The Next Things to Fix

Actions the Biden administration can take to protect our environment

With slimmer opportunities in Congress, the Biden administration should take these actions to restore and strengthen environmental protections.

Clean air


Staff | TPIN
Chesapeake Bay Beach
Sean Hoffmann

Former Federal Legislative Advocate, Environment America

Matt Casale

Former Director, Environment Campaigns, U.S. PIRG Education Fund

In his first two years in office, President Joe Biden secured historic levels of funding to tackle environmental challenges, from climate change to lead in drinking water. Following the November 2022 election, President Biden will have fewer congressional opportunities to advance environmental protections, but the issues remain as pressing as ever.

We’re still a long way from securing a stable climate. Air pollution still causes hundreds of thousands of premature deaths every year and contributes to health problems ranging from asthma to dementia. Our wetlands, streams and forests are still threatened by logging and development, and many Trump-era environmental rollbacks remain on the books.

In December 2020, Environment America Research & Policy Center and U.S. PIRG Education Fund released a report, First Things to Fix, identifying 20 actions the Biden administration could set in motion on day one or soon after to protect the environment. Two years in, there are still numerous actions President Biden should take to address America’s greatest environmental problems.

The next things to fix

Original “day one” priorities Status
Rejoin Paris climate accord Done
Strengthen fuel economy and emissions standards Done
Restore smart energy efficiency policy In progress
Repeal the Dirty Water Rule Progress at risk
Withdraw from Trump’s offshore drilling plan Progress at risk

Additional environmental priorities

Action Status
Restore protections for the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument Done
Support ratification of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocols to phase out the use of hydrofluorocarbons Done
Update regulations to control methane emissions Nearly done
Restore the Roadless Rule for Alaska’s Tongass Forest Nearly done
Get the lead out of drinking water In progress
Reverse the Toxic Water Rule In progress
Strengthen National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for Ozone and Particulate Matter In progress
Protect endangered species In progress
Strengthen the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards In progress
Reduce pollution from industrial flares In progress
Reinstate the transportation greenhouse gas emissions reduction performance standard In progress
Stop oil and gas leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Progress at risk
Cancel the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s plan to allow unlined coal ash ponds to continue operating Progress at risk
Strengthen National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations Progress at risk
Support ratification of the Basel Amendment to regulate international waste trade Not yet begun

Lisa Frank

Executive Director, Washington Legislative Office, Environment America; Vice President and D.C. Director, The Public Interest Network

Lisa directs strategy and staff for Environment America's federal campaigns. She also oversees The Public Interest Network's Washington, D.C., office and operations. She has won millions of dollars in investments in walking, biking and transit, and has helped develop strategic campaigns to protect America's oceans, forests and public lands from drilling, logging and road-building. Lisa is an Oregonian transplant in Washington, D.C., where she loves hiking, running, biking, and cooking for friends and family.

Sean Hoffmann

Former Federal Legislative Advocate, Environment America

Matt Casale

Former Director, Environment Campaigns, U.S. PIRG Education Fund

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