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The Biden-Harris administration began Day One by outlining a sweeping policy agenda. After taking his oath, President Biden signed a suite of executive orders directing federal agencies to commit to higher ethical standards and change course on the biggest social and environmental issues of our time.
With these orders, Biden’s cabinet will now be reviewing a wide array of the Trump administration’s environmental rule changes and rollbacks. The list looks a lot like Earthjustice’s docket of lawsuits that held back many of the previous administration’s most damaging decisions and preserved opportunities for repair by this new administration.
Biden named the climate crisis as one of four overlapping crises facing the nation. Today’s actions orient the U.S. toward a vision of a clean energy future that includes good union jobs and advances environmental justice. Among the orders are opportunities to reverse Trump's polluter-friendly policies and combat climate change by:
With more than half of U.S. waters unsafe for drinking, fishing, or swimming, the Biden administration is moving the government’s focus back to cleanup by reviewing Trump attacks on:
The Biden administration is calling for a review of Trump-era chemical safety rollbacks that have put the nation’s health and ecosystems at risk. Biden’s orders are a step toward:
Protecting the planet’s remaining biodiversity is foundational for climate stability. Biden announced a temporary moratorium on oil and gas drilling in “America’s Serengeti,” the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. And he ordered the review of the Trump administration’s gutting of key protections for wild places and wildlife, including:
The National Environmental Policy Act is a community’s first line of defense at the federal level for protecting their communities from projects that could be harmful to their health and environment. Earthjustice has leveraged this law to give voice to our clients on destructive projects such as pipelines, waste incinerators, and Trump’s border wall, the construction of which has been halted by the new administration. Biden’s orders call for a review of the Trump’s administration’s regulatory rollbacks that blocked the government's duties to:
The agencies will review each policy for legality, purpose, and alignment with good governance and science-based policy practices. While the outcomes of the orders won’t be immediate, we are optimistic that they will pave the way for meaningful progress.
“Today we celebrate the triumph, not of a candidate, but of a cause, the cause of democracy,” Biden said in his inaugural address. He acknowledged that we have “much to repair, much to restore, much to heal, much to build, and much to gain.”
As an organization that wields the power of the law in service of the planet and all people, our cause is entwined with that of our democracy. In these actions we see a roadmap to the future we at Earthjustice are fighting for. We applaud the Biden-Harris administration for these early and bold signs of their commitment to the rule of law, science-based policy, and the needs of all communities.
See below for an annotated version of the environmental actions the Biden administration is planning to review.