50 Critical Environmental Reforms President Biden Can Enact Without Congress
An Environmental Article from All-Creatures.org

FROM Center for Biological Diversity
January 2021

The pandemic has also shown that our government is willing to take extraordinary action and spend trillions of dollars to intervene in the economy — just as it did in the 2008 financial crisis — to maintain the status quo of our economy and return to normalcy. Thus it is equally true that our society could invest trillions to take equally bold and transformative action to a green and sustainable economy that solves the climate crisis, ends habitat loss and stems the tide of extinction. If we choose not to act, the institutional problems that plague our country will worsen and multiply, and our planet will become unrecognizable and unlivable within decades.

fracking pads
Hydraulic fracking pads along the White River in Utah / Taylor McKinnon, EcoFlight

The Center for Biological Diversity released transition recommendations today detailing key actions the incoming Biden administration can take to address the extinction crisis and climate change without waiting on a divided Congress.

The report starts by recommending that President Biden rescind every single Trump executive order and other unilateral policy enacted by Trump’s political appointees. Then, it says, the administration should enact ambitious new regulations that go further than any presidents have to date, including when Biden was vice president.

“President-elect Biden said his administration wouldn’t just tinker around the edges, but instead would lock in progress no future president can roll back. Our recommendations are a roadmap for doing exactly that,” said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center. “By declaring that both the climate and extinction crises are true national emergencies and then acting accordingly, we can ensure our planet remains vibrant for generations to come.”

Today’s recommendations cover five key areas: cracking down on corruption and the influence of corporate polluters, addressing the climate crisis, protecting environmental and human health from dangerous chemicals, restoring abundant wildlife populations and strengthening safeguards for public lands.

The recommendations urge the incoming president to declare that both the climate crisis and the extinction crisis are national emergencies under the National Emergencies Act of 1976. That would unlock additional powers for every agency in the executive branch to devote resources to these crises.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is urged to implement a 100% traceability program for all wildlife trade to reduce the risks of another pandemic. The Service should also fully use the Pelly Amendment to impose sanctions on nations that flout international wildlife trade laws.

Recommendations to the Environmental Protection Agency include a complete revamp of programs to consider endangered species when setting pollution limits. That’s something the agency has never done, but it would result in far more protective pollution safeguards across the board.

“If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we must fundamentally reset our relationship with wildlife and the natural world,” said Hartl. “If we protect the planet’s most imperiled species, we’ll take care of people too. Their protection will give us cleaner air and water and less risk of another zoonotic pandemic sweeping across the globe.”



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