Tracking Biden’s environmental actions

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Tracking Biden’s environmental actions

After less than a month in office, President Biden has already made climate change a priority across the federal government and started working to overturn more than 100 environmental actions taken by the Trump administration.

Pledged to double offshore wind capacity by 2030, Jan. 27

Wind turbines of the Block Island Wind Farm tower above the water on Oct. 14, 2016, off the shores of Block Island, R.I. (Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images)

In the past week alone, the president has blocked a policy easing companies’ liability for killing birds from taking effect and paused any new roadbuilding in Tongass National Forest’s protected areas. He’s also gone well beyond reversing the policies of President Donald Trump, signing an executive order directing his deputies to assess how climate change is fueling migration worldwide and develop proposals to leverage foreign aid to curb global warming’s worst impacts on poor nations.

“In my view, we’ve already waited too long to deal with this climate crisis. We can’t wait any longer,” Biden told reporters last month. “We see it with our own eyes. We feel it. We know it in our bones and it’s time to act.”

And officials across the U.S. government have started putting his most sweeping environmental executive orders, such as the one on Jan. 27 elevating climate change in national security and domestic policy, into action. On Feb. 4, for example, the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management canceled an upcoming lease sale off Alaska’s south central coast on the grounds that it violated his moratorium on new federal oil and gas leasing.

Kristen Monsell, legal director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Oceans program, said halting the Cook Inlet auction is “a really encouraging sign that the Biden administration is honoring its promise to end dirty, dangerous offshore oil leasing,” which will protect the area’s endangered beluga whales.

Those initial moves are the first in what promises to be a much longer — and more arduous — effort to unwind the Trump administration’s sweeping environmental and energy policies, which were marked by aggressive deregulation, prioritizing the fossil fuels industry and sidelining efforts to combat climate change or protect imperiled animals.

Trump worked to scale back or abolish more than 200 environmental protections in just a single term, according to a Washington Post analysis, completing more than 170 of them. Biden can overturn some of them with a stroke of a pen. Others will take years to undo, and some may never be reversed. Four Obama-era regulations were nullified under the Congressional Review Act, which prevents the introduction of a new rule that is “substantially the same” as what had been replaced, making Trump’s actions particularly hard to reverse.

The majority of Trump’s rollbacks affect air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change, though 27 affect wildlife and 23 relate to infrastructure and planning. Though Biden is unlikely to target every one of his predecessor’s environmental actions, dozens of them are already in his sights.

Air pollution and greenhouse gases

4 new protections added

Status of Trump’s rollbacks: 2 overturned 22 targeted 39 not yet targeted

The Trump administration enacted at least 64 policies weakening or overturning regulations aimed at curbing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions fueling global warming. Biden has said he will reverse that legacy and promote a low-carbon future instead. By signing a document to rejoin the Paris climate agreement on his first day in office, the new president reversed one of his predecessor’s signature policies and signaled a different path.

Biden suedBiden action challenged in court

Trump suedTrump action challenged in court

Policy put in place by Biden administration

Can be reversed by a simple act, such as signing an executive order or new directive

Can be reversed only through more extensive action, such as rewriting a regulation or court ruling

Can only be reversed through a lengthy regulatory process, act of Congress or court ruling

Climate Finance

Instructed the Secretary of the Treasury to assess climate risk and work with other agencies to align U.S. spending — including foreign aid — with the nation’s climate goals Read more »

Climate-Smart’ Agriculture and Forestry

Instructed the Secretary of Agriculture to develop a plan within 90 day to spur ‘climate-smart’ strategies in farming and forestry. Read more »

Transition to a clean federal vehicle fleet

Mandated the government buy clean and zero-emission vehicles for its fleet, including federal, state and tribal vehicles Read more »

Climate Change as a National Security Priority

Ordered national security agencies to deliver a report within 90 days on how they will integrate climate change into their work Read more »

Kigali Amendment

Biden ordered the Secretary of State to submit the Kigali Amendment, phasing out hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), to the Senate for ratification Read more »

Paris Climate Agreement

Trump withdrew the United States from the 2015 Paris climate agreement, but Biden rejoined it on his first day in office Read more »

Climate Projections at Interior

Instructs Interior Department scientists to use all climate models, including ones suggesting fewer impacts Read more »

Test Procedure for Electric Motors

Proposal would allow manufacturers to use alternative standards to test small-motor efficiency Read more »

Delayed Energy-Efficiency RulesTrump sued

The Energy Department has delayed updating 25 energy-efficiency rules Read more »

Power Plant Emissions

Rescinded policy curbing pollutants power plants can emit during startup, shutdown and malfunctions Read more »

Repeal of Clean Power PlanTrump sued

Repealed the Obama-era plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions from power plants Read more »

Federal Coal Waste Permit Program

Would grant coal ash disposal permits without review to some state and tribal sites Read more »

Testing for Heavy-Duty Vehicles and Engines

Changing testing for heavy-duty vehicles and engines that could lead to higher CO2 emissions Read more »

New Source Review Guidance

Proposed reversing a requirement that plant owners get a pollution permit for expanded operations Read more »

Directive on Climate Modeling

Instructs Interior scientists to use several climate models, including ones projecting fewer impacts Read more »

Phasing Out Certain HFC Uses

Unsuccessful effort to rework a rule on hydrofluorocarbons, potent greenhouse gases Read more »

Revoking California’s Clean Air Act WaiverTrump sued

Revoked California’s waiver to regulate air pollution under the Clean Air Act Read more »

Regional Haze RuleTrump sued

Weakened an Obama-era rule meant to improve air quality in national parks and wilderness areas Read more »

E15 Summertime Ban

Lifted the summertime ban on a gasoline-ethanol blend linked to smog formation Read more »

Ozone National Ambient Air Quality StandardsTrump sued

Allowed states, tribes and localities more flexibility in complying with limits on smog-forming ozone Read more »

MACT Emissions Standards for Major Industries

Proposal would change how anticipated pollution from a new facility is calculated Read more »

National Climate Assessment Federal Advisory Panel

Dismantled the federal advisory panel for the National Climate Assessment Read more »

Funding Coal Plants abroad

Reversed an Obama-era policy that restricted U.S. financing of coal-fired power plants abroad Read more »

Payments to the Green Climate Fund

Stopped payments to the Green Climate Fund, which helps poor nations address climate change Read more »

Climate Guidance for Federal Departments and Agencies

Withdrew guidance directing agencies to include carbon emissions in environmental reviews Read more »

The Social Cost of Carbon

Disbanded the panel that formulates the social cost of carbon Read more »

Lightbulb Efficiency RuleTrump sued

Repealed an Obama-era rule making lightbulbs more efficient Read more »

New Source Performance Standards for Oil and Gas

Scaled back measures oil and gas producers have to take to control air pollution Read more »

CO2 Limits on Certain Power PlantsTrump sued

Curbs CO2 only in sectors that account for at least 3 percent of U.S. emissions Read more »

Energy-Efficiency for ManufacturersTrump sued

Grants manufacturers a waiver from uniform energy-efficiency test procedures Read more »

Cost-Benefit Rule for Air PoliciesTrump sued

Restricted which public health benefits could be factored into new air rules Read more »

401(k) Plan Climate Investments

Prevents environmental, social and government funds from being the default in 401(k) investments Read more »

“Once In, Always In” PolicyTrump sued

Loosened a Clinton-era rule aimed at limiting toxic emissions from major emitters Read more »

Curtailing Environmental Justice Appeals

Removed the EPA Environmental Appeals Board’s authority to consider environmental justice challenges related to clean air, clean water or waste-permit decisions. Read more »

Cost-Benefit Test for Appliance StandardsTrump sued

Required a comparative analysis of the relative benefits and burdens of potential energy conservation standards for appliances Read more »

CO2 Standards for Cars and SUVsTrump sued

Weakened Obama-era greenhouse-gas standards for cars and SUVs Read more »

Coal Leasing MoratoriumTrump sued

Reversed an Obama-era moratorium on federal coal leasing Read more »

Landfill Emissions GuidelinesTrump sued

Delayed issuing a plan to limit landfill methane emissions Read more »

BLM Methane RuleTrump sued

Scaled back limits on methane emissions from drilling on public lands Read more »

Mercury and Air Toxics StandardsTrump sued

Withdrew the legal justification for a 2012 rule limiting mercury emissions from power plants Read more »

Fuel-efficiency and Tires

Withdrew and delayed a rule to inform consumers about fuel-efficient replacement tires Read more »

Limits on Proxy Voting

Makes it more difficult to hold proxy and shareholder votes on environmental, social and governance grounds Read more »

Power Plant Mercury and Air Toxics Standards

Reduced reporting requirements for hazardous pollutants issuing from power plants Read more »

Oil and Gas Industry Methane ControlsTrump sued

Removed requirements to control methane across the oil and gas industry Read more »

Hazardous Air Pollutant ListingTrump sued

Indefinitely delayed adding 1-bromopropane (1-BP), a solvent linked to neurological damage, to the list of regulated hazardous air pollutants Read more »

Coal Refuse RuleTrump sued

Relaxed air pollution regulations for a handful of power plants that burn coal mining waste Read more »

Approval of Jordan Cove Energy ProjectTrump sued

Approval of Jordan Cove Energy Project, a natural gas export terminal Read more »

HFC Leak Detection and RepairTrump sued

Withdrew rule requiring the detection and repair of hydroflourocarbon leaks from major appliances Read more »

Self-Audit Program for Oil and Gas Facilities

Provided complete penalty forgiveness for firms that disclose and self-correct air violations Read more »

Clean Fuels Grant Program

Rescinded the Clean Fuels Grant Program, which was to help areas cut pollution and deploy clean-fuel buses Read more »

Manufactured Housing Energy Use

Withdrew a 2016 proposal to impose energy conservation standards on manufactured housing Read more »

Cross-State Air Pollution RuleTrump sued

Declined to reduce cross-state air pollution involving soot and smog contributors Read more »

Clean Air Act Section 126 PetitionsTrump sued

Denied petitions from several states to regulate air pollution coming from upwind states Read more »

Sewage Treatment Air Pollutant Standards

Reversed stricter emission standards for large, publicly owned sewage treatment plants Read more »

Washer and Dryer Efficiency StandardsTrump sued

Exempted some clothes washers and dryers from current energy- and water-efficiency standards Read more »

Dishwasher Energy Standards

Weakened energy-efficiency standards for dishwashers Read more »

Methane Limits for Oil and Gas OperationsTrump sued

Eliminated methane emissions control requirements for all oil and gas operations Read more »

Furnace and Water Heater Efficiency

Withdrew efficiency standards for residential furnaces, commercial water heaters and gas appliances Read more »

Showerhead Efficiency Testing

Relaxed efficiency rules for showerheads, letting them use unlimited amounts of water Read more »

New Power Plant Emissions Accounting

Revised a program to make it easier for new power plants to avoid emissions regulations Read more »

Offshore Air Quality Rule

Weakened a 2016 rule tightening air pollution limits on offshore operations Read more »

Industrial Facilities Emissions

Made changes to a program aimed at curbing emissions from new or modified industrial facilities Read more »

Air Emissions in Indian Country

The rule streamlines pre-construction approval for minor sources of pollution on Indian Country Read more »

New Energy-Efficiency StandardsTrump sued

Made it more difficult to impose stricter energy-efficiency rules Read more »

Reporting Requirements for Large Animal FarmsTrump sued

Exempted large animal farms from having to report risks to state and local officials Read more »

Commercial and Industrial Solid Waste Standards

Revised commercial and industrial incineration standards to address industry concerns Read more »

Petroleum Refinery Sector Rule

Allows petroleum refineries more easily to flare gas and conduct other activities Read more »

New 4

Policy put in place by Biden administration

Climate Finance

Instructed the Secretary of the Treasury to assess climate risk and work with other agencies to align U.S. spending — including foreign aid — with the nation’s climate goals Read more »

Climate-Smart’ Agriculture and Forestry

Instructed the Secretary of Agriculture to develop a plan within 90 day to spur ‘climate-smart’ strategies in farming and forestry. Read more »

Transition to a clean federal vehicle fleet

Mandated the government buy clean and zero-emission vehicles for its fleet, including federal, state and tribal vehicles Read more »

Climate Change as a National Security Priority

Ordered national security agencies to deliver a report within 90 days on how they will integrate climate change into their work Read more »

Easy to overturn 22

Can be reversed by a simple act, such as signing an executive order or new directive

Kigali Amendment

Biden ordered the Secretary of State to submit the Kigali Amendment, phasing out hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), to the Senate for ratification Read more »

Paris Climate Agreement

Trump withdrew the United States from the 2015 Paris climate agreement, but Biden rejoined it on his first day in office Read more »

Climate Projections at Interior

Instructs Interior Department scientists to use all climate models, including ones suggesting fewer impacts Read more »

Test Procedure for Electric Motors

Proposal would allow manufacturers to use alternative standards to test small-motor efficiency Read more »

Delayed Energy-Efficiency RulesTrump sued

The Energy Department has delayed updating 25 energy-efficiency rules Read more »

Power Plant Emissions

Rescinded policy curbing pollutants power plants can emit during startup, shutdown and malfunctions Read more »

Repeal of Clean Power PlanTrump sued

Repealed the Obama-era plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions from power plants Read more »

Federal Coal Waste Permit Program

Would grant coal ash disposal permits without review to some state and tribal sites Read more »

Testing for Heavy-Duty Vehicles and Engines

Changing testing for heavy-duty vehicles and engines that could lead to higher CO2 emissions Read more »

New Source Review Guidance

Proposed reversing a requirement that plant owners get a pollution permit for expanded operations Read more »

Directive on Climate Modeling

Instructs Interior scientists to use several climate models, including ones projecting fewer impacts Read more »

Phasing Out Certain HFC Uses

Unsuccessful effort to rework a rule on hydrofluorocarbons, potent greenhouse gases Read more »

Revoking California’s Clean Air Act WaiverTrump sued

Revoked California’s waiver to regulate air pollution under the Clean Air Act Read more »

Regional Haze RuleTrump sued

Weakened an Obama-era rule meant to improve air quality in national parks and wilderness areas Read more »

E15 Summertime Ban

Lifted the summertime ban on a gasoline-ethanol blend linked to smog formation Read more »

Ozone National Ambient Air Quality StandardsTrump sued

Allowed states, tribes and localities more flexibility in complying with limits on smog-forming ozone Read more »

MACT Emissions Standards for Major Industries

Proposal would change how anticipated pollution from a new facility is calculated Read more »

National Climate Assessment Federal Advisory Panel

Dismantled the federal advisory panel for the National Climate Assessment Read more »

Funding Coal Plants abroad

Reversed an Obama-era policy that restricted U.S. financing of coal-fired power plants abroad Read more »

Payments to the Green Climate Fund

Stopped payments to the Green Climate Fund, which helps poor nations address climate change Read more »

Climate Guidance for Federal Departments and Agencies

Withdrew guidance directing agencies to include carbon emissions in environmental reviews Read more »

The Social Cost of Carbon

Disbanded the panel that formulates the social cost of carbon Read more »

Medium 28

Can be reversed only through more extensive action, such as rewriting a regulation or court ruling

Lightbulb Efficiency RuleTrump sued

Repealed an Obama-era rule making lightbulbs more efficient Read more »

New Source Performance Standards for Oil and Gas

Scaled back measures oil and gas producers have to take to control air pollution Read more »

CO2 Limits on Certain Power PlantsTrump sued

Curbs CO2 only in sectors that account for at least 3 percent of U.S. emissions Read more »

Energy-Efficiency for ManufacturersTrump sued

Grants manufacturers a waiver from uniform energy-efficiency test procedures Read more »

Cost-Benefit Rule for Air PoliciesTrump sued

Restricted which public health benefits could be factored into new air rules Read more »

401(k) Plan Climate Investments

Prevents environmental, social and government funds from being the default in 401(k) investments Read more »

“Once In, Always In” PolicyTrump sued

Loosened a Clinton-era rule aimed at limiting toxic emissions from major emitters Read more »

Curtailing Environmental Justice Appeals

Removed the EPA Environmental Appeals Board’s authority to consider environmental justice challenges related to clean air, clean water or waste-permit decisions. Read more »

Cost-Benefit Test for Appliance StandardsTrump sued

Required a comparative analysis of the relative benefits and burdens of potential energy conservation standards for appliances Read more »

CO2 Standards for Cars and SUVsTrump sued

Weakened Obama-era greenhouse-gas standards for cars and SUVs Read more »

Coal Leasing MoratoriumTrump sued

Reversed an Obama-era moratorium on federal coal leasing Read more »

Landfill Emissions GuidelinesTrump sued

Delayed issuing a plan to limit landfill methane emissions Read more »

BLM Methane RuleTrump sued

Scaled back limits on methane emissions from drilling on public lands Read more »

Mercury and Air Toxics StandardsTrump sued

Withdrew the legal justification for a 2012 rule limiting mercury emissions from power plants Read more »

Fuel-efficiency and Tires

Withdrew and delayed a rule to inform consumers about fuel-efficient replacement tires Read more »

Limits on Proxy Voting

Makes it more difficult to hold proxy and shareholder votes on environmental, social and governance grounds Read more »

Power Plant Mercury and Air Toxics Standards

Reduced reporting requirements for hazardous pollutants issuing from power plants Read more »

Oil and Gas Industry Methane ControlsTrump sued

Removed requirements to control methane across the oil and gas industry Read more »

Hazardous Air Pollutant ListingTrump sued

Indefinitely delayed adding 1-bromopropane (1-BP), a solvent linked to neurological damage, to the list of regulated hazardous air pollutants Read more »

Coal Refuse RuleTrump sued

Relaxed air pollution regulations for a handful of power plants that burn coal mining waste Read more »

Approval of Jordan Cove Energy ProjectTrump sued

Approval of Jordan Cove Energy Project, a natural gas export terminal Read more »

HFC Leak Detection and RepairTrump sued

Withdrew rule requiring the detection and repair of hydroflourocarbon leaks from major appliances Read more »

Self-Audit Program for Oil and Gas Facilities

Provided complete penalty forgiveness for firms that disclose and self-correct air violations Read more »

Clean Fuels Grant Program

Rescinded the Clean Fuels Grant Program, which was to help areas cut pollution and deploy clean-fuel buses Read more »

Manufactured Housing Energy Use

Withdrew a 2016 proposal to impose energy conservation standards on manufactured housing Read more »

Cross-State Air Pollution RuleTrump sued

Declined to reduce cross-state air pollution involving soot and smog contributors Read more »

Clean Air Act Section 126 PetitionsTrump sued

Denied petitions from several states to regulate air pollution coming from upwind states Read more »

Sewage Treatment Air Pollutant Standards

Reversed stricter emission standards for large, publicly owned sewage treatment plants Read more »

Difficult 13

Can only be reversed through a lengthy regulatory process, act of Congress or court ruling

Washer and Dryer Efficiency StandardsTrump sued

Exempted some clothes washers and dryers from current energy- and water-efficiency standards Read more »

Dishwasher Energy Standards

Weakened energy-efficiency standards for dishwashers Read more »

Methane Limits for Oil and Gas OperationsTrump sued

Eliminated methane emissions control requirements for all oil and gas operations Read more »

Furnace and Water Heater Efficiency

Withdrew efficiency standards for residential furnaces, commercial water heaters and gas appliances Read more »

Showerhead Efficiency Testing

Relaxed efficiency rules for showerheads, letting them use unlimited amounts of water Read more »

New Power Plant Emissions Accounting

Revised a program to make it easier for new power plants to avoid emissions regulations Read more »

Offshore Air Quality Rule

Weakened a 2016 rule tightening air pollution limits on offshore operations Read more »

Industrial Facilities Emissions

Made changes to a program aimed at curbing emissions from new or modified industrial facilities Read more »

Air Emissions in Indian Country

The rule streamlines pre-construction approval for minor sources of pollution on Indian Country Read more »

New Energy-Efficiency StandardsTrump sued

Made it more difficult to impose stricter energy-efficiency rules Read more »

Reporting Requirements for Large Animal FarmsTrump sued

Exempted large animal farms from having to report risks to state and local officials Read more »

Commercial and Industrial Solid Waste Standards

Revised commercial and industrial incineration standards to address industry concerns Read more »

Petroleum Refinery Sector Rule

Allows petroleum refineries more easily to flare gas and conduct other activities Read more »

Chemical safety

Status of Trump’s rollbacks: 0 overturned 6 targeted 8 not yet targeted

From plastic water bottles to farmworker pesticide exposure to chemical dangers for infants and children, the Trump administration favored industry over consumer health. At least 14 chemical safety laws are under review by the Biden administration to restore lost protections.

Biden suedBiden action challenged in court

Trump suedTrump action challenged in court

Can be reversed by a simple act, such as signing an executive order or new directive

Can be reversed only through more extensive action, such as rewriting a regulation or court ruling

Can only be reversed through a lengthy regulatory process, act of Congress or court ruling

Farmworker Protection Standard

Unsuccessful effort to block Agricultural Worker Protection Standard Read more »

Chlorpyrifos BanTrump sued

Rejected a proposed ban on chlorpyrifos, a pesticide linked to neurological damage in children Read more »

Regulation of TrichlorethyleneTrump sued

Proposal would narrow the regulation of toxic solvents used in dry cleaning Read more »

Pyrethroid Pesticide Approval Process

Proposed relaxing restrictions in interim pesticide registration for pyrethroids Read more »

Low-level Radioactive Waste Disposal

Proposed allowing commercial nuclear reactors to dispose of radioactive waste, aside from spent fuel, in local landfills Read more »

Park Service Plastic Water Bottle Ban

Reversed rule restricting platic water bottle sales in national parks Read more »

Standards for Storing Volatile Organic Liquids

Eased compliance requirements for storing volatile organic liquids, including petroleum products Read more »

Methylene Chloride Restrictions

Limited the use of the deadly chemical methylene chloride but exempted commercial uses Read more »

Risk Evaluation of Toxic SubstancesTrump sued

Limited the scope of how the EPA evaluates the risks of toxic chemicals available on the market

Ban on N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP)Trump sued

Withdrew a proposed ban of NMP, a toxic chemical used in paint strippers Read more »

Pesticide Applicators Rule

Adopted a pesticide spraying rule, narrower than the Obama-era rule, after a court loss Read more »

Chemical Disaster RuleTrump sued

Rescinded a chemical disaster rule aimed at improving safety at sites with dangerous chemicals Read more »

Risk Management Plans

Altered requirements for facilities that use extremely hazardous substances to develop risk management plans in case of accidental releases Read more »

Pesticide Impacts on Endangered Species

Revised how the government gauges pesticide effects on endangered species

Easy to overturn 6

Can be reversed by a simple act, such as signing an executive order or new directive

Farmworker Protection Standard

Unsuccessful effort to block Agricultural Worker Protection Standard Read more »

Chlorpyrifos BanTrump sued

Rejected a proposed ban on chlorpyrifos, a pesticide linked to neurological damage in children Read more »

Regulation of TrichlorethyleneTrump sued

Proposal would narrow the regulation of toxic solvents used in dry cleaning Read more »

Pyrethroid Pesticide Approval Process

Proposed relaxing restrictions in interim pesticide registration for pyrethroids Read more »

Low-level Radioactive Waste Disposal

Proposed allowing commercial nuclear reactors to dispose of radioactive waste, aside from spent fuel, in local landfills Read more »

Park Service Plastic Water Bottle Ban

Reversed rule restricting platic water bottle sales in national parks Read more »

Medium 6

Can be reversed only through more extensive action, such as rewriting a regulation or court ruling

Standards for Storing Volatile Organic Liquids

Eased compliance requirements for storing volatile organic liquids, including petroleum products Read more »

Methylene Chloride Restrictions

Limited the use of the deadly chemical methylene chloride but exempted commercial uses Read more »

Risk Evaluation of Toxic SubstancesTrump sued

Limited the scope of how the EPA evaluates the risks of toxic chemicals available on the market

Ban on N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP)Trump sued

Withdrew a proposed ban of NMP, a toxic chemical used in paint strippers Read more »

Pesticide Applicators Rule

Adopted a pesticide spraying rule, narrower than the Obama-era rule, after a court loss Read more »

Chemical Disaster RuleTrump sued

Rescinded a chemical disaster rule aimed at improving safety at sites with dangerous chemicals Read more »

Difficult 2

Can only be reversed through a lengthy regulatory process, act of Congress or court ruling

Risk Management Plans

Altered requirements for facilities that use extremely hazardous substances to develop risk management plans in case of accidental releases Read more »

Pesticide Impacts on Endangered Species

Revised how the government gauges pesticide effects on endangered species

Drilling and extraction

5 new protections added

Status of Trump’s rollbacks: 4 overturned 11 targeted 49 not yet targeted

The 61 rollbacks Trump enacted on drilling, mining and logging ranged from weakened oil worker safety on offshore platforms to extracting fossil fuels from public lands. Biden announced a moratorium on oil and gas drilling on Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and is reassessing a range of extractive activities including expanded timber operations in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest and coal leasing out West in the Lower 48.

Biden suedBiden action challenged in court

Trump suedTrump action challenged in court

Policy put in place by Biden administration

Can be reversed by a simple act, such as signing an executive order or new directive

Can be reversed only through more extensive action, such as rewriting a regulation or court ruling

Can only be reversed through a lengthy regulatory process, act of Congress or court ruling

Special Review for Activities in Roadless Areas in National Forests

The Agriculture Department’s acting deputy undersecretary for natural resources, Chris French, instructed that any activities in roadless areas such as road building, timber harvesting and mining must undergo special review by the Natural Resources and Environment Division. This effectively blocks any new road construction in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest. Read more »

Revitalization of Coal and Power Plant Communities

Establishes a new interagency council to devise economic strategies to shift communities away from fossil fuels Read more »

Eliminating fossil fuel subsidies

Instructed all agencies to identify existing fossil fuel subsidies and eliminate them from their FY 2021 budget request Read more »

No new federal oil and gas leasingBiden sued

Halted all new oil and gas leasing on federal lands and waters in order to conduct a thorough review Read more »

Secretarial Order 3395

Subjected all major DOI decisions, including awarding new permits, to approval by a senior Biden appointee. The department later revoked 70 drilling permits that had been approved by career appointees. Read more »

Canceling of Proposed Offshore Oil and Gas Sale in Alaska’s Cook Inlet

Canceled Cook Inlet OCS Oil & Gas Lease Sale 258, off Alaska’s southcentral coast, on the grounds that it conflicted with Biden’s EO 14008. Read more »

Energy & Infrastructure Executive Order

Instructed agencies to speed up the development of energy projects such as pipelines Read more »

Review of Designations Under the Antiquities ActTrump sued

Shrank two national monuments in Utah and called for changes to other national monuments Read more »

Keystone XL PipelineTrump sued

Biden rescinded the 2017 cross-permit Trump granted for the Keystone XL pipeline Read more »

Timber Harvesting on Federal Land

Proposal would make it easier to harvest timber on BLM land Read more »

Revoking Master Leasing Plans

Sped up oil and gas leasing on Bureau of Land Management lands Read more »

Natural Gas Exports Outside Trade Agreements

Extended 20-year authorization for natural gas exports to non-trade agreement countries Read more »

Drilling in Labyrinth CanyonTrump sued

Allowing drilling in Utah’s Labyrinth Canyon, in an area surrounded by wilderness Read more »

Rangeland Management Rule

Would allow ranchers to make nonmonetary settlements when they overgraze or illegally graze on public lands Read more »

Desert Energy Renewable Conservation Plan Amendment

Proposed scaling back protections in Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan Read more »

Financial Assurance for Offshore Drillers

Proposal to reduce the financial assurances oil and gas firms leasing offshore rights must supply Read more »

Changes to Oil and Gas Site Security

Proposed scaling back of security requirements for drilling on federal land Read more »

Royalty Rates for Non-Energy Minerals

Proposed reducing federal fees for non-energy minerals such as potash and phosphate Read more »

Oil Pipeline Spill Rules

Proposed scaling back rules governing oil pipeline spills Read more »

Public Lands Grazing Rules

Proposed overhauling grazing on Bureau of Land Management lands Read more »

USFS Oil and Gas Rules

Proposed speeding up the issuing of oil and gas permits on national forest land Read more »

USFS Locatable-Minerals Regulations

Proposed making it easier to locate minerals on national forest land Read more »

Offshore Five-Year Leasing Program

Proposed plan would expand drilling in the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans Read more »

Exploratory Arctic Drilling Rule

Proposed weakening standards governing oil and gas exploratory drilling in the Arctic Ocean Read more »

Royalty Valuation RuleTrump sued

Repealed an Obama-era rule raising federal royalties for oil, gas and coal leases Read more »

Pebble Mine in Alaska

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers allowed a controversial mine permit application but then denied it Read more »

LNG Exports Hazardous Materials RulesTrump sued

Amended hazardous materials rules to allow liquefied natural gas exports

Pandemic Royalty Rate Relief

Provided royalty relief to oil and gas firms while denying relief to renewable-energy companies Read more »

Big Cypress Seismic Testing

Allowed seismic testing in Big Cypress National Reserve without a permit Read more »

Federal Forest Management

Executive order to encourage logging on federal lands Read more »

Eastern Interior and Bering Glacier Public Land Order

Allowed state and tribal officials to lay claim to 1.3 million acres of Alaska land for development Read more »

Cross-Border PermittingTrump sued

Moved international border-crossing permit decisions to the White House, to speed pipelines Read more »

Farm Tap Regulations

Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration announced it would not enforce rules against operators that do not comply with farm tap regulations Read more »

Offsetting Public Lands Environmental Damage

Barred requiring users of public lands to offset their environmental damage unless specifically directed Read more »

Goodnews Bay Public Land Order

Removes protections from 229,715 acres in Alaska to allow for minerals extraction Read more »

Oceanic, Coastal and Great Lakes development

Instructed agencies to use coastal, oceanic and Great Lake resources for energy production Read more »

Climate Impacts of PipelinesTrump sued

Changed how regulators consider the greenhouse gas impacts of pipelines in environmental reviews Read more »

California Desert National Conservation Lands

Canceled move to ban mining on 1.3 million acres of California Desert National Conservation Lands Read more »

Sage Grouse Prioritization GuidanceTrump sued

Overturned guidance to protect sage grouse habitat Read more »

National MonumentsTrump sued
Arctic and Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf WithdrawalTrump sued

Made most of the Arctic Ocean and parts of the Atlantic Ocean open to oil and gas leasing Read more »

Offshore Leasing Plan

Instructed Interior to revise five-year offshore leasing plan to expand energy production Read more »

Oil and Natural Gas Industry Emissions Data

Withdrew a 2016 information collection request for greenhouse gas emissions from existing oil and gas operations Read more »

Dakota Access PipelineTrump sued

Approved construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline Read more »

Bank Lending on Fossil Fuel Projects

Biden paused an Office of Comptroller of the Currency rule finalized on Jan. 14, 2021 that barred banks from refusing to finance projects for certain sectors, such as fossil fuels. It was set to take effect April 1, 2021. Read more »

Curtail Protest Process for Federal Timber Sales

Proposed limiting protests on federal timber sales Read more »

Bering Sea-Western Interior Management Area Plan

Would make more than 13 million acres in the Western Bering Sea open to development Read more »

Tongass National Forest Roadless RuleTrump sued

Allowed road-building and logging in most of the Tongass National Forest Read more »

Transporting Liquified Gas by Rail

Allowed the bulk transport of liquified natural gas in rail tank cars Read more »

Financial Assurances for Hardrock MiningTrump sued

Withdrew rule that would ensure mining firms paid the cost of cleaning up their operations Read more »

Fracking Rules on Federal and Indian LandsTrump sued

Rescinded tighter fracking rules on federal and Indian lands Read more »

Copper Mine in Tonto National ForestTrump sued

Proposal would allow mining giants Rio Tinto and BHP to mine copper in Oak Flat, Ariz. Read more »

Mineral Leasing in Western Alaska

Opens 9.7 million acres in western Alaska to mineral leasing Read more »

Midas Gold Settlement Agreement

The Trump administration reached an agreement with Canadian-owned Midas Gold, over the objections of Idaho’s Nez Perce Tribe, to do a partial cleanup of the historical Stibnite Mine Site that clears the way for a massive open-pit gold mine. Read more »

National Petroleum Reserve-AlaskaTrump sued

Expanded drilling on the largest swath of federal land, in Alaska, by 7 million acres Read more »

Sonoran Desert National Monument Grazing Plan

Expanded grazing by amending the Sonoran Desert National Monument Grazing Plan Read more »

Tribal Energy Resource Agreements

Reduced the requirements that tribes face when they enter into energy agreements involving tribal land Read more »

Sage Grouse Protection Plan AmendmentsTrump sued

Eliminated most of the “Sagebrush Focal Areas” created to protect the imperiled sage grouse Read more »

Alton Coal Mine DevelopmentTrump sued

Determined that coal mining can take place in an area near Bryce Canyon National Park Read more »

Twin Metals Mine Leases

Revived mining leases near Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Read more »

Copper Filter Cake

Removed copper filter cake, which contains heavy metals, from EPA’s hazardous waste list Read more »

Disclosure of Foreign Payments for Mining Projects

Nullified an Obama-era rule requiring firms to disclose payments to foreign governments for mining projects Read more »

Blowout Preventer and Well Control RuleTrump sued

Weakened the requirement for oil firms to test fail-safe devices use to prevent oil spills Read more »

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

Lifted the ban on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge’s coastal plain Read more »

Thacker Pass Lithium Mine in Nevada

Approval for a lithium mine on BLM land that provides habitat for sage grouse, pronghorn antelope and a rare type of springsnail Read more »

Federal Oversight of Mine Safety Violations

Weakened federal oversight of mine safety and requirements to report safety violations Read more »

Drilling in Arctic National Wildlife RefugeTrump sued

Leased drilling rights to 552,000 acres in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Read more »

Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Safety

Rolled back offshore drilling equipment safety rules adopted after Deepwater Horizon disaster Read more »

Small-Scale Natural Gas Exports

Quickened approvals for small-scale natural gas exports to non-trade agreement countries Read more »

New 5

Policy put in place by Biden administration

Special Review for Activities in Roadless Areas in National Forests

The Agriculture Department’s acting deputy undersecretary for natural resources, Chris French, instructed that any activities in roadless areas such as road building, timber harvesting and mining must undergo special review by the Natural Resources and Environment Division. This effectively blocks any new road construction in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest. Read more »

Revitalization of Coal and Power Plant Communities

Establishes a new interagency council to devise economic strategies to shift communities away from fossil fuels Read more »

Eliminating fossil fuel subsidies

Instructed all agencies to identify existing fossil fuel subsidies and eliminate them from their FY 2021 budget request Read more »

No new federal oil and gas leasingBiden sued

Halted all new oil and gas leasing on federal lands and waters in order to conduct a thorough review Read more »

Secretarial Order 3395

Subjected all major DOI decisions, including awarding new permits, to approval by a senior Biden appointee. The department later revoked 70 drilling permits that had been approved by career appointees. Read more »

Easy to overturn 39

Can be reversed by a simple act, such as signing an executive order or new directive

Canceling of Proposed Offshore Oil and Gas Sale in Alaska’s Cook Inlet

Canceled Cook Inlet OCS Oil & Gas Lease Sale 258, off Alaska’s southcentral coast, on the grounds that it conflicted with Biden’s EO 14008. Read more »

Energy & Infrastructure Executive Order

Instructed agencies to speed up the development of energy projects such as pipelines Read more »

Review of Designations Under the Antiquities ActTrump sued

Shrank two national monuments in Utah and called for changes to other national monuments Read more »

Keystone XL PipelineTrump sued

Biden rescinded the 2017 cross-permit Trump granted for the Keystone XL pipeline Read more »

Timber Harvesting on Federal Land

Proposal would make it easier to harvest timber on BLM land Read more »

Revoking Master Leasing Plans

Sped up oil and gas leasing on Bureau of Land Management lands Read more »

Natural Gas Exports Outside Trade Agreements

Extended 20-year authorization for natural gas exports to non-trade agreement countries Read more »

Drilling in Labyrinth CanyonTrump sued

Allowing drilling in Utah’s Labyrinth Canyon, in an area surrounded by wilderness Read more »

Rangeland Management Rule

Would allow ranchers to make nonmonetary settlements when they overgraze or illegally graze on public lands Read more »

Desert Energy Renewable Conservation Plan Amendment

Proposed scaling back protections in Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan Read more »

Financial Assurance for Offshore Drillers

Proposal to reduce the financial assurances oil and gas firms leasing offshore rights must supply Read more »

Changes to Oil and Gas Site Security

Proposed scaling back of security requirements for drilling on federal land Read more »

Royalty Rates for Non-Energy Minerals

Proposed reducing federal fees for non-energy minerals such as potash and phosphate Read more »

Oil Pipeline Spill Rules

Proposed scaling back rules governing oil pipeline spills Read more »

Public Lands Grazing Rules

Proposed overhauling grazing on Bureau of Land Management lands Read more »

USFS Oil and Gas Rules

Proposed speeding up the issuing of oil and gas permits on national forest land Read more »

USFS Locatable-Minerals Regulations

Proposed making it easier to locate minerals on national forest land Read more »

Offshore Five-Year Leasing Program

Proposed plan would expand drilling in the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans Read more »

Exploratory Arctic Drilling Rule

Proposed weakening standards governing oil and gas exploratory drilling in the Arctic Ocean Read more »

Royalty Valuation RuleTrump sued

Repealed an Obama-era rule raising federal royalties for oil, gas and coal leases Read more »

Pebble Mine in Alaska

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers allowed a controversial mine permit application but then denied it Read more »

LNG Exports Hazardous Materials RulesTrump sued

Amended hazardous materials rules to allow liquefied natural gas exports

Pandemic Royalty Rate Relief

Provided royalty relief to oil and gas firms while denying relief to renewable-energy companies Read more »

Big Cypress Seismic Testing

Allowed seismic testing in Big Cypress National Reserve without a permit Read more »

Federal Forest Management

Executive order to encourage logging on federal lands Read more »

Eastern Interior and Bering Glacier Public Land Order

Allowed state and tribal officials to lay claim to 1.3 million acres of Alaska land for development Read more »

Cross-Border PermittingTrump sued

Moved international border-crossing permit decisions to the White House, to speed pipelines Read more »

Farm Tap Regulations

Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration announced it would not enforce rules against operators that do not comply with farm tap regulations Read more »

Offsetting Public Lands Environmental Damage

Barred requiring users of public lands to offset their environmental damage unless specifically directed Read more »

Goodnews Bay Public Land Order

Removes protections from 229,715 acres in Alaska to allow for minerals extraction Read more »

Oceanic, Coastal and Great Lakes development

Instructed agencies to use coastal, oceanic and Great Lake resources for energy production Read more »

Climate Impacts of PipelinesTrump sued

Changed how regulators consider the greenhouse gas impacts of pipelines in environmental reviews Read more »

California Desert National Conservation Lands

Canceled move to ban mining on 1.3 million acres of California Desert National Conservation Lands Read more »

Sage Grouse Prioritization GuidanceTrump sued

Overturned guidance to protect sage grouse habitat Read more »

National MonumentsTrump sued
Arctic and Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf WithdrawalTrump sued

Made most of the Arctic Ocean and parts of the Atlantic Ocean open to oil and gas leasing Read more »

Offshore Leasing Plan

Instructed Interior to revise five-year offshore leasing plan to expand energy production Read more »

Oil and Natural Gas Industry Emissions Data

Withdrew a 2016 information collection request for greenhouse gas emissions from existing oil and gas operations Read more »

Dakota Access PipelineTrump sued

Approved construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline Read more »

Medium 18

Can be reversed only through more extensive action, such as rewriting a regulation or court ruling

Bank Lending on Fossil Fuel Projects

Biden paused an Office of Comptroller of the Currency rule finalized on Jan. 14, 2021 that barred banks from refusing to finance projects for certain sectors, such as fossil fuels. It was set to take effect April 1, 2021. Read more »

Curtail Protest Process for Federal Timber Sales

Proposed limiting protests on federal timber sales Read more »

Bering Sea-Western Interior Management Area Plan

Would make more than 13 million acres in the Western Bering Sea open to development Read more »

Tongass National Forest Roadless RuleTrump sued

Allowed road-building and logging in most of the Tongass National Forest Read more »

Transporting Liquified Gas by Rail

Allowed the bulk transport of liquified natural gas in rail tank cars Read more »

Financial Assurances for Hardrock MiningTrump sued

Withdrew rule that would ensure mining firms paid the cost of cleaning up their operations Read more »

Fracking Rules on Federal and Indian LandsTrump sued

Rescinded tighter fracking rules on federal and Indian lands Read more »

Copper Mine in Tonto National ForestTrump sued

Proposal would allow mining giants Rio Tinto and BHP to mine copper in Oak Flat, Ariz. Read more »

Mineral Leasing in Western Alaska

Opens 9.7 million acres in western Alaska to mineral leasing Read more »

Midas Gold Settlement Agreement

The Trump administration reached an agreement with Canadian-owned Midas Gold, over the objections of Idaho’s Nez Perce Tribe, to do a partial cleanup of the historical Stibnite Mine Site that clears the way for a massive open-pit gold mine. Read more »

National Petroleum Reserve-AlaskaTrump sued

Expanded drilling on the largest swath of federal land, in Alaska, by 7 million acres Read more »

Sonoran Desert National Monument Grazing Plan

Expanded grazing by amending the Sonoran Desert National Monument Grazing Plan Read more »

Tribal Energy Resource Agreements

Reduced the requirements that tribes face when they enter into energy agreements involving tribal land Read more »

Sage Grouse Protection Plan AmendmentsTrump sued

Eliminated most of the “Sagebrush Focal Areas” created to protect the imperiled sage grouse Read more »

Alton Coal Mine DevelopmentTrump sued

Determined that coal mining can take place in an area near Bryce Canyon National Park Read more »

Twin Metals Mine Leases

Revived mining leases near Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Read more »

Copper Filter Cake

Removed copper filter cake, which contains heavy metals, from EPA’s hazardous waste list Read more »

Disclosure of Foreign Payments for Mining Projects

Nullified an Obama-era rule requiring firms to disclose payments to foreign governments for mining projects Read more »

Difficult 7

Can only be reversed through a lengthy regulatory process, act of Congress or court ruling

Blowout Preventer and Well Control RuleTrump sued

Weakened the requirement for oil firms to test fail-safe devices use to prevent oil spills Read more »

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

Lifted the ban on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge’s coastal plain Read more »

Thacker Pass Lithium Mine in Nevada

Approval for a lithium mine on BLM land that provides habitat for sage grouse, pronghorn antelope and a rare type of springsnail Read more »

Federal Oversight of Mine Safety Violations

Weakened federal oversight of mine safety and requirements to report safety violations Read more »

Drilling in Arctic National Wildlife RefugeTrump sued

Leased drilling rights to 552,000 acres in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Read more »

Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Safety

Rolled back offshore drilling equipment safety rules adopted after Deepwater Horizon disaster Read more »

Small-Scale Natural Gas Exports

Quickened approvals for small-scale natural gas exports to non-trade agreement countries Read more »

Infrastructure and permitting

2 new protections added

Status of Trump’s rollbacks: 5 overturned 3 targeted 19 not yet targeted

The Trump administration circumvented environmental rules to speed approval of major projects such as a four-lane highway that could crush desert tortoises in the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area and adopting changes that will curb public input in the development of highways, power plants and incinerators near communities.

Biden suedBiden action challenged in court

Trump suedTrump action challenged in court

Policy put in place by Biden administration

Can be reversed by a simple act, such as signing an executive order or new directive

Can be reversed only through more extensive action, such as rewriting a regulation or court ruling

Can only be reversed through a lengthy regulatory process, act of Congress or court ruling

Civilian Climate Corps

Established a new cadre of workers to help restore landscapes and help communities adapt to climate change Read more »

Doubling offshore wind development by 2030

Instructed agencies to expedite offshore wind development in order to double installed capacity by 2030 Read more »

Expedite Infrastructure Projects During Pandemic

Instructed agencies to expedite infrastructure projects during the pandemic Read more »

Guidance on Greenhouse Gas Emissions

President Biden rescinded Trump-era guidance that federal agencies no longer have to take a project’s long-term climate impacts into account Read more »

Executive Order 12653, on Climate Resilience

President Biden restored a 2013 executive order on preparing for climate change impacts Read more »

Federal Flood Protection Standards

President Biden restored federal flood standards Trump revoked in 2017 Read more »

“America First” Offshore Energy StrategyTrump sued

Revoked an Obama executive order promoting climate resilience in the northern Bering Sea region Read more »

Coastal Barrier Resources Sand PolicyTrump sued

Ruled it was legal to take sand from a protected area to replenish a beach elsewhere Read more »

Accelerating Infrastructure projects

Instructed agencies to invoke their emergency powers to speed up infrastructure projects Read more »

Rewriting of NEPA Procedures

Proposal would narrow the Transportation Department’s environmental reviews of major projects Read more »

EPA Cost-Benefit Rule

Proposed changing the way the EPA weighs costs and benefits of environmental regulation Read more »

Federal Flood Risk Management Standard

Would withdraw stiffer federal flood risk standards Read more »

Use of Radioactive Phosphogypsum in RoadsTrump sued

Allows radioactive phosphogypsum to be used in government road construction projects Read more »

Regulatory Relief To Support Economic Recovery

Citing the pandemic, instructed agencies to waive regulations to bolster the economy Read more »

Off-Road Vehicles at Factory Butte

Opened up 5,400 acres surrounding Utah’s Factory Butte to off-road vehicles Read more »

Fish and Wildlife Service Mitigation Policy

Revoked directive to minimize impacts on wildlife and land when approving development projects Read more »

Izembek National Wildlife RefugeTrump sued

Rolled back Obama-era policy to protect Alaska’s Izembek National Wildlife Refuge Read more »

Overhaul of Interior’s Environmental Analysis Process

Directed Interior Department to streamline its environmental review documents Read more »

Climate Change and National Parks

Withdrew 2016 order to consider climate change in the management of national parks Read more »

Executive Order: Climate Impacts on Infrasture Projects

Revoked Obama-era standards requiring that federal projects consider sea-level rise and other climate impacts Read more »

Ambler Mining RoadTrump sued

Granted a 50-year right-of-way for a 210-mile private mining road over an Alaskan roadless are that includes Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve Read more »

USFS NEPA Regulations

Sped up environmental review process for U.S. Forest Service projects Read more »

National Environmental Policy ActTrump sued

Limited the climate and environmental impact analysis of major federal actions Read more »

Use of Sand, Gravel, and/or Shell Resources Trump sued

Changed policy to allow coastal replenishment projects to use sand from protected ecosystems. Read more »

Streamlining Army Corps PermitsBiden sued

Streamlined Army Corps of Engineers permitting for pipelines and other projects Read more »

Red Cliffs National Conservation Area Highway

Allows construction of a four-lane highway in a protected area home to threatened desert tortoises Read more »

Yazoo Backwater Area Pumps ProjectTrump sued

Overturned a Clean Water Act veto of a project that will drain and damage Mississippi wetlands Read more »

Natural Gas Exports

Exempted exports of natural gas from environmental reviews Read more »

BLM’s Planning 2.0 Rule

Nullified the Bureau of Land Management’s updated planning rule Read more »

New 2

Policy put in place by Biden administration

Civilian Climate Corps

Established a new cadre of workers to help restore landscapes and help communities adapt to climate change Read more »

Doubling offshore wind development by 2030

Instructed agencies to expedite offshore wind development in order to double installed capacity by 2030 Read more »

Easy to overturn 18

Can be reversed by a simple act, such as signing an executive order or new directive

Expedite Infrastructure Projects During Pandemic

Instructed agencies to expedite infrastructure projects during the pandemic Read more »

Guidance on Greenhouse Gas Emissions

President Biden rescinded Trump-era guidance that federal agencies no longer have to take a project’s long-term climate impacts into account Read more »

Executive Order 12653, on Climate Resilience

President Biden restored a 2013 executive order on preparing for climate change impacts Read more »

Federal Flood Protection Standards

President Biden restored federal flood standards Trump revoked in 2017 Read more »

“America First” Offshore Energy StrategyTrump sued

Revoked an Obama executive order promoting climate resilience in the northern Bering Sea region Read more »

Coastal Barrier Resources Sand PolicyTrump sued

Ruled it was legal to take sand from a protected area to replenish a beach elsewhere Read more »

Accelerating Infrastructure projects

Instructed agencies to invoke their emergency powers to speed up infrastructure projects Read more »

Rewriting of NEPA Procedures

Proposal would narrow the Transportation Department’s environmental reviews of major projects Read more »

EPA Cost-Benefit Rule

Proposed changing the way the EPA weighs costs and benefits of environmental regulation Read more »

Federal Flood Risk Management Standard

Would withdraw stiffer federal flood risk standards Read more »

Use of Radioactive Phosphogypsum in RoadsTrump sued

Allows radioactive phosphogypsum to be used in government road construction projects Read more »

Regulatory Relief To Support Economic Recovery

Citing the pandemic, instructed agencies to waive regulations to bolster the economy Read more »

Off-Road Vehicles at Factory Butte

Opened up 5,400 acres surrounding Utah’s Factory Butte to off-road vehicles Read more »

Fish and Wildlife Service Mitigation Policy

Revoked directive to minimize impacts on wildlife and land when approving development projects Read more »

Izembek National Wildlife RefugeTrump sued

Rolled back Obama-era policy to protect Alaska’s Izembek National Wildlife Refuge Read more »

Overhaul of Interior’s Environmental Analysis Process

Directed Interior Department to streamline its environmental review documents Read more »

Climate Change and National Parks

Withdrew 2016 order to consider climate change in the management of national parks Read more »

Executive Order: Climate Impacts on Infrasture Projects

Revoked Obama-era standards requiring that federal projects consider sea-level rise and other climate impacts Read more »

Medium 4

Can be reversed only through more extensive action, such as rewriting a regulation or court ruling

Ambler Mining RoadTrump sued

Granted a 50-year right-of-way for a 210-mile private mining road over an Alaskan roadless are that includes Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve Read more »

USFS NEPA Regulations

Sped up environmental review process for U.S. Forest Service projects Read more »

National Environmental Policy ActTrump sued

Limited the climate and environmental impact analysis of major federal actions Read more »

Use of Sand, Gravel, and/or Shell Resources Trump sued

Changed policy to allow coastal replenishment projects to use sand from protected ecosystems. Read more »

Difficult 5

Can only be reversed through a lengthy regulatory process, act of Congress or court ruling

Streamlining Army Corps PermitsBiden sued

Streamlined Army Corps of Engineers permitting for pipelines and other projects Read more »

Red Cliffs National Conservation Area Highway

Allows construction of a four-lane highway in a protected area home to threatened desert tortoises Read more »

Yazoo Backwater Area Pumps ProjectTrump sued

Overturned a Clean Water Act veto of a project that will drain and damage Mississippi wetlands Read more »

Natural Gas Exports

Exempted exports of natural gas from environmental reviews Read more »

BLM’s Planning 2.0 Rule

Nullified the Bureau of Land Management’s updated planning rule Read more »

Accountability

3 new protections added

Status of Trump’s rollbacks: 2 overturned 0 targeted 1 not yet targeted

Biden has said he will change the way the federal government works, making environmental justice a top priority. He will also restore the role of science in decision-making across the entire federal government. That includes taking aim at one of the Environmental Protection Agency’s final acts under Trump: limiting the scientific data that can be used in the crafting of public health protections.

Biden suedBiden action challenged in court

Trump suedTrump action challenged in court

Policy put in place by Biden administration

Can be reversed by a simple act, such as signing an executive order or new directive

Can be reversed only through more extensive action, such as rewriting a regulation or court ruling

Planning for the Impact of Climate Change on Migration

Mandates a report within 180 days on how climate change will spur migration, including the international security implications of climate refugees and proposals for how the U.S. can provide foreign aid to alleviate global warming’s negative impacts. Read more »

Investments to Disadvantaged Communities

Mandated that 40 percent of all federal sustainability investments go to disadvantaged communities Read more »

New federal environmental justice offices

Established a new White House interagency council as well as new offices in the Justice and Health and Human Services Departments Read more »

Settlement Payments to Third Parties in Justice Department CasesTrump sued

Biden officials rescinded a policy that curbed funding of environmental and community projects through legal settlements and lawsuits Read more »

Interior “Open Science” Rule

Limits what scientific studies the Interior Department uses to craft rules Read more »

EPA Scientific Transparency RuleTrump sued

On Feb. 1 a federal judge in Montana vacated this rule, which restricted scientific studies the EPA considers in crafting public health rules Read more »

New 3

Policy put in place by Biden administration

Planning for the Impact of Climate Change on Migration

Mandates a report within 180 days on how climate change will spur migration, including the international security implications of climate refugees and proposals for how the U.S. can provide foreign aid to alleviate global warming’s negative impacts. Read more »

Investments to Disadvantaged Communities

Mandated that 40 percent of all federal sustainability investments go to disadvantaged communities Read more »

New federal environmental justice offices

Established a new White House interagency council as well as new offices in the Justice and Health and Human Services Departments Read more »

Easy to overturn 2

Can be reversed by a simple act, such as signing an executive order or new directive

Settlement Payments to Third Parties in Justice Department CasesTrump sued

Biden officials rescinded a policy that curbed funding of environmental and community projects through legal settlements and lawsuits Read more »

Interior “Open Science” Rule

Limits what scientific studies the Interior Department uses to craft rules Read more »

Medium 1

Can be reversed only through more extensive action, such as rewriting a regulation or court ruling

EPA Scientific Transparency RuleTrump sued

On Feb. 1 a federal judge in Montana vacated this rule, which restricted scientific studies the EPA considers in crafting public health rules Read more »

Water pollution

Status of Trump’s rollbacks: 0 overturned 6 targeted 7 not yet targeted

Trump eased restrictions on how companies store coal ash, weakened rules on dumping toxic waste from power plants into waterways and altered which wetlands and streams require federal oversight. Biden has said he will crack down on legacy pollution, particularly in vulnerable communities, and will prioritize upgrading the nation’s crumbling drinking-water infrastructure.

Biden suedBiden action challenged in court

Trump suedTrump action challenged in court

Can be reversed by a simple act, such as signing an executive order or new directive

Can be reversed only through more extensive action, such as rewriting a regulation or court ruling

Can only be reversed through a lengthy regulatory process, act of Congress or court ruling

County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund

Creates a loophole in the discharge of water pollution, despite Supreme Court ruling Read more »

Coal Ash Rollback, Phase 2

Proposed limiting the scope of an Obama-era coal ash rule Read more »

Temporary Dumping of PFAS ChemicalsTrump sued

Memo allowing the dumping of a toxic PFAS chemicals into nearby waterways Read more »

Delayed Electronic Reporting of Dumping Water Pollution

Delayed electronic reporting requirements for water pollution discharges by five years Read more »

Coal Ash Impoundments Closure

Allowed some coal ash impoundments to keep operating Read more »

Regulation of PerchlorateTrump sued

Reversed the finding that perchlorate, a toxic chemical, must be regulated nationwide Read more »

Cleanup Requirements for Industry

Weakens cleanup requirements for the power, oil and gas, and chemical manufacturing industries Read more »

Uranium Mines Groundwater Protection

Withdrew a proposed rule requiring groundwater protections in uranium mine operations Read more »

Power Plant Wastewater RuleTrump sued

Weakened rules on dumping toxic waste from power plants into waterways Read more »

Coal Ash Part ATrump sued

Extended the operating life of some coal ash ponds leaking toxic waste Read more »

Clean Water Act Section 401 RuleTrump sued

Weakened a Clean Water Act provision that states and tribes used to object to federal project approvals Read more »

Navigable Waters Protection RuleTrump sued

Scaled back federal protections for streams, wetlands and other waterways. Read more »

Stream Protection RuleTrump sued

Scrapped Obama rule requiring mining firms to reduce harm to streams Read more »

Easy to overturn 3

Can be reversed by a simple act, such as signing an executive order or new directive

County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund

Creates a loophole in the discharge of water pollution, despite Supreme Court ruling Read more »

Coal Ash Rollback, Phase 2

Proposed limiting the scope of an Obama-era coal ash rule Read more »

Temporary Dumping of PFAS ChemicalsTrump sued

Memo allowing the dumping of a toxic PFAS chemicals into nearby waterways Read more »

Medium 5

Can be reversed only through more extensive action, such as rewriting a regulation or court ruling

Delayed Electronic Reporting of Dumping Water Pollution

Delayed electronic reporting requirements for water pollution discharges by five years Read more »

Coal Ash Impoundments Closure

Allowed some coal ash impoundments to keep operating Read more »

Regulation of PerchlorateTrump sued

Reversed the finding that perchlorate, a toxic chemical, must be regulated nationwide Read more »

Cleanup Requirements for Industry

Weakens cleanup requirements for the power, oil and gas, and chemical manufacturing industries Read more »

Uranium Mines Groundwater Protection

Withdrew a proposed rule requiring groundwater protections in uranium mine operations Read more »

Difficult 5

Can only be reversed through a lengthy regulatory process, act of Congress or court ruling

Power Plant Wastewater RuleTrump sued

Weakened rules on dumping toxic waste from power plants into waterways Read more »

Coal Ash Part ATrump sued

Extended the operating life of some coal ash ponds leaking toxic waste Read more »

Clean Water Act Section 401 RuleTrump sued

Weakened a Clean Water Act provision that states and tribes used to object to federal project approvals Read more »

Navigable Waters Protection RuleTrump sued

Scaled back federal protections for streams, wetlands and other waterways. Read more »

Stream Protection RuleTrump sued

Scrapped Obama rule requiring mining firms to reduce harm to streams Read more »

Wildlife

1 new protection added

Status of Trump’s rollbacks: 1 overturned 10 targeted 16 not yet targeted

One of the hallmarks of former interior secretary David Bernhardt’s legacy has been the narrowing of safeguards for endangered wildlife. The northern spotted owl, whose forest habitat is disappearing; the Pacific walrus, which faces shrinking sea ice; and the Bryde’s whale, threatened by oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, are likely to receive enhanced protections under Biden.

Biden suedBiden action challenged in court

Trump suedTrump action challenged in court

Policy put in place by Biden administration

Can be reversed by a simple act, such as signing an executive order or new directive

Can be reversed only through more extensive action, such as rewriting a regulation or court ruling

Can only be reversed through a lengthy regulatory process, act of Congress or court ruling

Conserve public lands and waters

Set a goal of conserving 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030 Read more »

Sage Grouse Habitat ProtectionsTrump sued

Withdrew sage grouse protections spanning 10 million acres to allow drilling Read more »

Salmon and Smelt ProtectionsTrump sued

Relaxed environmental protections for salmon and smelt in California’s Central Valley Read more »

Endangered Species Act Consultations

Scaled back consultations under the Endangered Species Act Read more »

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Seismic Testing

Proposed seismic testing permit in the refuge would allow disturbance of polar bears Read more »

Brown Bear Hunting in Kenai National Wildlife Refuge

Proposed allowing the trapping and baiting of brown bears in Alaska’s Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Read more »

Endangered Species Pesticides Process

Rolled back inter-agency Endangered Species Act consultations on pesticides Read more »

Marine Monument fishing restrictionsTrump sued

Lifted all commericial fishing limits within the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument Read more »

National Wildlife Refuges Pesticide BanTrump sued

Withdrew a prohibition on using neonicotinoid pesticides and GMOs in national wildlife refuges Read more »

Controlling Canada Goose Populations

Made it legal to destroy Canada geese nests year-round Read more »

Elephant and Lion Trophy Imports

Lifted ban to allow for some elephant and lion trophy imports Read more »

Migratory Bird Treaty ActTrump sued

Reversed legal interpretation that killing scores birds by accident is subject to prosecution Read more »

Critical Habitat DesignationTrump sued

Prioritized industrial and other uses when making critical habitat designation Read more »

Harming Marine Mammals in Gulf of Mexico Oil and Gas Surveys

Allowed oil and gas operators to harm marine mammals while during surveys in the Gulf of Mexico Read more »

Spotted Owl’s Critical HabitatTrump sued

Shrank the spotted owl’s critical habitat by 3.4 million acres Read more »

Logging Large Trees in Eastern Oregon and Washington

Reversed a 25-year policy of barring the logging of trees with a diameter of 21 inches or more in national forests in eastern Oregon and Washington. Read more »

Veto of Driftnet Act

Vetoed bipartisan bill phasing out mile-long driftnets that entangle marine mammals and sharks Read more »

Black-footed Ferret Recovery

Scuttled a recovery site for the endangered black-footed ferret Read more »

Downlisting of American Burying BeetleTrump sued

Reclassified American burying beetle from endangered to threatened, despite ongoing threats Read more »

Atlantic Bluefin Tuna CatchTrump sued

Adopted rules with fewer safeguards for Atlantic bluefin tuna Read more »

Turtle-Excluders in Shrimp Trawl NetsTrump sued

Weakened rule for shrimp trawl nets that entangle sea turtles Read more »

Lead Ammunition and Fishing Tackle

Overturned a ban on the use of lead ammunition and fishing tackle on federal lands Read more »

Protections for the Pacific WalrusTrump sued

Denied Endangered Species Act protections to the Pacific walrus, which is threatened by climate change Read more »

Critical Habitat ExclusionsTrump sued

Requires consideration of financial impacts in designating critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act Read more »

Narrowing Critical Habitat DefinitionTrump sued

Narrowed the definition of what constitutes critical habitat for imperiled species Read more »

Hunting and Trapping in Alaska PreservesTrump sued

Reversed Obama-era ban on controversial hunting practices on some lands in Alaska Read more »

Changed Critical Habitat ApplicationTrump sued

Limited when the government identifies habitat as critical for an imperiled species Read more »

Hunting Predators in Alaska National Wildlife RefugesTrump sued

Overturned a ban on the hunting of predators in Alaskan wildlife refuges Read more »

New 1

Policy put in place by Biden administration

Conserve public lands and waters

Set a goal of conserving 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030 Read more »

Easy to overturn 10

Can be reversed by a simple act, such as signing an executive order or new directive

Sage Grouse Habitat ProtectionsTrump sued

Withdrew sage grouse protections spanning 10 million acres to allow drilling Read more »

Salmon and Smelt ProtectionsTrump sued

Relaxed environmental protections for salmon and smelt in California’s Central Valley Read more »

Endangered Species Act Consultations

Scaled back consultations under the Endangered Species Act Read more »

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Seismic Testing

Proposed seismic testing permit in the refuge would allow disturbance of polar bears Read more »

Brown Bear Hunting in Kenai National Wildlife Refuge

Proposed allowing the trapping and baiting of brown bears in Alaska’s Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Read more »

Endangered Species Pesticides Process

Rolled back inter-agency Endangered Species Act consultations on pesticides Read more »

Marine Monument fishing restrictionsTrump sued

Lifted all commericial fishing limits within the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument Read more »

National Wildlife Refuges Pesticide BanTrump sued

Withdrew a prohibition on using neonicotinoid pesticides and GMOs in national wildlife refuges Read more »

Controlling Canada Goose Populations

Made it legal to destroy Canada geese nests year-round Read more »

Elephant and Lion Trophy Imports

Lifted ban to allow for some elephant and lion trophy imports Read more »

Medium 12

Can be reversed only through more extensive action, such as rewriting a regulation or court ruling

Migratory Bird Treaty ActTrump sued

Reversed legal interpretation that killing scores birds by accident is subject to prosecution Read more »

Critical Habitat DesignationTrump sued

Prioritized industrial and other uses when making critical habitat designation Read more »

Harming Marine Mammals in Gulf of Mexico Oil and Gas Surveys

Allowed oil and gas operators to harm marine mammals while during surveys in the Gulf of Mexico Read more »

Spotted Owl’s Critical HabitatTrump sued

Shrank the spotted owl’s critical habitat by 3.4 million acres Read more »

Logging Large Trees in Eastern Oregon and Washington

Reversed a 25-year policy of barring the logging of trees with a diameter of 21 inches or more in national forests in eastern Oregon and Washington. Read more »

Veto of Driftnet Act

Vetoed bipartisan bill phasing out mile-long driftnets that entangle marine mammals and sharks Read more »

Black-footed Ferret Recovery

Scuttled a recovery site for the endangered black-footed ferret Read more »

Downlisting of American Burying BeetleTrump sued

Reclassified American burying beetle from endangered to threatened, despite ongoing threats Read more »

Atlantic Bluefin Tuna CatchTrump sued

Adopted rules with fewer safeguards for Atlantic bluefin tuna Read more »

Turtle-Excluders in Shrimp Trawl NetsTrump sued

Weakened rule for shrimp trawl nets that entangle sea turtles Read more »

Lead Ammunition and Fishing Tackle

Overturned a ban on the use of lead ammunition and fishing tackle on federal lands Read more »

Protections for the Pacific WalrusTrump sued

Denied Endangered Species Act protections to the Pacific walrus, which is threatened by climate change Read more »

Difficult 5

Can only be reversed through a lengthy regulatory process, act of Congress or court ruling

Critical Habitat ExclusionsTrump sued

Requires consideration of financial impacts in designating critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act Read more »

Narrowing Critical Habitat DefinitionTrump sued

Narrowed the definition of what constitutes critical habitat for imperiled species Read more »

Hunting and Trapping in Alaska PreservesTrump sued

Reversed Obama-era ban on controversial hunting practices on some lands in Alaska Read more »

Changed Critical Habitat ApplicationTrump sued

Limited when the government identifies habitat as critical for an imperiled species Read more »

Hunting Predators in Alaska National Wildlife RefugesTrump sued

Overturned a ban on the hunting of predators in Alaskan wildlife refuges Read more »

About this story

The Post assembled data on the Trump administration’s environmental regulatory rollbacks from several sources: the White House, the Interior Department, the Energy Department, the Commerce Department, the Transportation Department, the Justice Department, the EPA, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, Harvard Law School’s Environmental and Energy Law Program, Earthjustice, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Berkeley Center for Law, Energy & the Environment.

Illustrations by Aaron Steckelberg. First published Jan. 21, 2021, and periodically updated.

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