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
|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|
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.
Former Federal Legislative Advocate, Environment America
Former Director, Environment Campaigns, U.S. PIRG Education Fund