Today, President Joe Biden gave his first State of the Union address. Following the speech, Earthjustice President Abigail Dillen issued the following statement:
“Tonight, the president presented a powerful vision for the country and for defending democracy in unity with allies around the world, and we stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people in their quest for freedom. What cannot get lost in this moment is the climate emergency facing us all. On the heels of a dire Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report on runaway climate change and major economic and social upheaval to come, we must stop acting as if climate action can wait. It is essential that President Biden use the full power and influence of his office to address the climate crisis and pollution.
“We’re pleased President Biden mentioned the urgent need to address clean water access by replacing poisonous lead pipes, reduce energy costs for all Americans by accelerating our transition to clean energy, and rapidly expand electric vehicle charging infrastructure to communities across the country. And, the federal government needs to do more to meet this moment. Crucially, President Biden must work with Congress to finally pass reconciliation legislation that meets the moment on climate and environmental justice before the opportunity is lost. We must accelerate the ongoing transition to clean energy that can make our communities so much healthier while lowering bills and creating new jobs.
“In the upcoming year, the Biden administration must move swiftly to reverse the disastrous environmental decisions of the Trump administration and quickly execute plans to clean up our power and transportation sectors, protect communities from air pollution and toxic chemicals like lead, PFAS, and pesticides, and buy precious time by cutting methane emissions. It must mandate protections for our public lands and waters, harness natural climate solutions, and stop auctioning off our public lands and waters to the highest bidders to be mined and drilled.
“President Biden has the ability to leave a legacy of unprecedented leadership when it comes to meaningfully tackling the climate crisis, transitioning us away from fossil fuels, and finally taking steps to remedy environmental racism and injustice in this country. While there is much to commend, there is still too much undone, and we will be pushing the Biden administration, in the courts as necessary, to deliver on their promises to act in time.”