Blog Post

Early actions the Biden administration can take to restore critical environmental protections

In recent years, America’s environment has been at risk. Air pollution has been on the rise. Many of our bodies of water are at risk of pollution from chemical and oil storage facilities, fertilizers, stormwater runoff, sewage systems, and more. As greenhouse gas emissions have continued to rise, so have the impacts of global warming, from increased wildfires and hurricanes to heat-related illness.

And while the U.S. remains a sharply divided country, Americans broadly agree: the government should be doing more to protect the environment.

In the Biden administration’s first 100 days, it is critical that we take swift action to clean up our environment and address the climate crisis. There are several important environmental policies that can be set in motion on day one that will protect our natural landscapes and give Americans cleaner air, cleaner water and a more livable climate. Many of these are policies that Americans already worked hard to put in place, but which, over the past four years, the Trump administration rolled back or weakened. At a minimum, the Biden administration should restore these commonsense solutions to protect our land, air, water and climate.

1. Rejoin the Paris Agreement

2. Repeal the Dirty Water Rule

3. Strengthen fuel economy and emissions standards

4. Withdraw from Trump’s offshore drilling plan

5. Restore smart energy efficiency policy

Read more about these policies in U.S. PIRG Education Fund and Environment America Research & Policy Center’s report, First Things to Fix.

The policies above can be implemented or set in motion through executive action on day one and will go a long way toward securing a greener, healthier America. The agenda for the rest of the first 100 days should then be focused on undoing the many harmful Trump administration rollbacks of impactful and popular environmental policies.

Additional environmental policies to prioritize in the early days of the administration

The following is a list of an additional fifteen environmental protections that the Biden administration should implement in the first 100 days of the administration. Like the first five, these important protections will have a significant impact on conserving our natural spaces, cleaning up our air and water and combating the climate crisis. They are also policies that will enjoy broad bipartisan support among the American public.

  1. Restore the Roadless Rule for Alaska’s Tongass Forest
  2. Update regulations to control methane emissions
  3. Support ratification of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocols to phase out the use of hydrofluorocarbons
  4. Support ratification of the Basel Amendment to regulate international waste trade
  5. Reinstate the transportation greenhouse gas emissions reduction performance standard
  6. Reverse the Toxic Water Rule
  7. Strengthen National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for Ozone and Particulate Matter
  8. Cancel the EPA’s plan to allow unlined coal ash ponds to continue operating
  9. Strengthen NEPA Regulations
  10. Protect Endangered Species
  11. Get the lead out of drinking water
  12. Stop oil and gas leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
  13. Strengthen the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards
  14. Reduce Pollution from Industrial Flares
  15. Restore protections for the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument