Strategies to Reverse Federal Environmental Rollbacks

Last month, CLEE released a website that compiled over 180 Trump Administration environmental policy rollbacks, from the repeal of the Clean Power Plan to the removal of government climate change websites. We tracked and evaluated these rollbacks based on their environmental, climate, public health, and programmatic impacts; identified the pathway and difficulty of reversal; and highlighted “Day Two” actions that can be immediately reversed by the new administration. 

In addition to the tracking effort, CLEE assembled a team of legal experts to develop a series of strategy memos that detail how to reverse a set of environmental rollbacks that pose particularly significant threats to the environment and agency programs, and are not immediately reversible through executive or advisory action, but have not received the same level attention and advocacy as the most high-profile rollbacks. These memos detail the rollback’s legal background, environmental and regulatory impact, and current litigation status; propose a list of actions for the new administration to reverse it; and, where appropriate, suggest affirmative actions the agencies can take to improve existing programs.

Memo topics include:

  • Bureau of Land Management: Federal coal leasing program
  • Bureau of Land Management: Methane waste prevention rule under the Mineral Leasing Act
  • Council on Environmental Quality: Federal environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act
  • Department of Energy: Appliance energy efficiency standards under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act
  • Department of the Interior: Regulations for listing species and designating critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act
  • Environmental Protection Agency: Analysis of benefits and costs under the Clean Air Act
  • Environmental Protection Agency: Environmental appeals board
  • Environmental Protection Agency: Oil and gas methane regulations under the Clean Air Act
  • Environmental Protection Agency: Procedures for issuance of agency guidance
  • Environmental Protection Agency: Project emissions accounting for New Source Review permitting under the Clean Air Act
  • Environmental Protection Agency: Reclassification of major sources under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act

As the new administration begins, we hope that these memos (as well as our tracker materials) can assist both agency teams facing the daunting task of undoing the legal and environmental damage of the past four years and advocates seeking to track the administration’s progress.

Many thanks to all of the expert authors and reviewers who helped prepare the memos, and in particular to our Berkeley and UCLA colleagues Eric Biber, Holly Doremus, Dan Farber, Sean Hecht, Cara Horowitz, and Julia Stein.

You can access the memos here.

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Ted Lamm

Ted Lamm is a Senior Research Fellow at CLEE. Ted’s research focuses on California policies regarding climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, and the relationships…

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