It’s been a difficult four years as the Trump administration rolled back countless environmental safeguards, leaving our communities and environment especially vulnerable to the impacts of mining, drilling, and fracking.
But even against the toughest of odds, you helped us win some big victories, from halting Pebble Mine to advancing state regulations that help protect communities from oil and gas pollution. I want to thank you for standing with us and continuing to fight during these difficult times. I’m excited to see what we can achieve together under this new administration.
The Biden-Harris administration has now taken office with the promise to address the climate crisis and to restore these environmental protections. Earthworks has set a bold agenda for President Biden’s first 100 days in office, calling on his administration to tackle these top environmental priorities:
Ø Reinstate Our Bedrock Public Health and Environmental Protections. Over the course of his presidency, Trump erased or weakened dozens of regulations designed to promote equity and protect communities, water, air, and sacred sites. The Biden administration must reinstate the environmental protections that Trump dismantled, including pausing midnight regulations.
Ø Restore America’s Leadership on Climate. After four years of the Trump administration’s climate change denial and contempt for international cooperation, it’s essential not only that the Biden administration rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement, but also take active global leadership in order to avert climate catastrophe.
Ø Transition from Fossil Fuels to Clean Energy. The Biden administration must hasten the transition away from fossil fuels and toward more just and equitable energy policies. The rejection of the Keystone XL Pipeline must be only the beginning of stopping the expansion of oil and gas facilities that sacrifice frontline communities and disproportionately impact historically marginalized people.
Ø Impose New Methane Pollution Standards. The Trump administration relentlessly attacked two critical Obama-era measures from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Bureau of Land Management which restricted methane pollution, an especially potent contributor to the climate crisis. We’re encouraging the Biden administration to not just restore but strengthen both measures and use the Clean Air Act to the fullest extent in order to cut oil and gas methane pollution by 65% by 2025.
Ø Declare a Climate Emergency. The planet faces an indisputable climate crisis. Declaring a climate emergency conveys the urgency of the climate crisis and unlocks specific statutory emergency powers to help accomplish the necessary just, equitable, and fair response—including powers to reinstate the crude oil export ban and promote rapid clean energy development.
Ø Protect Our Public Lands. The Trump administration prioritized industrial development of public lands in Alaska and approved plans for a private mining road through Alaska’s Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve. The Biden administration must issue an immediate moratorium on oil and gas leasing on all public lands and overturn those Trump administration’s plans.
Ø Advance Mining Reforms. The 1872 Mining Law lingers still from white colonization of Indigenous resources. It allows mining companies to inflict severe harm on our land, wildlife, sacred sites, and communities. The Biden administration can issue new rules under existing laws to keep mining pollution in check, restore equity, and empower land managers to deny mines on public lands.
Ø Protect Bristol Bay. Earthworks helped stop the proposed gold and copper Pebble Mine from moving forward by pressuring Morgan Stanley and other investors to back away from the massively destructive project. The Army Corps of Engineers denied the mine a permit after our expert shared an analysis of the inadequacy of the mining company’s mitigation plan. The Biden administration should now use the Clean Water Act to protect Bristol Bay from mining and permanently protect the salmon fishery and the communities who depend on it.
Ø Restore the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). President Trump promulgated new rules under NEPA that would further environmental injustice by reducing public participation in our government’s decisions. The Biden administration can reverse these changes to strengthen scientific and environmental reviews.
This is an ambitious agenda, but not an unrealistic one. Our chance to build a sustainable, equitable, and just future starts now, and I hope you’ll want to be part of it. You can help make this work a reality by joining our Sustainability Circle today!