A couple weeks ago a reporter asked me what I thought the incoming Biden administration’s environmental priorities will look like. I told him that’s a bit of a hard question to answer because there’s so much to do.
It’ll take considerable staff resources and time simply to restore all the places where the outgoing administration rolled back environmental protections for our families, our wildlife, and our public lands. At last count the number of places the protections were weakened or gutted was over 125. We’ve been raising the alarm about this here, here, and here. They took four years to cause all that harm, and it won’t be fixed overnight.
Americans across the country and from a wide range of political stripes agree we need to act boldly and quickly to address our greenhouse gas emissions. The federal government hasn’t done much, although the Obama administration invested heavily in renewable energy research and development and passed the first updates in the car mileage standards since the 1980s. Creating a big, comprehensive climate change policy that addresses everything from transportation to agriculture to energy to building codes will be a huge lift and a lot of work.
Although the scope of needs for environmental work is huge, we also know the top priority will be dealing with the pandemic and its economic effects. Our folks in DC are having conversations with the incoming Biden people about how we can spur progress on environmental issues and speed recovery from the pandemic by investing in things like renewable energy and electric vehicle infrastructure. We’re hopeful that in 2021 we’ll see substantial progress on recovery from the pandemic, and making progress on protecting our families and our environment.