On the schedule for President Biden’s first day on the job? Moving quickly to reverse Trump’s business and energy-first environmental policies. According to Gina McCarthy, President Biden’s national climate advisor, Biden will move immediately to sign more than a dozen executive orders today, one of which will direct federal officials to tackle 100 different projects meant to undo Trump’s environmental legacy.
President Trump signed the Great American Outdoors Act into law last year, permanently funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund and directing more money to national parks, but also presided over an Interior department that prioritized industry over environment.
Among the executive orders President Biden is expected to sign during his first afternoon as commander-in-chief, are ones directing that America rejoins the 2015 Paris Climate Accords, and a order to rescind the permit issued to the Keystone XL pipeline running across the Canadian/American border, halting construction of the project that has already begun in Canada. Biden will also immediately cease construction of the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico, a giant relief to conservationists in the Southwest, outraged by the construction of a wall through a sensitive and wild ecosystem.
“Today we are feeling the first rays of hope after four dark years where racial violence and injustice, destruction of our environment and disdain for climate science became standard operating procedure for a government that was supposed to represent us all,” said Jamie Williams, president of The Wilderness Society. “The Biden administration’s expected order to immediately begin tackling the climate crisis opens tremendous opportunity for communities across the country to come together and rebuild around this shared national goal.”
Biden is also planning to halt lease sales for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, leases opened by Trump’s administration just weeks ago. Within his broader push to undo Trump’s environmental decisions, Biden will also restore Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monuments to their original sizes, reversing the Trump administration’s shrinking and opening of them to oil and gas drilling.
In addition, Biden’s initial push will include directing federal agencies to enact stricter rules for gas mileage requirements for cars and trucks, and will set more stringent standards for carbon emissions by industry and air travel.
Top photo: Six Shooter Peaks, Bears Ears National Monument. Credit: BLM