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Earthjustice is a nonprofit in the business of building a better future. We’re here because the earth needs a good lawyer.

What the 2020 election means for the environment

A Biden administration can remedy many of the Trump administration’s environmental rollbacks within the space of a year.

It will take a lot of work to make that happen, and we have limited time to change the trajectory of our climate future. But we have the solutions.

In the courts: The fastest way to get protections back in place would be for the incoming administration to direct the Department of Justice to retreat from the lawless positions taken under the Trump administration.

  • Earthjustice filed more than a hundred legal challenges against the Trump administration's efforts to dismantle basic environmental statutes. The majority of our lawsuits are still in play.
  • In some instances, the DOJ may reverse its position. That will invite the court to strike down the unlawful action of the Trump administration and restore the protections that were in place.
  • In other instances, the case may be settled, and the Biden administration will create a new rule to replace, for example, the Trump administration’s Dirty Water Rule.
    • In these situations, Earthjustice will advocate for the government to repair — and improve — the regulatory framework to protect our clients’ health.

A word about the Trump administration’s losing record: When the government litigates against clients such as those Earthjustice represents, the law gives deference to the government's position.

  • When the government has lost as much as it has in the lawsuits Earthjustice has brought, it shows that they're taking lawless positions that don't square with our nation’s statutes, the facts, and the science.
  • Of the 50 cases that have been decided over the past four years, we've won 41 — more than 80%. Six more cases are on appeal.
  • These hard-fought court victories have saved lives and lands of immeasurable value, holding in check some of the Trump administration’s worst environmental harms and preserving the possibility for repair.

In the White House: A Biden administration can make immediate progress — even without help from Congress — with the actions below and more. Earthjustice has litigated and advocated to hold the line on many of these critical issues.

In Congress: 2021 may potentially be a rare moment in modern politics when the White House and House of Representatives are held by the same party, but the Senate is not.

  • What this could mean is that in order for new policies to make it through Congress, they will need to be attached to “must pass” bills such as budget measures.
  • Earthjustice’s policy and legislative experts will prioritize funding and policies to advance climate and social justice to be included in those bills.
  • We’ll seek to promote electrification of transportation (the largest source of carbon pollution in our country) such as electrifying transit in school buses, ports, and establishing electric vehicle charging infrastructure, clean air monitoring for fenceline communities, clean water and sewage treatment for communities that have been denied it for far too long, and more.

Watch our full analysis of the election results and our look forward, including on cabinet nominations, the impact of the Trump administration’s federal judiciary appointments, and more.

Since we began our work in 1971, we've seen political will and government resources all too often fall short of enforcing environmental laws in the way that they need to be enforced. We'll be pushing this administration — and officials in every state — to respond to the crises we face in this important decade for our climate.

Your support enables us to hold the powerful accountable and to advance the solutions that protect people and the planet — now, and for future generations. Thank you.