Tracking Biden’s environmental actions

The new president is unwinding Trump’s legacy while forging his own

New protectionsNew
protections

21

Added

8

Proposed

Status of Trump administration’s
environmental rollbacks

32

Overturned

70

Targeted

127

Not yet targeted

Updated May 7 at 3:02 p.m.

In just over three months, President Biden has begun to transform the nation’s energy and environmental landscape, according to a Washington Post analysis, by overturning 32 of former president Donald Trump’s policies and finalizing 21 of his own. From pausing new oil and gas leasing on public lands and waters to rejoining the Paris climate agreement, Biden has elevated the issue of climate change across the U.S. government and signaled a shift away from fossil fuels. Last month, he pledged the United States would cut its greenhouse gas emissions between 50 and 52 percent by the end of the decade compared with 2005 levels, a commitment that will trigger major changes in the ways Americans live, work and travel.

“I talked to the experts, and I see the potential for a more prosperous and equitable future. The signs are unmistakable. The science is undeniable,” Biden declared at the virtual climate summit he convened on Earth Day. “The United States isn’t waiting. We are resolving to take action.”

On Monday, his administration proposed its first major climate-pollution rule, targeting a class of powerful greenhouse gases used widely in refrigeration and air conditioning. The Environmental Protection Agency plans to cut the use and production of hydrofluorocarbons, which are thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide, by 85 percent in the next 15 years.

And on Thursday, the administration launched its biggest conservation initiative, dubbed “America the Beautiful,” which aims to protect 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030. But the report by the Interior, Commerce and Agriculture Departments provides few details on how it will achieve that sweeping vision, signaling the challenges that lie ahead.

The following day, the Interior Department scuttled a proposed rule that would have weakened safety requirements for drilling offshore in the Arctic Ocean, leaving in place standards adopted in 2016 that spokesman Tyler Cherry said “are critical to ensuring adequate safety and environmental protections for this sensitive ecosystem and Alaska Native subsistence activities.”

Biden pledged to cut U.S.’s greenhouse gas emissions by 50 to 52 percent by 2030, April 22
President Biden speaks to the virtual Leaders Summit on Climate from the East Room of the White House on Thursday in Washington.
President Biden speaks to the virtual Leaders Summit on Climate from the East Room of the White House on Thursday in Washington. (Evan Vucci/AP)

Still, much of Biden’s environmental agenda remains unfinished, and could face political head winds. Many congressional Republicans have expressed skepticism about the president’s infrastructure plan, which includes generous funding for electric vehicles, renewable projects and energy efficiency, as well as a new national clean electricity standard. The administration has yet to clearly define Biden’s pledge to protect 30 percent of the nation’s lands and waters, a commitment that could come into conflict with his push to expand solar and wind power.

And dozens of other policies are either under scrutiny or remain a work in progress. The administration has targeted more than 70 Trump-era regulatory rollbacks, according to The Post analysis, and has proposed eight new environmental initiatives that have yet to be finalized.

The oil and gas industry, for its part, has pledged to work with the new administration on some fronts while resisting several of its most liberal actions so far.

Anne Bradbury, chief executive of the American Exploration & Production Council, said in an interview that her members anticipated several of the steps Biden has taken, including denying a cross-border permit to the Keystone XL pipeline and a sweeping review of the federal oil and gas program.

“None of this took us by surprise,” Bradbury said. “It seems they’ve had a range of options, and in most cases, they’ve taken the most extreme option. So that’s been a concern.”

Some left-leaning environmental groups, for their part, argue that administration officials aren’t doing enough to settle the raft of lawsuits challenging Trump-era rules. Brett Hartl, government affairs director for the Center for Biological Diversity, said the Justice Department has asked the court in several cases to send rules back to agencies for review rather than vacate them outright.

Unless the administration changes its legal strategy, Hartl said, “we will be fighting for years to try to undo some of these Trump rules, with a lot of them undermining exactly what Biden is trying to do.”

Biden’s deputies continue to overhaul federal environmental policies. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland took action April 16 to unwind several of her predecessor’s orders aimed at promoting fossil fuel development, while elevating climate change priorities in the department.

She signed two executive orders, one of which established a climate task force that instructs Interior officials to prioritize environmental justice concerns, tribal rights and scientific transparency in decisions through the National Environmental Policy Act. The 50-year-old law requires federal officials to analyze the potential environmental impacts of major projects, such as pipelines and mining.

[Tourists and looters descend on Bears Ears as Biden mulls protections]

“At the Department of the Interior, I believe we have a unique opportunity to make our communities more resilient to climate change and to help lead the transition to a clean energy economy,” Haaland said in a statement. “These steps will align the Interior Department with the President’s priorities and better position the team to be a part of the climate solution.”

These moves are the start of 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-fuel 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 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, although 30 affect wildlife and 28 relate to infrastructure and planning. Although 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

7 new protections added5 proposed
Status of Trump’s rollbacks: 7 overturned 26 targeted 33 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

New 12

Easy to overturn 24

Medium 31

Difficult 11

Policy put in place or proposed by the 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

Cutting U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 50 to 52 percent by 2030

President Biden pledged the U.S. would cut its greenhouse gas emissions by between 50 and 52 percent, compared to 2005 levels, by the end of the decade. Read more »

Launching Interior Department climate change task force

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on April 16, 2021 signed Secretarial Order 3399, establishing a climate task force and instructing the department to prioritize environmental justice concerns, tribal rights and scientific transparency in decisions through the National Environmental Policy Act. Read more »

Establishing Department of Defense climate working group

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin established the Defense Climate Working Group to incorporate climate risk analysis into all of its operations and assess how it can curb the department's greenhouse gas emissions. Read more »

Elevating climate finance

President Biden instructed the Treasury Secretary 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 »

Promoting 'climate-smart' agriculture and forestry

President Biden instructed the Agriculture Secretary to develop a plan within 90 day to spur 'climate-smart' farming and forestry strategies. Read more »

Transitioning to a clean federal vehicle fleet

President Biden mandated buying clean and zero-emission vehicles for the federal fleet Read more »

Making climate change a national security priority

President Biden ordered national security agencies to report within 90 days on integrating climate change into their work Read more »

Doubling climate aid to developing countries by 2024

President Biden promised to double the annual public climate financing development aid the U.S. gives to developing countries by 2024. Read more »

Funding breakthrough climate technology and demonstration projects

President Biden proposed spending $35 billion on breakthrough climate technology and $15 billion on climate-related demonstrated projects. Read more »

Proposing Energy Efficiency and Clean Electricity Standard

President Biden proposed an "Energy Efficiency and Clean Electricity Standard" that would require utilities to get a percentage of their power from carbon-free sources. Read more »

Permitting for the Vineyard Wind Project

The Interior Department's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management signed off on the final environmental review for Vineyard Wind, an 800-megawatt offshore wind project. Read more »

Phasing down hydrofluorocarbons

EPA proposed phasing down the production and import of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), potent greenhouse gases used in refrigeration and air conditioning, 85 percent by 2036. Read more »

Targeting funding to combat cookstove pollution overseas

EPA Administrator Michael Regan announced the agency would resume funding the U.N. Foundation's Clean Cooking Alliance, after Trump officials cut a $1.1 million grant to the group in 2017. Read more »

Phasing out certain HFC uses

The EPA finalized a list of more climate-friendly refrigerants that could substitute for hydrofluorocarbons, potent greenhouse gases. Read more »

Rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement

President Biden rejoined the 2015 Paris accord, from which Donald Trump had withdrawn, on his first day in office. Read more »

Ratifying climate super-pollutant treaty

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

Repealing the Clean Power PlanTrump sued

The D.C. Circuit vacated a Trump rule relaxing Obama-era greenhouse gas emissions limits on power plants. Read more »

Revoking California's Clean Air Act waiverTrump sued

Transportation Department and Environmental Protection Agency officials have both taken steps to restore California's waiver to regulate air pollution under the Clean Air Act. Read more »

Revoking Limetree Bay refinery permit

The Biden administration withdrew a plantwide permit for Limetree Bay refinery, whose operations disproportionately affect poor communities on St. Croix. The Trump administration, which issued the permit in December 2020, based the pollution levels on the operations of an old refinery that processed more than twice as much oil. Read more »

Limiting climate projections at Interior

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

Changing test procedure for electric motors

The BIden administration is reexamining a Trump proposed rule that would allow manufacturers to use alternative standards to test small-motor efficiency. Read more »

Delaying energy-efficiency rulesTrump sued

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

Rescining power plant emission limits during startup and shutdown

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

Recalculating the social cost of carbonBiden sued

The Biden administration reestablished the panel that formulates the social cost of carbon, an estimate for the damage caused by climate change for federal cost-benefit analyses. As an interim measure, it placed the figure at $51 per ton of carbon dioxide released into the air. Read more »

Granting federal coal waste permits

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 »

Changing New Source Review guidance

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

Directing climate modeling at Interior

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

Weakening the regional haze ruleTrump sued

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

Lifting E15 summertime ban

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

Finalizing ozone National Ambient Air Quality StandardsTrump sued

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

Setting emissions standards for major industries

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

Disbanding 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 »

Paying the U.S. share of the Green Climate Fund

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

Withdrawing climate guidance for federal departments and agencies

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

Rescinding coal leasing moratoriumTrump sued

The Trump administration reversed an Obama-era moratorium on federal coal leasing through Secretarial Order 3348, on March 29, 2017. The Biden administration rescinded that order, and is weighing whether to reimpose the moratorium on coal leasing. Read more »

Curtailing application of CO2 limitsTrump sued

On April 5, 2021, a federal court vacated the Trump-era policy that curbs CO2 only in sectors that account for at least 3 percent of U.S. emissions. Read more »

Withdrawing test procedures for conventional cooking tops

The Biden administration is reconsidering a Trump proposal to withdraw test procedures for conventional cooking tops Read more »

Imposing new energy-efficiency standardsTrump sued

On April 1, 2021, the Biden administration proposed overhauling a Trump rule that made it more difficult to impose stricter energy-efficiency rules. Read more »

Weakening the lightbulb efficiency ruleTrump sued

The Biden administration is reconsidering Trump's reversal of an Obama-era rule making lightbulbs more efficient. Read more »

Scaling back New Source Performance Standards for oil and gas

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

Weakening washer and dryer efficiency standardsTrump sued

The Biden administration is reconsidering a rule exempting some clothes washers and dryers from current energy- and water-efficiency standards. Read more »

Granting a waiver on energy-efficiency rules for manufacturersTrump sued

The Biden administration is reconsidering a rule that grants manufacturers a waiver from uniform energy-efficiency test procedures. Read more »

Changing cost-benefit Rule for air policiesTrump sued

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

Restricting 401(k) plan climate requirements

The Biden administration indicated in court on March 10 it will not enforce this rule, which prevents environmental, social and government funds from being the default in 401(k) investments. Read more »

Rescinding the "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 »

Imposing cost-benefit test on appliance standardsTrump sued

The Biden administration is reviewing a Trump rule requiring a comparative analysis of the relative benefits and burdens of potential energy conservation standards for appliances. Read more »

Setting CO2 standards for cars and SUVsTrump sued

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

Weakening landfill emissions guidelinesTrump sued

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

Overhauling the BLM methane ruleTrump sued

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

Reassessing mercury and air toxics standardsTrump sued

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

Withdrawing fuel-efficiency measure for tires

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

Limiting proxy voting related to climate change

The Biden administration indicated in court on March 10 that it will not enforce this rule, which makes it more difficult to hold proxy and shareholder votes on environmental, social and governance grounds. Read more »

Reducing power plant mercury and air toxics standards

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

Easing oil and gas industry methane controlsTrump sued

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

Changing 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 »

Relaxed coal refuse ruleTrump sued

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

Approving Jordan Cove energy projectTrump sued

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

Reversing leak detection and repair rules for hydrofluorcarbonsTrump sued

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

Creating self-audit program for oil and gas facilities

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

Rescinding clean fuels grant program

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

Withdrawing manufactured housing energy use

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

Changing cross-state air pollution requirementsTrump sued

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

Denying Clean Air Act Section 126 petitionsTrump sued

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

Reversing sewage treatment air pollutant standards

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

Weakening furnace and water heater efficiency

The Biden administration is reviewing Trump's move to withdraw efficiency standards for residential furnaces, commercial water heaters and gas appliances. Read more »

Weakening showerhead efficiency testing

The Biden administration is examining a rule relaxing efficiency standards for showerheads, letting them use unlimited amounts of water Read more »

Weakening dishwasher energy standards

The BIden administration is reconsidering a rule that weakened energy-efficiency standards for dishwashers. Read more »

Lifting methane limits for oil and gas operationsTrump sued

The Senate passed a resolution on April 28 under the Congressional Review Act repealing this Trump-era policy, which eliminated methane emissions control requirements for all oil and gas operations. The resolution needs to be adopted by the House and signed by President Biden before taking effect. Read more »

Creating new power plant emissions accounting

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

Weakening offshore air quality rule

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

Relaxing industrial facilities emissions

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

Managing air emissions in Indian Country

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

Easing reporting Requirements for Large Animal FarmsTrump sued

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

Revising commercial and industrial solid waste standards

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

Adopting petroleum refinery sector rule

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

New 12

Policy put in place or proposed by the Biden administration

Cutting U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 50 to 52 percent by 2030

President Biden pledged the U.S. would cut its greenhouse gas emissions by between 50 and 52 percent, compared to 2005 levels, by the end of the decade. Read more »

Launching Interior Department climate change task force

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on April 16, 2021 signed Secretarial Order 3399, establishing a climate task force and instructing the department to prioritize environmental justice concerns, tribal rights and scientific transparency in decisions through the National Environmental Policy Act. Read more »

Establishing Department of Defense climate working group

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin established the Defense Climate Working Group to incorporate climate risk analysis into all of its operations and assess how it can curb the department's greenhouse gas emissions. Read more »

Elevating climate finance

President Biden instructed the Treasury Secretary 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 »

Promoting 'climate-smart' agriculture and forestry

President Biden instructed the Agriculture Secretary to develop a plan within 90 day to spur 'climate-smart' farming and forestry strategies. Read more »

Transitioning to a clean federal vehicle fleet

President Biden mandated buying clean and zero-emission vehicles for the federal fleet Read more »

Making climate change a national security priority

President Biden ordered national security agencies to report within 90 days on integrating climate change into their work Read more »

Doubling climate aid to developing countries by 2024

President Biden promised to double the annual public climate financing development aid the U.S. gives to developing countries by 2024. Read more »

Funding breakthrough climate technology and demonstration projects

President Biden proposed spending $35 billion on breakthrough climate technology and $15 billion on climate-related demonstrated projects. Read more »

Proposing Energy Efficiency and Clean Electricity Standard

President Biden proposed an "Energy Efficiency and Clean Electricity Standard" that would require utilities to get a percentage of their power from carbon-free sources. Read more »

Permitting for the Vineyard Wind Project

The Interior Department's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management signed off on the final environmental review for Vineyard Wind, an 800-megawatt offshore wind project. Read more »

Phasing down hydrofluorocarbons

EPA proposed phasing down the production and import of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), potent greenhouse gases used in refrigeration and air conditioning, 85 percent by 2036. Read more »

Easy to overturn 24

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

Targeting funding to combat cookstove pollution overseas

EPA Administrator Michael Regan announced the agency would resume funding the U.N. Foundation's Clean Cooking Alliance, after Trump officials cut a $1.1 million grant to the group in 2017. Read more »

Phasing out certain HFC uses

The EPA finalized a list of more climate-friendly refrigerants that could substitute for hydrofluorocarbons, potent greenhouse gases. Read more »

Rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement

President Biden rejoined the 2015 Paris accord, from which Donald Trump had withdrawn, on his first day in office. Read more »

Ratifying climate super-pollutant treaty

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

Repealing the Clean Power PlanTrump sued

The D.C. Circuit vacated a Trump rule relaxing Obama-era greenhouse gas emissions limits on power plants. Read more »

Revoking California's Clean Air Act waiverTrump sued

Transportation Department and Environmental Protection Agency officials have both taken steps to restore California's waiver to regulate air pollution under the Clean Air Act. Read more »

Revoking Limetree Bay refinery permit

The Biden administration withdrew a plantwide permit for Limetree Bay refinery, whose operations disproportionately affect poor communities on St. Croix. The Trump administration, which issued the permit in December 2020, based the pollution levels on the operations of an old refinery that processed more than twice as much oil. Read more »

Limiting climate projections at Interior

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

Changing test procedure for electric motors

The BIden administration is reexamining a Trump proposed rule that would allow manufacturers to use alternative standards to test small-motor efficiency. Read more »

Delaying energy-efficiency rulesTrump sued

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

Rescining power plant emission limits during startup and shutdown

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

Recalculating the social cost of carbonBiden sued

The Biden administration reestablished the panel that formulates the social cost of carbon, an estimate for the damage caused by climate change for federal cost-benefit analyses. As an interim measure, it placed the figure at $51 per ton of carbon dioxide released into the air. Read more »

Granting federal coal waste permits

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 »

Changing New Source Review guidance

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

Directing climate modeling at Interior

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

Weakening the regional haze ruleTrump sued

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

Lifting E15 summertime ban

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

Finalizing ozone National Ambient Air Quality StandardsTrump sued

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

Setting emissions standards for major industries

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

Disbanding 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 »

Paying the U.S. share of the Green Climate Fund

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

Withdrawing climate guidance for federal departments and agencies

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

Medium 31

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

Rescinding coal leasing moratoriumTrump sued

The Trump administration reversed an Obama-era moratorium on federal coal leasing through Secretarial Order 3348, on March 29, 2017. The Biden administration rescinded that order, and is weighing whether to reimpose the moratorium on coal leasing. Read more »

Curtailing application of CO2 limitsTrump sued

On April 5, 2021, a federal court vacated the Trump-era policy that curbs CO2 only in sectors that account for at least 3 percent of U.S. emissions. Read more »

Withdrawing test procedures for conventional cooking tops

The Biden administration is reconsidering a Trump proposal to withdraw test procedures for conventional cooking tops Read more »

Imposing new energy-efficiency standardsTrump sued

On April 1, 2021, the Biden administration proposed overhauling a Trump rule that made it more difficult to impose stricter energy-efficiency rules. Read more »

Weakening the lightbulb efficiency ruleTrump sued

The Biden administration is reconsidering Trump's reversal of an Obama-era rule making lightbulbs more efficient. Read more »

Scaling back New Source Performance Standards for oil and gas

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

Weakening washer and dryer efficiency standardsTrump sued

The Biden administration is reconsidering a rule exempting some clothes washers and dryers from current energy- and water-efficiency standards. Read more »

Granting a waiver on energy-efficiency rules for manufacturersTrump sued

The Biden administration is reconsidering a rule that grants manufacturers a waiver from uniform energy-efficiency test procedures. Read more »

Changing cost-benefit Rule for air policiesTrump sued

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

Restricting 401(k) plan climate requirements

The Biden administration indicated in court on March 10 it will not enforce this rule, which prevents environmental, social and government funds from being the default in 401(k) investments. Read more »

Rescinding the "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 »

Imposing cost-benefit test on appliance standardsTrump sued

The Biden administration is reviewing a Trump rule requiring a comparative analysis of the relative benefits and burdens of potential energy conservation standards for appliances. Read more »

Setting CO2 standards for cars and SUVsTrump sued

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

Weakening landfill emissions guidelinesTrump sued

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

Overhauling the BLM methane ruleTrump sued

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

Reassessing mercury and air toxics standardsTrump sued

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

Withdrawing fuel-efficiency measure for tires

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

Limiting proxy voting related to climate change

The Biden administration indicated in court on March 10 that it will not enforce this rule, which makes it more difficult to hold proxy and shareholder votes on environmental, social and governance grounds. Read more »

Reducing power plant mercury and air toxics standards

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

Easing oil and gas industry methane controlsTrump sued

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

Changing 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 »

Relaxed coal refuse ruleTrump sued

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

Approving Jordan Cove energy projectTrump sued

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

Reversing leak detection and repair rules for hydrofluorcarbonsTrump sued

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

Creating self-audit program for oil and gas facilities

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

Rescinding clean fuels grant program

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

Withdrawing manufactured housing energy use

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

Changing cross-state air pollution requirementsTrump sued

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

Denying Clean Air Act Section 126 petitionsTrump sued

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

Reversing sewage treatment air pollutant standards

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

Difficult 11

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

Weakening furnace and water heater efficiency

The Biden administration is reviewing Trump's move to withdraw efficiency standards for residential furnaces, commercial water heaters and gas appliances. Read more »

Weakening showerhead efficiency testing

The Biden administration is examining a rule relaxing efficiency standards for showerheads, letting them use unlimited amounts of water Read more »

Weakening dishwasher energy standards

The BIden administration is reconsidering a rule that weakened energy-efficiency standards for dishwashers. Read more »

Lifting methane limits for oil and gas operationsTrump sued

The Senate passed a resolution on April 28 under the Congressional Review Act repealing this Trump-era policy, which eliminated methane emissions control requirements for all oil and gas operations. The resolution needs to be adopted by the House and signed by President Biden before taking effect. Read more »

Creating new power plant emissions accounting

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

Weakening offshore air quality rule

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

Relaxing industrial facilities emissions

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

Managing air emissions in Indian Country

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

Easing reporting Requirements for Large Animal FarmsTrump sued

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

Revising commercial and industrial solid waste standards

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

Adopting 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

Easy to overturn 6

Medium 6

Difficult 2

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

Weakening farmworker protection standard

Unsuccessful effort to block Agricultural Worker Protection Standard. Read more »

Delaying the chlorpyrifos banTrump sued

The Trump EPA rejected a proposed ban on chlorpyrifos, a pesticide linked to neurological damage in children. On April 29 the Ninth Circuit ruled the agency must ban it, unless it can demonstrate safe uses in some instances. Read more »

Narrowing regulation of toxic solventsTrump sued

Proposal would narrow the regulation of toxic solvents used in dry cleaning, known as trichlorethylene. Read more »

Changing pyrethroid pesticide approval process

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

Easing low-level radioactive waste disposal

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

Jettisoning the Park Service plastic water bottle ban

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

Easing standards for storing volatile organic liquids

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

Delaying methylene chloride restrictions

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

Evaluating the risks of toxic substancesTrump sued

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

Banning N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP)Trump sued

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

Implementing the pesticide applicators rule

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

Delaying the chemical disaster ruleTrump sued

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

Altering risk management plans

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

Revising pesticide rules for 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

Weakening farmworker protection standard

Unsuccessful effort to block Agricultural Worker Protection Standard. Read more »

Delaying the chlorpyrifos banTrump sued

The Trump EPA rejected a proposed ban on chlorpyrifos, a pesticide linked to neurological damage in children. On April 29 the Ninth Circuit ruled the agency must ban it, unless it can demonstrate safe uses in some instances. Read more »

Narrowing regulation of toxic solventsTrump sued

Proposal would narrow the regulation of toxic solvents used in dry cleaning, known as trichlorethylene. Read more »

Changing pyrethroid pesticide approval process

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

Easing low-level radioactive waste disposal

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

Jettisoning the 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

Easing standards for storing volatile organic liquids

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

Delaying methylene chloride restrictions

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

Evaluating the risks of toxic substancesTrump sued

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

Banning N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP)Trump sued

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

Implementing the pesticide applicators rule

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

Delaying the 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

Altering risk management plans

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

Revising pesticide rules for endangered species

Revised how the government gauges pesticide effects on endangered species.

Drilling and extraction

7 new protections added1 proposed
Status of Trump’s rollbacks: 12 overturned 16 targeted 44 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

New 8

Easy to overturn 43

Medium 22

Difficult 7

Policy put in place or proposed by the 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

Postponing June 2021 onshore lease sales

Biden officials canceled second-quarter lease sales, as part of its ongoing pause on new federal leasing. Read more »

Postponing March 2021 lease sales in Colorado, Montana, Utah and Wyoming

The Interior Department postponed quarterly lease sales in Colorado, Montana, Utah and Wyoming "to confirm the adequacy of underlying environmental analysis." Read more »

Reviewing activities in roadless areas in national forests

Biden officials instructed that any activities in roadless areas must undergo special review, effectively barring logging in Alaska's Tongass National Forest. Read more »

Launching coal and power plant community task force

President Biden established a new interagency council to devise economic strategies to shift communities away from fossil fuels. Read more »

Eliminating fossil fuel subsidies

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

Pausing new federal oil and gas leasingBiden sued

President Biden halted all new oil and gas leasing on federal lands and waters in order to conduct a full review. Read more »

Launching review of significant Interior Department decisions

In Secretarial Order 3395, Biden officials subjected all major Interior Department decisions, including awarding new permits, to approval by a senior political appointee. Read more »

Plugging abandoned oil and gas wells and restoring mining areas

President Biden proposed spending $16 billion on plugging abandoned oil and gas wells, and restoring lands that had been damaged by mining. Read more »

Weakening exploratory Arctic drilling rule

The Biden administration withdrew a proposed rule weakening standards governing oil and gas exploratory drilling in the Arctic Ocean on May 7. As a result, the Obama-era rule adopted in 2016 remains in effect. Read more »

Revoking Trump Interior secretarial orders

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on April 16, 2021 signed Secretarial Order 3398, which reversed 12 secretarial orders issued under President Trump promoting fossil fuel development on public lands and waters. Read more »

Setting priorities for the Outer Continental Shelf

Biden officials issued a new solicitor's opinion on April 9, 2021 to override M-Opinion 37059, which prioritized offshore energy uses above other activities, including fishing. Read more »

Amending the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan

The Biden administration terminated a proposal scaling back protections in the plan Read more »

Permitting a copper mine in Tonto National ForestTrump sued

Biden officials rescinded a proposal that would have allowed mining giants Rio Tinto and BHP to mine copper in Oak Flat, Ariz. Read more »

Restoring the Hammond family's grazing permits Trump sued

Biden officials reversed Trump Interior Secretary David Bernhardt's move to award 10-year grazing permits to Hammond Ranches, whose owners had been convicted of arson in 2012 Read more »

Canceling Lease Sale 257 for the Gulf of Mexico, Outer Continental Shelf

Interior officials rescinded the Record of Decision for a region-wide lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico. Read more »

Canceling Alaska offshore oil and gas sale

Interior canceled Cook Inlet OCS Oil & Gas Lease Sale 258, off Alaska's southcentral coast, saying it conflicted with Biden's EO 14008 Read more »

Accelerating energy permitting

President Biden reversed a Trump-era executive order instructing agencies to speed up the development of energy projects such as pipelines. Read more »

Reviewing Antiquities Act designationsTrump sued

President Biden ordered a review of President Trump's move to shrink two national monuments in Utah and call for changes to other national monuments. Read more »

Blocking the Keystone XL PipelineTrump sued

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

Revising Central Yukon Draft Resource Management Plan

Biden officials extended the comment period for a draft management plan affecting 13 million acres of public land in Alaska by three months. Read more »

Revising rangeland management rule

The Biden administration extended the comment period for this proposed rule, which would allow ranchers to make nonmonetary settlements when they overgraze or illegally graze on public lands, by 60 days beyond the Feb. 16, 2021 deadline for public input. Read more »

Scaling back federal royalties reformTrump sued

The Biden administration started to reassess a rule overturning higher federal royalties for oil, gas and coal leases adopted at the end of the Obama administration. On April 14, it delayed the effective date of the rule to Nov. 1, 2021. Read more »

Expanding timber harvesting on federal land

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

Revoking Master Leasing PlansTrump sued

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

Boosting natural gas exports outside trade agreements

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

Easing financial assurance requirements for offshore drillers

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

Changing oil and gas site security rules

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

Changing royalty rates for non-energy minerals

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

Scaling back oil pipeline spill rules

Proposed scaling back rules governing oil pipeline spills. Read more »

Overhauling public lands grazing rules

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

Promoting oil and gas development on Forest Service land

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

Easing minerals development on Forest Service land

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

Proposing five-year offshore leasing draft plan

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

Permitting Pebble Mine in Alaska

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

Changing hazardous materials rules for liquified gas exportsTrump sued

Amended hazardous materials rules to allow liquefied natural gas exports.

Providing pandemic royalty rate relief

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

Allowing Big Cypress seismic testing

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

Revising federal forest management

Executive order to encourage logging on federal lands. Read more »

Changing the management of Eastern Interior and Bering Glacier public lands

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

Shifting responsibility for cross-border permittingTrump sued

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

Relaxing enforcement of pipeline 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 »

Changing managment of Goodnews Bay public lands

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

Promoting oceanic, coastal and Great Lakes development

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

Narrowing climate Impacts of pipelinesTrump sued

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

Changing protections for California Desert National Conservation Lands

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

Reassessing national monumentsTrump sued

Shrank two national monuments in Utah. Read more »

Withdrawing areas in the Arctic and Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf from drillingTrump sued

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

Rewriting offfshore leasing plan

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

Collecting 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 »

Permitting the Dakota Access PipelineTrump sued

Approved construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Read more »

Harming of marine mammals through Alaska offshore oil and gas activitiesBiden suedTrump sued

A federal court reversed the Trump administration's authorization of a petroleum company, Hilcorp Alaska LLC, to “take” marine mammals incidental to oil and gas operations in Cook Inlet. Read more »

Renewing Twin Metals Mine leases

The Biden administration asked for a pause in litigation over the Trump administration's move to revive mining leases near Minnesota's Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. A federal judge granted the motion, that will allow the Agriculture and Interior Departments to review the matter until June 21, 2021. Read more »

Dictating bank lending policies for 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 »

Curtailing protest process for federal timber sales

Proposed limiting protests on federal timber sales. Read more »

Promoting energy extraction in Bering Sea-Western Interior Management Area

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

Permitting ConocoPhillips' Willow Project on the National Petroleum Reserve-AlaskaBiden sued

Biden is reexamining the Trump administration's approval of ConocoPhillips Willow Project on the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, which which would allow the construction of a major oil processing facility that could produce up to 160,000 barrels of oil a day during its 30-year operation. Read more »

Lifting 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 »

Weakening financial assurances for hardrock miningTrump sued

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

Easing fracking rules on Federal and Indian landsTrump sued

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

Drilling in Labyrinth CanyonTrump sued

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

Expanding mineral leasing in Western Alaska

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

Forging 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 »

Drilling in National Petroleum Reserve-AlaskaTrump sued

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

Changing the Sonoran Desert National Monument Grazing Plan

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

Changing tribal energy resource agreements

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

Approval of Caldwell Canyon Mine in IdahoTrump sued

The Trump administration approved a phosphate mining operation by a subsidiary of Bayer. Activists have sued, arguing the government didn't adequately consider the environmental impacts of the project. Read more »

Changing sage grouse protection plan amendmentsTrump sued

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

Allowing the Alton Coal Mine DevelopmentTrump sued

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

Overturned prioritizing sage grouse habitatTrump sued

Overturned guidance to protect sage grouse habitat. Read more »

Removing copper filter cake from hazardout materials list

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

Disclosing foreign payments for mining projects

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

Changing the 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 »

Passing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

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

Approving 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 »

Weakening 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 »

Easing Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas safety

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

Promoting ssmall-scale natural gas exports

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

New 8

Policy put in place or proposed by the Biden administration

Postponing June 2021 onshore lease sales

Biden officials canceled second-quarter lease sales, as part of its ongoing pause on new federal leasing. Read more »

Postponing March 2021 lease sales in Colorado, Montana, Utah and Wyoming

The Interior Department postponed quarterly lease sales in Colorado, Montana, Utah and Wyoming "to confirm the adequacy of underlying environmental analysis." Read more »

Reviewing activities in roadless areas in national forests

Biden officials instructed that any activities in roadless areas must undergo special review, effectively barring logging in Alaska's Tongass National Forest. Read more »

Launching coal and power plant community task force

President Biden established a new interagency council to devise economic strategies to shift communities away from fossil fuels. Read more »

Eliminating fossil fuel subsidies

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

Pausing new federal oil and gas leasingBiden sued

President Biden halted all new oil and gas leasing on federal lands and waters in order to conduct a full review. Read more »

Launching review of significant Interior Department decisions

In Secretarial Order 3395, Biden officials subjected all major Interior Department decisions, including awarding new permits, to approval by a senior political appointee. Read more »

Plugging abandoned oil and gas wells and restoring mining areas

President Biden proposed spending $16 billion on plugging abandoned oil and gas wells, and restoring lands that had been damaged by mining. Read more »

Easy to overturn 43

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

Weakening exploratory Arctic drilling rule

The Biden administration withdrew a proposed rule weakening standards governing oil and gas exploratory drilling in the Arctic Ocean on May 7. As a result, the Obama-era rule adopted in 2016 remains in effect. Read more »

Revoking Trump Interior secretarial orders

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on April 16, 2021 signed Secretarial Order 3398, which reversed 12 secretarial orders issued under President Trump promoting fossil fuel development on public lands and waters. Read more »

Setting priorities for the Outer Continental Shelf

Biden officials issued a new solicitor's opinion on April 9, 2021 to override M-Opinion 37059, which prioritized offshore energy uses above other activities, including fishing. Read more »

Amending the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan

The Biden administration terminated a proposal scaling back protections in the plan Read more »

Permitting a copper mine in Tonto National ForestTrump sued

Biden officials rescinded a proposal that would have allowed mining giants Rio Tinto and BHP to mine copper in Oak Flat, Ariz. Read more »

Restoring the Hammond family's grazing permits Trump sued

Biden officials reversed Trump Interior Secretary David Bernhardt's move to award 10-year grazing permits to Hammond Ranches, whose owners had been convicted of arson in 2012 Read more »

Canceling Lease Sale 257 for the Gulf of Mexico, Outer Continental Shelf

Interior officials rescinded the Record of Decision for a region-wide lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico. Read more »

Canceling Alaska offshore oil and gas sale

Interior canceled Cook Inlet OCS Oil & Gas Lease Sale 258, off Alaska's southcentral coast, saying it conflicted with Biden's EO 14008 Read more »

Accelerating energy permitting

President Biden reversed a Trump-era executive order instructing agencies to speed up the development of energy projects such as pipelines. Read more »

Reviewing Antiquities Act designationsTrump sued

President Biden ordered a review of President Trump's move to shrink two national monuments in Utah and call for changes to other national monuments. Read more »

Blocking the Keystone XL PipelineTrump sued

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

Revising Central Yukon Draft Resource Management Plan

Biden officials extended the comment period for a draft management plan affecting 13 million acres of public land in Alaska by three months. Read more »

Revising rangeland management rule

The Biden administration extended the comment period for this proposed rule, which would allow ranchers to make nonmonetary settlements when they overgraze or illegally graze on public lands, by 60 days beyond the Feb. 16, 2021 deadline for public input. Read more »

Scaling back federal royalties reformTrump sued

The Biden administration started to reassess a rule overturning higher federal royalties for oil, gas and coal leases adopted at the end of the Obama administration. On April 14, it delayed the effective date of the rule to Nov. 1, 2021. Read more »

Expanding timber harvesting on federal land

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

Revoking Master Leasing PlansTrump sued

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

Boosting natural gas exports outside trade agreements

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

Easing financial assurance requirements for offshore drillers

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

Changing oil and gas site security rules

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

Changing royalty rates for non-energy minerals

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

Scaling back oil pipeline spill rules

Proposed scaling back rules governing oil pipeline spills. Read more »

Overhauling public lands grazing rules

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

Promoting oil and gas development on Forest Service land

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

Easing minerals development on Forest Service land

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

Proposing five-year offshore leasing draft plan

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

Permitting Pebble Mine in Alaska

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

Changing hazardous materials rules for liquified gas exportsTrump sued

Amended hazardous materials rules to allow liquefied natural gas exports.

Providing pandemic royalty rate relief

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

Allowing Big Cypress seismic testing

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

Revising federal forest management

Executive order to encourage logging on federal lands. Read more »

Changing the management of Eastern Interior and Bering Glacier public lands

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

Shifting responsibility for cross-border permittingTrump sued

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

Relaxing enforcement of pipeline 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 »

Changing managment of Goodnews Bay public lands

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

Promoting oceanic, coastal and Great Lakes development

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

Narrowing climate Impacts of pipelinesTrump sued

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

Changing protections for California Desert National Conservation Lands

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

Reassessing national monumentsTrump sued

Shrank two national monuments in Utah. Read more »

Withdrawing areas in the Arctic and Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf from drillingTrump sued

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

Rewriting offfshore leasing plan

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

Collecting 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 »

Permitting the Dakota Access PipelineTrump sued

Approved construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Read more »

Medium 22

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

Harming of marine mammals through Alaska offshore oil and gas activitiesBiden suedTrump sued

A federal court reversed the Trump administration's authorization of a petroleum company, Hilcorp Alaska LLC, to “take” marine mammals incidental to oil and gas operations in Cook Inlet. Read more »

Renewing Twin Metals Mine leases

The Biden administration asked for a pause in litigation over the Trump administration's move to revive mining leases near Minnesota's Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. A federal judge granted the motion, that will allow the Agriculture and Interior Departments to review the matter until June 21, 2021. Read more »

Dictating bank lending policies for 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 »

Curtailing protest process for federal timber sales

Proposed limiting protests on federal timber sales. Read more »

Promoting energy extraction in Bering Sea-Western Interior Management Area

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

Permitting ConocoPhillips' Willow Project on the National Petroleum Reserve-AlaskaBiden sued

Biden is reexamining the Trump administration's approval of ConocoPhillips Willow Project on the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, which which would allow the construction of a major oil processing facility that could produce up to 160,000 barrels of oil a day during its 30-year operation. Read more »

Lifting 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 »

Weakening financial assurances for hardrock miningTrump sued

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

Easing fracking rules on Federal and Indian landsTrump sued

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

Drilling in Labyrinth CanyonTrump sued

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

Expanding mineral leasing in Western Alaska

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

Forging 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 »

Drilling in National Petroleum Reserve-AlaskaTrump sued

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

Changing the Sonoran Desert National Monument Grazing Plan

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

Changing tribal energy resource agreements

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

Approval of Caldwell Canyon Mine in IdahoTrump sued

The Trump administration approved a phosphate mining operation by a subsidiary of Bayer. Activists have sued, arguing the government didn't adequately consider the environmental impacts of the project. Read more »

Changing sage grouse protection plan amendmentsTrump sued

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

Allowing the Alton Coal Mine DevelopmentTrump sued

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

Overturned prioritizing sage grouse habitatTrump sued

Overturned guidance to protect sage grouse habitat. Read more »

Removing copper filter cake from hazardout materials list

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

Disclosing 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

Changing the 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 »

Passing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

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

Approving 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 »

Weakening 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 »

Easing Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas safety

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

Promoting ssmall-scale natural gas exports

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

Infrastructure and permitting

3 new protections added2 proposed
Status of Trump’s rollbacks: 8 overturned 3 targeted 18 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

New 5

Easy to overturn 20

Medium 4

Difficult 5

Policy put in place or proposed by the 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

Accelerating transmission on the U.S. electricity grid

Biden officials took steps to speed transmission on the electricity grid, including issuing a new Transportation Department guidance that allows the use of existing highway rights of way for siting transmission lines and new Energy Department funding and loan guarantees for renewable energy transmission projects and ones owned by tribes and Alaska Native Corporations. Read more »

Establishing Civilian Climate Corps

President Biden 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

President Biden vowed to double offshore wind production by 2030. Read more »

Expanding electric vehicle charging infrastructure and supply chain

President Biden proposed investing $174 billion in electric vehicle charging stations, supply chains and raw materials. Read more »

Expanding U.S. offshore wind production to 30 gigawatts by 2030

The Biden administration launched an initiative to expand offshore wind production to 30 gigawatts by 2030 by streamlining permitting, offering low-interest loans and funding research. Read more »

Overhauling Interior's environmental analysis process

Trump officials directed Interior Department to streamline its environmental review documents in Secretarial Order 3355, on Aug. 31, 2017. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland overturned this directive with Secretarial Order 3398 on April 16, 2021. Read more »

Awarding rights to the Missouri River on Fort Berthold Reservation

The Biden administration issued a legal opinion saying that the Missouri River section flowing through North Dakota's Fort Berthold Indian Reservation belongs to the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation. Read more »

Restricting fireworks at Mount RushmoreBiden sued

After Biden officials prohibited a fireworks display at Mount Rushmore, which the Trump administration allowed it for the first time in a decade, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) sued. Read more »

Revoking guidance on greenhouse gas emissions

The White House rescinded Trump-era guidance that agencies do not have to take a project’s long-term climate impacts into account. Read more »

Expediting infrastructure projects during pandemic

President Biden revoked Donald Trump's instruction to agencies that they expedite infrastructure projects during the pandemic. Read more »

Promoting climate resilience through an executive order

President Biden restored a 2013 executive order on preparing for climate change impacts by issuing Executive Order 13990. Read more »

Restoring federal flood protection standards

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

Promoting "America First" offshore energy strategyTrump sued

President Biden rescinded Donald Trump's reversal of an Obama executive order promoting climate resilience in the northern Bering Sea. Read more »

Changing the 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

President Trump instructed agencies to invoke their emergency powers to speed up infrastructure projects. Read more »

Curtailing environmental reviews of transportation projects

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

Imposing EPA cost-benefit rule

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

Setting the federal flood risk management standard

Would withdraw stiffer federal flood risk standards. Read more »

Using radioactive phosphogypsum in roadsTrump sued

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

Providing regulatory relief to spur economic recovery

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

Allowing off-road vehicles at factory butte

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

Dismantling the Fish and Wildlife Service mitigation policy

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

Illowing a road through Izembek National Wildlife RefugeTrump sued

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

Eliminating national parks climate change policy

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

Revoking consideration of climate impacts on infratructure projects

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

Approving 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 »

Overhauling Forest Service environmental reviews

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

Overhauling the National Environmental Policy ActTrump sued

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

Changing the use of sand, gravel, and shell resources Trump sued

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

Streamlining U.S. Army Corps permitsBiden sued

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

Allowing highway expansion through Red Cliffs National Conservation Area

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

Approving Yazoo Backwater Area Pumps ProjectTrump sued

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

Easing natural gas exports

Exempted exports of natural gas from environmental reviews. Read more »

Nullifying BLM's Planning 2.0 rule

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

New 5

Policy put in place or proposed by the Biden administration

Accelerating transmission on the U.S. electricity grid

Biden officials took steps to speed transmission on the electricity grid, including issuing a new Transportation Department guidance that allows the use of existing highway rights of way for siting transmission lines and new Energy Department funding and loan guarantees for renewable energy transmission projects and ones owned by tribes and Alaska Native Corporations. Read more »

Establishing Civilian Climate Corps

President Biden 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

President Biden vowed to double offshore wind production by 2030. Read more »

Expanding electric vehicle charging infrastructure and supply chain

President Biden proposed investing $174 billion in electric vehicle charging stations, supply chains and raw materials. Read more »

Expanding U.S. offshore wind production to 30 gigawatts by 2030

The Biden administration launched an initiative to expand offshore wind production to 30 gigawatts by 2030 by streamlining permitting, offering low-interest loans and funding research. Read more »

Easy to overturn 20

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

Overhauling Interior's environmental analysis process

Trump officials directed Interior Department to streamline its environmental review documents in Secretarial Order 3355, on Aug. 31, 2017. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland overturned this directive with Secretarial Order 3398 on April 16, 2021. Read more »

Awarding rights to the Missouri River on Fort Berthold Reservation

The Biden administration issued a legal opinion saying that the Missouri River section flowing through North Dakota's Fort Berthold Indian Reservation belongs to the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation. Read more »

Restricting fireworks at Mount RushmoreBiden sued

After Biden officials prohibited a fireworks display at Mount Rushmore, which the Trump administration allowed it for the first time in a decade, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) sued. Read more »

Revoking guidance on greenhouse gas emissions

The White House rescinded Trump-era guidance that agencies do not have to take a project’s long-term climate impacts into account. Read more »

Expediting infrastructure projects during pandemic

President Biden revoked Donald Trump's instruction to agencies that they expedite infrastructure projects during the pandemic. Read more »

Promoting climate resilience through an executive order

President Biden restored a 2013 executive order on preparing for climate change impacts by issuing Executive Order 13990. Read more »

Restoring federal flood protection standards

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

Promoting "America First" offshore energy strategyTrump sued

President Biden rescinded Donald Trump's reversal of an Obama executive order promoting climate resilience in the northern Bering Sea. Read more »

Changing the 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

President Trump instructed agencies to invoke their emergency powers to speed up infrastructure projects. Read more »

Curtailing environmental reviews of transportation projects

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

Imposing EPA cost-benefit rule

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

Setting the federal flood risk management standard

Would withdraw stiffer federal flood risk standards. Read more »

Using radioactive phosphogypsum in roadsTrump sued

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

Providing regulatory relief to spur economic recovery

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

Allowing off-road vehicles at factory butte

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

Dismantling the Fish and Wildlife Service mitigation policy

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

Illowing a road through Izembek National Wildlife RefugeTrump sued

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

Eliminating national parks climate change policy

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

Revoking consideration of climate impacts on infratructure 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

Approving 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 »

Overhauling Forest Service environmental reviews

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

Overhauling the National Environmental Policy ActTrump sued

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

Changing the use of sand, gravel, and 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 U.S. Army Corps permitsBiden sued

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

Allowing highway expansion through Red Cliffs National Conservation Area

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

Approving Yazoo Backwater Area Pumps ProjectTrump sued

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

Easing natural gas exports

Exempted exports of natural gas from environmental reviews. Read more »

Nullifying 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: 3 overturned 0 targeted 0 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 EPA’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

New 3

Easy to overturn 2

Medium 1

Policy put in place or proposed by the 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 climate change-induced migration

President Biden ordered a report within 180 days on how climate change will spur migration, including climate refugees' security impacts and foreign aid plans. Read more »

Investing in disadvantaged communities

President Biden mandated that 40 percent of all federal sustainability investments go to disadvantaged communities. Read more »

Establishing new federal environmental justice offices

President Biden established a new White House interagency council, as well as new offices in the Justice and Health and Human Services Departments. Read more »

Revoking the Interior "Open Science" rule

Biden officials overturned a policy limiting the scientific studies the Interior Department uses to craft rules. Read more »

Barring 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 »

Revoking EPA Scientific Transparency RuleTrump sued

A Montana federal judge vacated this rule, which restricted EPA's use of scientific studies in crafting public health rules, on Feb. 1, 2021 Read more »

New 3

Policy put in place or proposed by the Biden administration

Planning for climate change-induced migration

President Biden ordered a report within 180 days on how climate change will spur migration, including climate refugees' security impacts and foreign aid plans. Read more »

Investing in disadvantaged communities

President Biden mandated that 40 percent of all federal sustainability investments go to disadvantaged communities. Read more »

Establishing new federal environmental justice offices

President Biden 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

Revoking the Interior "Open Science" rule

Biden officials overturned a policy limiting the scientific studies the Interior Department uses to craft rules. Read more »

Barring 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 »

Medium 1

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

Revoking EPA Scientific Transparency RuleTrump sued

A Montana federal judge vacated this rule, which restricted EPA's use of scientific studies in crafting public health rules, on Feb. 1, 2021 Read more »

Water pollution

Status of Trump’s rollbacks: 0 overturned 7 targeted 8 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

Easy to overturn 3

Medium 7

Difficult 5

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

Creating a loophole in water pollution discharge rules

Creates a loophole in the discharge of water pollution, despite a Supreme Court ruling in County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund. Read more »

Rolling back coal ash standards, Phase 2

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

Dumping PFAS chemicals on a temporary basisTrump sued

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

Removing protections from San Francisco's South Bay Salt PondsTrump sued

The Biden administration dropped the appeal of a district court decision that the Environmental Protection Agency improperly removed Clean Water Act protections from the San Francisco South Bay salt ponds. The Trump administration's action made it easier for Cargill to sell off the wetlands area. Read more »

Delaying electronic reporting of dumping water pollution

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

Delaying closing of coal ash impoundments

Allowed some coal ash impoundments to keep operating. Read more »

Regulating perchlorateTrump sued

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

Changing the Clean Water Act's criminal negligence standard

Trump officials proposed a rule that would let states set any criminal negligence standard for the Clean Water Act. Read more »

Weakening industry cleanup requirements

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

Easing uranium mines groundwater protections

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

Weakening the power plant wastewater ruleTrump sued

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

Weakening coal ash rules, Part ATrump sued

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

Limiting state and tribal input under the Clean Water ActTrump sued

Weakened Clean Water Act Section 401 that states and tribes used to object to federal project approvals. Read more »

Scaling back federal protections for waterwaysTrump sued

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

Nullifying the 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

Creating a loophole in water pollution discharge rules

Creates a loophole in the discharge of water pollution, despite a Supreme Court ruling in County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund. Read more »

Rolling back coal ash standards, Phase 2

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

Dumping PFAS chemicals on a temporary basisTrump sued

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

Medium 7

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

Removing protections from San Francisco's South Bay Salt PondsTrump sued

The Biden administration dropped the appeal of a district court decision that the Environmental Protection Agency improperly removed Clean Water Act protections from the San Francisco South Bay salt ponds. The Trump administration's action made it easier for Cargill to sell off the wetlands area. Read more »

Delaying electronic reporting of dumping water pollution

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

Delaying closing of coal ash impoundments

Allowed some coal ash impoundments to keep operating. Read more »

Regulating perchlorateTrump sued

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

Changing the Clean Water Act's criminal negligence standard

Trump officials proposed a rule that would let states set any criminal negligence standard for the Clean Water Act. Read more »

Weakening industry cleanup requirements

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

Easing uranium mines groundwater protections

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

Weakening the power plant wastewater ruleTrump sued

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

Weakening coal ash rules, Part ATrump sued

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

Limiting state and tribal input under the Clean Water ActTrump sued

Weakened Clean Water Act Section 401 that states and tribes used to object to federal project approvals. Read more »

Scaling back federal protections for waterwaysTrump sued

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

Nullifying the 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: 2 overturned 12 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

New 1

Easy to overturn 10

Medium 14

Difficult 6

Policy put in place or proposed by the 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

Conserving public lands and waters

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

Barring Arctic National Wildlife Refuge seismic testing

Interior officials informed the Kaktovik Iñupiat Corporation it failed to survey maternal polar bear dens as required for a seismic testing permit in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Read more »

Restoring Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership

Biden officials rescinded an order that eliminated the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership, which funds parks and greenspace projects in urban areas, and underserved communities. Read more »

Shinking the spotted owl's critical habitatTrump sued

The Biden administration postponed the effective date ofTrump's move to shrink the spotted owl's critical habitat by 3.4 million acres until April 15, 2021, to review it. Read more »

Applying the Migratory Bird Treaty Act

Biden officials issued a proposed rule May 6 revoking a Trump-era legal interpretation that killing scores birds by accident is not subject to prosecution. However, the administration allowed the Trump-era rule to go into effect on March 8, after delaying it for a couple of months. Read more »

Hunting brown bears in Kenai National Wildlife Refuge

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

Denying critical habitat designation for rusty patched bumblebeeBiden suedTrump sued

The Trump administration determined designating habitat for the rusty patched bumble bee would be "not prudent," despite the fact that it's listed under the Endangered Species Act. Read more »

Easing marine monument fishing restrictionsTrump sued

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

Withdrawing 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 »

Allowing elephant and lion trophy imports

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

Expanding sheep grazing around U.S Sheep Experiment StationTrump sued

In July 2018, the Trump administration expanded grazing in the Centennial Mountains, on the Idaho-Montana border. On April 16, 2021 a federal judge in the U.S. District Count for the District of Idaho ruled that the federal government failed to do an adequate analysis of the environmental impact of the move on native grizzly bears, wolves, bighorn sheep, and sage grouse. Read more »

Overhauling 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 »

Scaling back sage grouse habitat protectionsTrump sued

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

Easing salmon and smelt protectionsTrump sued

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

Changing Endangered Species Act consultations

Scaled back consultations under the Endangered Species Act. 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 »

Vetoing the Driftnet Act

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

Changing black-footed ferret recovery plans

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

Downlisting of the American Burying BeetleTrump sued

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

Modifying Atlantic bluefin tuna catchTrump sued

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

Weakening turtle-excluder requirements in shrimp trawl netsTrump sued

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

REversing the lead ammunition and fishing tackle standards

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

Denying protections for the Pacific walrusTrump sued

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

Creating 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 »

Changing hunting and trapping rules in Alaska preservesTrump sued

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

Changing critical habitat applicationTrump sued

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

Changing endangered species pesticides Pprocess

Rolled back inter-agency Endangered Species Act consultations on pesticides. 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 or proposed by the Biden administration

Conserving public lands and waters

President Biden 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

Barring Arctic National Wildlife Refuge seismic testing

Interior officials informed the Kaktovik Iñupiat Corporation it failed to survey maternal polar bear dens as required for a seismic testing permit in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Read more »

Restoring Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership

Biden officials rescinded an order that eliminated the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership, which funds parks and greenspace projects in urban areas, and underserved communities. Read more »

Shinking the spotted owl's critical habitatTrump sued

The Biden administration postponed the effective date ofTrump's move to shrink the spotted owl's critical habitat by 3.4 million acres until April 15, 2021, to review it. Read more »

Applying the Migratory Bird Treaty Act

Biden officials issued a proposed rule May 6 revoking a Trump-era legal interpretation that killing scores birds by accident is not subject to prosecution. However, the administration allowed the Trump-era rule to go into effect on March 8, after delaying it for a couple of months. Read more »

Hunting brown bears in Kenai National Wildlife Refuge

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

Denying critical habitat designation for rusty patched bumblebeeBiden suedTrump sued

The Trump administration determined designating habitat for the rusty patched bumble bee would be "not prudent," despite the fact that it's listed under the Endangered Species Act. Read more »

Easing marine monument fishing restrictionsTrump sued

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

Withdrawing 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 »

Allowing elephant and lion trophy imports

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

Medium 14

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

Expanding sheep grazing around U.S Sheep Experiment StationTrump sued

In July 2018, the Trump administration expanded grazing in the Centennial Mountains, on the Idaho-Montana border. On April 16, 2021 a federal judge in the U.S. District Count for the District of Idaho ruled that the federal government failed to do an adequate analysis of the environmental impact of the move on native grizzly bears, wolves, bighorn sheep, and sage grouse. Read more »

Overhauling 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 »

Scaling back sage grouse habitat protectionsTrump sued

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

Easing salmon and smelt protectionsTrump sued

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

Changing Endangered Species Act consultations

Scaled back consultations under the Endangered Species Act. 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 »

Vetoing the Driftnet Act

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

Changing black-footed ferret recovery plans

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

Downlisting of the American Burying BeetleTrump sued

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

Modifying Atlantic bluefin tuna catchTrump sued

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

Weakening turtle-excluder requirements in shrimp trawl netsTrump sued

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

REversing the lead ammunition and fishing tackle standards

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

Denying protections for the Pacific walrusTrump sued

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

Difficult 6

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

Creating 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 »

Changing hunting and trapping rules in Alaska preservesTrump sued

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

Changing critical habitat applicationTrump sued

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

Changing endangered species pesticides Pprocess

Rolled back inter-agency Endangered Species Act consultations on pesticides. 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 and the Environment.

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

Juliet Eilperin is a Pulitzer Prize-winning senior national affairs correspondent for The Washington Post, covering environmental and energy policy. She has written two books, "Demon Fish: Travels Through the Hidden World of Sharks" and "Fight Club Politics: How Partisanship is Poisoning the House of Representatives."
Brady Dennis is a Pulitzer Prize-winning national reporter for The Washington Post, focusing on the environment and public health. He previously spent years covering the nation’s economy.
John Muyskens is a graphics editor at the Washington Post specializing in data reporting.