly 525,000 Americans and battered the economy.

    Although vaccine distribution is ramping up dramatically and the economy is showing some signs of improvement, Democrats say the recovery is precarious and uneven, and that low-income Americans still need help. Millions of Americans remain unemployed with the poorest hit hardest.

    “This not only gets us to the other side of this crisis, it really starts healing the wounds that have been caused by this crisis,” said Steny Hoyer, the House Democratic majority leader.

    After Biden signs the bill into law, he and other top officials will continue to promote the plan to the American public, part of a push by the new administration to ensure Democrats receive credit for an economic recovery ahead of the 2022 congressional midterm elections.

    “We certainly recognize that we can’t just sign a bill,” the White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, told reporters on Tuesday. “We will need to do some work and use our best voices, including the president, the vice-president and others, to communicate to the American people the benefits of this package.”

    In a departure from his predecessor, Biden’s signature will not appear on the memo line of the stimulus checks sent to Americans, Psaki said. “This is not about him,” she added. “This is about the American people getting relief.”

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    Joe Biden’s dog caused injury to ‘unfamiliar person’, White House says

    The White House has confirmed that Major, one of Joe Biden’s two German shepherd dogs, was involved in an incident which left an unidentified person with a minor injury.

    Major and his fellow presidential pooch, Champ, were reported missing from the White House on Monday.

    On Tuesday, press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed details reported by CNN, telling reporters Major was surprised by an “unfamiliar person”.

    Psaki would not confirm if a Secret Service agent was injured but she said the human hurt in the encounter with the startled canine was treated by the White House medical unit and required no further medical attention.

    The press secretary added that the Bidens’ dogs had already been scheduled to return to Delaware for a few days, while first lady Jill Biden completed a west coast trip to visit military bases.

    “The dogs will return to the White House soon,” Psaki said.

    That will be a relief for the many Americans thrilled dogs have returned to the White House, after the previous first family kept no pets.

    Donald Trump still found himself embroiled in his own canine controversy, however, in November 2019, over whether Conan, an army dog being honored for bravery, was a good boy or a good girl.

    Major, who is three years old, is the first White House dog to have been adopted from a shelter. At the White House, CNN reported, he “has been known to display agitated behavior … including jumping, barking, and ‘charging’ at staff and security”.

    Psaki was asked if Major would be euthanized. She indicated he would not be.

    “Major Biden is a member of the family,” she said.

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    Republicans new favorite study trashes Biden’s climate plans – but who’s behind it?

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    Wyoming’s US representative, Liz Cheney, envisions a dark future for her home state under Joe Biden.

    If the new administration extends its pause on new oil and gas drilling on public land, it would endanger Wyoming’s economy, kill 18,000 jobs and cause the energy state to lose out on critical education, infrastructure and healthcare funding. Biden would be “cutting off a major lifeline that Americans have relied on to survive during this time”, she has said.


    But there is a problem with Cheney’s forecast. The numbers she is relying on came from an analysis that is the brainchild of the oil and gas industry.

    The Western Energy Alliance – which represents 200 western oil and gas companies – proposed the $114,000 publicly funded analysis to state officials, tried to provide matching dollars for it and stayed involved throughout its development, according to public records obtained by Documented and shared with Floodlight and Wyoming Public Media.

    In February 2020, a Wyoming state senator, who is also the president of an oil company, proposed the spending. The Western Energy Alliance sought to help fund the study but was unable because the industry was in serious decline. It did, however, spend $8,000 publicizing the report, as was first reported by Politico.

    Records show Governor Mark Gordon’s office was aware of and never disclosed the group’s deep involvement in the study.

    The Wyoming governor, Mark Gordon.

    The Wyoming governor, Mark Gordon. Photograph: Cayla Nimmo/AP

    Now, the Western Energy Alliance is spending thousands more to amplify the warnings in an ad campaign against Biden’s climate policies. The numbers have been cited dozens of times in local and national newspapers, including in the New York Times in a reference to Wyoming officials’ projections.

    The data has become core to Republican messaging opposing Biden’s climate plans even as critics suggest the study might exaggerate economic impacts by as much as 85%. The author even appeared at a meeting of the Congressional Western Caucus in February, alongside Cheney.

    While industry-funded research is not uncommon, transparency advocates say it is increasingly being used to produce conclusions favorable to oil and gas companies in order to shape public opinion.

    “It’s a time-honored practice,” said Bruce Freed, the president and co-founder of Center for Political Accountability. “It gives cover to the industry … they’re not going to pay for anything that will undercut them.”

    The Western Energy Alliance first approached the University of Wyoming economics professor who authored the report, Tim Considine, in mid-2019 to ask him to write a proposal about his research for state officials, he and the group confirmed. Internal emails show the Western Energy Alliance president, Kathleen Sgamma, pitched the analysis to the governor’s office in February 2020.

    “Just wanted to let you know that I’m working with the Governor’s office about who will commission and pay for the analysis, so I’m making progress,” Sgamma emailed Considine.

    A month earlier, Considine had shared his proposal with Sgamma and then offered to amend it based on her preferences if it would “help your fund raising [sic]”.

    While Considine was conducting his study with state funds, the Western Energy Alliance was part of a team working with state officials to review the report before its release. The group’s spokesperson, Aaron Johnson, got Considine to change his methodology to count more possible economic impacts in Alaska. Johnson later told Considine that the study got “very positive results from industry leaders”.

    An oil derrick in Gillette, Wyoming.

    An oil derrick in Gillette, Wyoming. Photograph: Tannen Maury/EPA

    In response to this story, Sgamma defended the study, saying it was by a reputable professor and it shows the sacrifice that the president is asking of westerners.

    “The bottom line is we didn’t fund it, and that’s usually where the disclosure comes in,” Sgamma said.

    Considine maintains his analysis was fair and independent. Critics, though, have questioned his closeness with industry, including allegations that when he worked in Pennsylvania he was “the energy industry’s go-to academic for highlighting the positives, and not the negatives, of fossil fuel development”. Considine called the criticisms “an old canard”.

    “I do not feel that getting comments on my study from the Western Energy Alliance affected my findings. In my judgment there was no conflict of interest to receive industry feedback,” he said.

    Considine’s past work also includes giving expert testimony on behalf of the coal company Murray Energy in a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as conducting research paid for under a consulting agreement with the coal company Cloud Peak Energy.

    The $114,000 for the Wyoming study – funded by the public through the Wyoming Energy Authority and Wyoming State Energy Program – was proposed in early 2020 by former lawmaker Eli Bebout, who is the president of Nucor Oil and Gas and has received significant campaign contributions from the industry. Bebout, in an interview for this story, said he didn’t recall any direct involvement with the industry group.

    Gordon, Wyoming’s governor, declined to discuss the study for this story. “At this time, we believe the study speaks for itself,” said the spokesperson Michael Pearlman, pointing to a news release from December that did not disclose the industry involvement.

    Wyoming public records show the governor’s office was prepared for questions about the industry’s role in an oil and gas study.

    Wyoming public records show the governor’s office was prepared for questions about the industry’s role in an oil and gas study. Photograph: Emily Holden/The Guardian

    Aside from the industry ties, the University of Wyoming study’s methodology has raised eyebrows among experts.

    Considine modeled two scenarios. In one, he considered a complete drilling ban on federal lands, which is not what Biden is proposing. In the other, he looked at a freeze on new leases, which is what Biden has done temporarily. Considine acknowledged in early emails to Sgamma that the latter would be difficult to do with existing data.

    Considine stands behind his conclusions. He said, if anything, his numbers were underestimates because he projected conservative productivity growth and low oil prices.

    But Laura Zachary, the co-director of Apogee Economics and Policy – which works with and on behalf of environmental advocacy groups – said the numbers that politicians have been quoting from Considine’s study are “very misleading”. She estimates the study exaggerates economic impacts by 70% to 85%.

    Another analysis of potential drilling policies, by the environmental group Resources for the Future, contradicts Considine’s conclusions of economic ruin for western states. It found the government could make oil companies pay more to drill on public lands and increase revenues going to states, while reducing climate pollution.

    “It’s not uncommon [in research] to take funds from industry,” Zachary said of Considine. “But it’s very important, obviously, to not have that guide what your findings are or your research methods as an academic.”

    The Biden administration has paused new oil and gas leasing on public lands. But companies are still drilling on previously leased lands. The climate pollution from fossil fuels developed on public lands is significant, and Biden has promised to scale it back.

    The state of Wyoming, meanwhile, has long fought to support fossil fuel development, given the industry’s importance for employment and revenue. The oil and gas industry alone represented nearly 30% of total state revenue in 2019. About 7% of Wyoming’s workforce is in the mining industries, which include oil and gas.


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    Biden immigration policy on child detention facing first test – live updates

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    Biden pledges to tackle ‘scourge’ of sexual assault in US military

    Joe Biden on Monday pledged to tackle what he called the “scourge” of sexual assault in the US military while also ordering a review of rules from Donald Trump’s administration dealing with such crimes on college campuses.

    Biden, the US president, and his vice-president, Kamala Harris, both spoke from the White House on Monday to mark International Women’s Day.

    Biden announced the nomination of two female officers, Gen Jacqueline Van Ovost and Lt Gen Laura Richardson, to become four-star commanders.

    The president spoke about what the US can do to make sure that all women are fully supported and respected in their careers within the US military, from fair promotions, to making sure women’s careers do not suffer when they have children, to ensuring that the military supplies “body armor that fits women properly”.

    He added: “This is going to be an all-hands-on-deck effort to end the scourge of sexual assault in the military.”

    And in a first step toward reversing a contentious Trump administration policy, Biden ordered his administration to review federal rules guiding colleges in their handling of campus sexual assaults.

    Biden directed the education department to examine rules that the Trump administration issued around title IX, the federal law that forbids sex discrimination in education.

    Biden directed the agency to “consider suspending, revising or rescinding” any policies that fail to protect students.

    Biden also signed a second executive order formally establishing the White House gender policy council.

    “The policy of this administration is that every individual, every student is entitled to a fair education – free of sexual violence – and that all involved have access to a fair process,” Jennifer Klein, co-chair and executive director of the gender policy council, told reporters at a White House briefing.

    Donald Trump’s education secretary, Betsy DeVos, made sweeping changes to the way colleges respond to sexual harassment and assault, with provisions that bolster the rights of the accused and narrow the scope of cases schools are required to address.

    Civil rights groups say DeVos’s policy has had a chilling effect on the reporting of sexual assaults, and also pushback from colleges that say the rules are overly prescriptive and burdensome to follow.

    “This is an important step,” said Shiwali Patel, senior counsel at the National Women’s Law Center. “The title IX rules changes that took place under the Trump administration are incredibly harmful, and they’re still in effect.”

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