On Jan. 21, one of the first acts of President Joe Biden was to sign an executive order that takes critical first steps to address the climate crisis, create good union jobs and advance environmental justice, while reversing the previous administration’s harmful policies. Biden also signed the instrument to rejoin the Paris Agreement, which will go into effect 30 days after the fact.
The Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis jumpstarts swift, initial action to tackle the climate crisis by:
- Directing all executive departments and agencies to immediately review and take appropriate action to address federal regulations and other executive actions taken during the last four years that were harmful to public health, damaging to the environment, unsupported by the best available science, or otherwise not in the national interest, including agency actions identified on the attached list;
- Directing agencies to consider revising vehicle fuel economy and emissions standards, methane emissions standards, and appliance and building efficiency standards to ensure that such standards cut pollution, save consumers money, and create good union jobs;
- Directing the Department of Interior to protect our nation’s treasures by reviewing the boundaries and conditions of the Grand Staircase-Escalante, Bears Ears, Northeast Canyons, and Seamounts Marine National Monuments and placing a temporary moratorium on all oil and natural gas leasing activities in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge;
- Re-establishing the Interagency Working Group on the Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) and directing the issuance of an interim social cost of GHG schedule to ensure that agencies account for the full costs of GHG emissions, including climate risk, environmental justice and intergenerational equity; and
- Revoking, revising, or replacing additional Executive Orders, Presidential Proclamations, Memoranda, and Permits signed over the past 4 years that do not serve the U.S. national interest, including revoking the Presidential permit granted to the Keystone XL pipeline.
It’s a good start, but we cannot celebrate until every environmental protection is restored and strengthened to protect clean water and a healthy environment.
The first 100 days of Biden’s presidency will set the stage for the administration’s environmental policies — they must get things right from the start, and you can help, according to Waterkeeper Alliance.
Sound Rivers and Waterkeeper Alliance are calling for the Biden administration’s first 100 days to include:
- Protecting Public Lands and Waters from Fossil Fuel Extraction: Ban new fossil fuel leasing and permitting on publicly owned federal lands;
- Prioritizing Environmental Justice: Immediately prioritize reversing the grave systemic damage done to environmental justice policy and enforcement in the United States over the past four years and charting a new just and equitable course for the 21st century;
- Issuing a New Executive Order to Restore the Clean Water Act: Expedite the process for repairing the broken definition of “waters of the United States,” repealing the “Dirty Waters Rule” and replacing it with science-based protections for our waterways, and reinstating state and tribal authority and public participation rights under section 401 of the Clean Water Act;
- Restoring the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA): Repeal the NEPA rollback and strengthen public participation in projects impacting the environment; and
- Rescinding the Most Damaging Environmental Executive Orders: Revoke executive orders that directed all federal agencies to roll back our environmental protections in favor of the outgoing administration’s pro-polluter agenda.
These are the issues that will guide advocacy efforts as the new administration assumes leadership — the same issues that the Waterkeeper movement has been advocating for for years. It’s now on all of us to ensure they become priorities of the new administration.
Show your support today by using this link to tell the Biden administration to protect clean water in the administration’s first 100 days. We need each and every one of you to join in the fight for drinkable, fishable, swimmable water.