Reversing Environmental Rollbacks

Rollbacks Home Action Memos Day 2 Actions

CLEE has compiled nearly 200 rollbacks, listed below, based on the tracking information from Columbia Law School’s Sabin Center, Harvard Law School, and other sources. These rollbacks were then assessed for impact and difficulty of reversal. Impact was determined based on the rollback’s effect on the environment, health, climate, and across federal programs. Reversal was deemed “easy” if the rollback was undertaken through executive order, agency guidance, or other action that can be reversed by executive or agency direction; and “difficult” for finalized rules. Where appropriate, we also propose reversal strategies. (Note: We credit the Sabin Center with an “S.C.” notation where we have adapted from its “Climate Reregulation in a Biden Administration” report.)

We encourage suggestions and comments, particularly identification of rollbacks that might be missing from the list. Please send any and all ideas to clee@law.berkeley.edu.

Total rollbacks: 209
Total reversals complete or in progress: 88 (Last updated 4/10/21)
A spreadsheet version of the tracker can be found here


1

Update to the Regulations Implementing the Procedural Provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act

 

Rule

Completed
(07/16/20)

Under Agency Review
(1/20/21)

Description

Weakened environmental review under NEPA. The new rules shorten the time frame for completing environmental studies, limit the types of projects subject to review, and no longer require federal agencies to account for a project’s cumulative effects on the environment, such as climate change. Final Rule

Reversal

Status

President Biden’s 01/20/2021 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed CEQ to review the final rule to ensure consistency with the objectives of Section 1 of the order.

Executive Order 13990
Fact Sheet: List of Agency Actions for Review

Assessment: Difficult

Method: CEQ could request to hold case in abeyance and initiate a new rulemaking process to restore key provisions and use this as an opportunity to update NEPA regulations. That said, it would be prudent to restore key regulatory provisions as quickly as possible to minimize the disruption to agency practices. To help mitigate that disruption, CEQ could issue a memorandum to agencies at the beginning of its term in which it could:

  • (i) notify agency officials of its intent to re-initiate a NEPA rulemaking process
  • (ii) direct agency heads to cease work on any updates to internal agency procedures that may have been initiated in response to the Trump-era amendments
  • (iii) clarify that agencies should continue to evaluate indirect effects and cumulative effects in NEPA reviews (since the amended regulations do not expressly forbid evaluation of such effects). (S.C.)

Litigation Status

8/28/20: In California v. CEQ, environmental groups, California, and 20 other states asserted that CEQ arbitrarily and unlawfully made changes to NEPA regulations. 7/29/20: In Alaska Community Action on Toxics v. CEQ, environmental groups assert that CEQ should have prepared and EA or EIS to evaluate climate and environmental justice impacts.
Alaska Community Action on Toxics v. Council on Environmental Quality

3/31/21: CEQ asked the court to remand the Trump-era rule because they found ‘substantial and legitimate concerns over the rule and are reconsidering it.
Motion

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 1

Total: 4

 

2

Draft National Environmental Policy Act Guidance on Consideration of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

 

Draft Guidance

In Progress
(06/26/19)

Rescinded Guidance
(2/19/21)

 

 

Description 

CEQ has proposed new guidelines on consideration of GHG emissions and climate change in NEPA reviews. CEQ repealed the Obama-era guidance in 2017. The draft is vague when it comes to GHG quantification and discourages agencies from using the social cost of carbon. Draft Guidance

Reversal 

Status

President Biden’s 1/20/21 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed CEQ to rescind the draft guidance and to update the 2016 Obama-era guidance.

Executive Order 13990

CEQ repealed the 2019 draft guidance pursuant to EO 13990 and said it would address any revisions or updates to the 2016 GHG guidance in a separate notice. In the interim, any available tools and resources in assessing GHG emissions and climate change effects should be considered by agencies. 

Notice of recision of draft guidance

Assessment: Easy

Method: Issue new guidance. Assuming the administration is also initiating a rulemaking process to restore aspects of the NEPA implementing regulations, it would make sense to hold off on the issuance of any final climate guidance until that rulemaking process is complete. However, the administration could issue draft or interim guidance in the meantime. (S.C.)

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 0
Health: 0
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 1

Total: 2

 

3

Guidance Document Procedures

 

Rule

Completed
(1/8/21)

Under Agency Review
(1/20/21)

 

Description 

Pursuant to Executive Order 13891, this final rule established a new process that CEQ must follow for issuing guidance documents (similar to guidance requirements issued by DOE, DOI, and EPA). In addition to establishing new procedures for agency guidance documents, including publishing all guidance documents online, the new rule requires that all “significant” guidance documents must go through notice-and-comment rulemaking. OIRA would make the determination as to what constitutes “significant guidance.” Final Rule

Reversal 

Status

President Biden’s 1/25/2021 Executive Order on Revocation of Certain Executive Orders Concerning Federal Regulation revoked EO 13891. While this rule remains, it no longer is required pursuant to an EO.

Executive Order 13992

President Biden’s 01/20/2021 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed CEQ to review the final rule to ensure consistency with the objectives of Section 1 of the order.

Executive Order 13990
Fact Sheet: List of Agency Actions for Review

Assessment: Difficult

Method: Rescind rule. In the interim, CEQ can continue to issue guidance documents on the basis that the rule runs afoul of the APA’s exemption for general statements of policy and interpretive rules from notice-and-comment rulemaking.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 0
Health: 0
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 0

Total: 1

 


1

Tax Cuts and Job Act of 2017

 

Legislation

Completed
(12/18/18)

Description

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act lifted ban on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Section 20001(c) requires the Secretary of the Interior to conduct at least two lease sales, each covering at least 400,000 acres, in the Coastal Plain within ten years of the date of enactment of the Act. The law says DOI must conduct one lease sale within four years (2021) and another within seven (2024). Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

Reversal

Status

President Biden’s 1/20/21 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed DOI to place a temporary moratorium on all federal activities in the Coastal Plain and to review and conduct a new EIS as appropriate.

Executive Order 13990

Assessment: Difficult (will require legislative reversal; can use regulatory means to slow down)

Method:

  • Short term: Halt new federal licenses for ANWR drilling. Trump Admin’s decision may be “legally vulnerable” because it restricted its environmental analysis to the leasing stage and said it would affect only 2,000 acres on the surface.” Could conduct new more comprehensive environmental review.
  • Long term: Legislatively ban ANWR drilling (passed the House in 2019)

Litigation Status

See litgation over ANWR leasing.

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 1

Total: 3

 

2

Nullification of BLM’s Planning 2.0 Rule 

 

Nullified Rule with CRA 

Completed 
(03/07/17)

 

Description 

Reversed an update to the Bureau of Land Management’s public land-use planning process that would have helped BLM readily address changing conditions caused by climate change. CRA Revocation

Reversal 

Difficult

Method: Initiate a new rulemaking to replace the Planning 2.0 rule, though it must address the CRA’s prohibition on reinstating a rule “in substantially the same form.” (S.C.)

Litigation Status

None because reversed through CRA

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 1

Total: 3


1

Test Procedure Interim Waiver Process 

 

Rule 

Completed 
(12/11/20)

Under Agency Review
(1/20/21)

Description

Rule streamlines the process by which an appliance manufacturer can obtain a temporary, interim waiver from test procedure requirement. Interim waivers would be granted if DOE fails to respond to the waiver request within 30 days. Final Rule

Reversal

Status

President Biden’s 01/20/2021 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed DOE to review the final rule to ensure consistency with the objectives of Section 1 of the order.

Executive Order 13990
Fact Sheet: List of Agency Actions for Review
DOE Letter of Reviewed Items 

Assessment: Difficult 

Method: Rescind and replace rule establishing that waivers will only be granted upon review by the agency.

Litigation Status

In January 2021, a group of states filed a complaint in the Second Circuit seeking vacatur of the rule.

Complaint

Overall Impact

Environmental: 0
Health: 0
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 1

Total: 1

 

2

Fast-Tracking Small-Scale Natural Gas Exports

 

Rule 

Completed 
(08/24/18)

 

Description 

Expedited the applications approval process for small-scale U.S. exporters of natural gas to non-free trade agreement countries. Expanding natural gas production and transmission infrastructure also locks in the use of natural gas, and recent studies have found that such infrastructure emits significantly more methane than previously estimated. Final Rule

Reversal 

Difficult

Method: DOE could initiate rulemaking to repeal the rule and go further to introduce new procedures that ensure DOE accounts for the full range of climate impacts in its natural gas export approvals e.g. direct DOE to conduct a lifecycle assessment of greenhouse gas emissions from natural gas exports that accounts for renewable energy. (S.C.)

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 1

Total: 3

 

3

Extending Natural Gas Export Authorities to Non-Free Trade Agreement Countries through 2020

 

Proposed Rule

In Progress 
(02/11/20)

Description 

DOE proposed extending the standard 20-year term for authorization to export small-scale natural gas to non-FTA countries. Under the proposal, non-FTA authorization holders could apply to extend their export term through 2050. Notice of Proposed Policy Statement

Reversal 

Easy (if rule not finalized); Difficult (if rule needs to be rescinded)

Method: DOE could initiate rulemaking to repeal the rule and go further to introduce new procedures that ensure DOE accounts for the full range of climate impacts in its natural gas export approvals e.g. direct DOE to conduct a lifecycle assessment of greenhouse gas emissions from natural gas exports that accounts for renewable energy. (S.C.)

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact 

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 1

Total: 3

 

4

Revision of DOE NEPA Regulations

 

Rule

Completed 
(12/04/20)

Description 

DOE revised its NEPA regulations to categorically exclude “[a]pprovals or disapprovals of new authorizations or amendments of existing authorizations to export natural gas . . . and any associated transportation of natural gas by marine vessel” from the environmental assessment requirement. By categorically excluding natural gas exports from NEPA review, the revision could limit the consideration of greenhouse gas emissions associated with the overall natural gas export process. (S.C.) Final Rule

Reversal 

Difficult 

Method: Rescind and reinstate 2011 regulation.

Litigation Status 

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 1

Total: 3

 

5

Energy Conservation Program: Definition for General Service Lamps

 

Rule Withdrawal

Completed 
(09/05/19)

Under Agency Review
(1/20/21)

Description 

Withdrew 2017 rule updating definitions of general service lamps (GSLs) and general service incandescent lamps (GSILs), which would have nearly doubled the number of light bulbs subject to energy-efficiency standards. Final Rule Withdrawal

Reversal

Status

President Biden’s 01/20/2021 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed DOE to review the final rule to ensure consistency with the objectives of Section 1 of this order.
Executive Order 13990
Fact Sheet: List of Agency Actions for Review
DOE Letter of Reviewed Items

Difficult

Method: Initiate rulemaking to reinstate the broader 2017 definitions of GSLs and GSILs.

Litigation Status

11/04/2019: Six organizations filed petitions challenging DOE’s withdrawl of the 2017 rule. 15 states, NYC and DC filed a seperate petition challenging the withdrawl.

Overall Impact 

Environmental: 0
Health: 0
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 1

Total: 2

 

6

Energy Conservation Program: Standards for General Service Incandescent Lamps

 

Rule

Completed
(12/27/19)

Under Agency Review
(01/20/21)

Description 

Repealed light bulb efficiency standards for general service incandescent lamps. Final Determination

Reversal 

Status

President Biden’s 01/20/2021 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed DOE to review the final rule to ensure consistency with the objectives of Section 1 of the order.

Executive Order 13990
Fact Sheet: List of Agency Actions for Review
DOE Letter of Reviewed Items

Assessment: Easy (if rule not finalized); Difficult (if rule needs to be rescinded)

Method: Rescind rule if rule is finalized; otherwise halt rulemaking

Litigation Status 

N/A

Overall Impact 

Environmental: 0
Health: 0
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 1

Total: 2

 

7

Energy Conservation Program: Standards for Residential Furnaces and Commercial Water Heaters 

 

Proposed Rule

Completed
(01/15/21)

Under Agency Review
(1/20/21)

Description

DOE published a final interpretive rule on energy conservation standards for residential furnances and commercial water heaters. The rule determines that use of non-condensing technology (and associated venting) constitute a performance-related ‘‘feature’’ under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) that cannot be eliminated through adoption of an energy conservation standard. The rule therefore creates two separate product classes for these appliances. Final Rule

Reversal

Status:

President Biden’s 01/20/2021 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed DOE to review the final rule to ensure consistency with the objectives of Section 1 of the order.

Executive Order 13990
DOE Letter of Reviewed Items

Assessment: Difficult 

Method: Issue new interpretive rule merging the product classes such that non-condensing technology is no longer considered a “feature” but an efficiency improvement. 

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 0
Health: 0
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 1

Total: 2

 

8

Energy Conservation Program: Test Procedure for Electric Motors 

 

Rule

Completed 
(1/4/2021)

Corrected
(1/15/21)

Implementation Delayed 
(2/2/21)

Description

DOE promulgated a rule declining to expand the scope of the motor test procedures, which efficiency and consumer advocates and electric utilities explained would leave a significant portion of the market unregulated and sacrifice energy savings. The rule was published in the Federal Register on January 4, 2021 and will go into effect on February 3, 2021.

Reversal 

Status

DOE issued a final rule (2/2/21) delaying the effective date for the Trump Administration’s final rule to March 21, 2021. DOE also seeks comments on other issues raised by the rule and its delay.
Final Rule

Assessment: Medium

Method: Delay the effective date of the rule and reconsider through notice-and-comment rulemaking.

Litigation Status 

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 0
Health: 0
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 1

Total: 2

 

9

Nuclear Safety Management 

 

Proposed Rule

In Progress
(8/8/18)

Description 

Proposed amending Nuclear Safety Management regulations to remove requirements that are considered duplicative or not effective. The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board comments that the changes would erode DOE’s nuclear safety regulatory framework. Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

Reversal

Easy (if rule not finalized); Difficult (if rule needs to be rescinded)

Method: Rescind rule if final rule is published; otherwise withdraw proposed rule.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 2

 

10

Energy Conservation Program for Appliance Standards: Process and Economic Justification Rules

 

Rule

Completed
(8/19/20)

New Rule Proposed
(3/31/21)

Description 

Amended DOE’s “process rule,” which governs the process of updating standards for each product covered by EPCA’s appliance energy conservation standards. Final Rule

Amended DOE’s related “walk-down” rule for economic justification assessments: Final Rule

Reversal 

Status

President Biden’s 1/20/21 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed DOE to review and consider rescinding the Process and Economic Justification Rules by June 2021.
Executive Order 13990

On 2/19/21, DOE issued a request for stakeholder input on prioritization of energy efficiency program regulations under EPCA, pursuant to Section 4(b) of the Process Rule (even though the agency is reconsidering the rule pursuant to EO 13990).
Request for Information

On 3/31/21, DOE proposed a new rule that would reverse the majority of the process rule changes finalized under President Trump, including the high thresholds for economic justification of new regulations.
Proposed Rule

Assessment: Difficult

Method: DOE could initiate a new rulemaking to repeal both amendments to the process rule; the agency could also issue a request for information from relevant stakeholders to determine the content of any new process rule. (S.C.)

Litigation Status

4/14/20: A group of state attorneys general and environmental organizations filed petitions for review of the final rule before the Ninth Circuit.

California v. Dep’t of Energy, No. 20-71068 (9th Cir. Apr. 14, 2020) Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. v. Brouillette, No. 20-71071 (9th Cir. Apr. 14, 2020)

Overall Impact

Environmental: 0
Health: 0
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 1

Total: 2

 

11

Energy Conservation Standards for Manufactured Housing

 

Withdrew Proposed Rule

Completed
(01/20/19)

Description

Abandoned June 2016 proposed rule that sought to establish energy conservation standards for manufactured housing, as required by the EISA. Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

Reversal 

Difficult

Method: DOE could initiate a new rulemaking. DOE has express authority under Section 413 of the EISA to propose standards for manufactured housing according to these parameters, and is required to update such standards no later than one year after any revision to the International Energy Conservation Code. (S.C.)

Litigation Status 

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 0
Health: 0
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 1

Total: 2

 

12

Energy Conservation Program: Standards for Dishwashers

 

Rule

Completed
(12/16/20)

Under Agency Review
(1/20/21)

Description

Created a product category that would allow some dishwashers to be exempt from energy efficiency standards. Proposed Rule Final Rule

Reversal 

Status

President Biden’s 01/20/2021 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed DOE to review the final rule to ensure consistency with the objectives of Section 1 of the order.

Executive Order 13990 
Fact Sheet: List of Agency Actions for Review

Assessment: Difficult 

Method: DOE should initiate a new rulemaking to repeal the new dishwasher product class. An anti-backsliding provision prohibits DOE from issuing a standard that increases maximum allowable energy use of a covered product, and the proposed rule appears to directly violate the anti-backsliding provision. (S.C.)

Litigation Status 

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 0
Health: 0
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 1

Total: 1

 

13

Energy Conservation Program: Energy Conservation Standards for Small Electric Motors

 

Final Determination

Completed 
(1/19/2021)

Under Agency Review
(1/20/21)

Description

DOE published a final determination declining to issue more stringent small motor efficiency standards, based on its assessment that none of the more efficient standards considered would generate net consumer savings over the average life of the product.

Reversal 

Status

President Biden’s 01/20/2021 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed DOE to review the final rule to ensure consistency with the objectives of Section 1 of the order.

Executive Order 13990 
Fact Sheet: List of Agency Actions for Review

Assessment: Difficult 

Method: Rescind rule and re-start process of evaluating consumer savings potential of more stringent standards.

Litigation Status 

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 0
Health: 0
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 1

Total: 1

 

14

Energy Conservation Program: Establishment of New Product Classes for Residential Clothes Washers and Consumer Clothes Dryers

 

Final Rule

Completed 
(12/16/2020)

Under Agency Review
(1/20/21)

Description

DOE issued a final rule establishing new product classes for clothes washers and dryers that offer shorter cycle times, potentially enabling creation of less-stringent energy efficiency standards specifically for the short-cycle machines and setting precedent for further product class determinations based on specious “product feature” carve-outs for less-efficient appliances.

Reversal 

Status

President Biden’s 01/20/2021 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed DOE to review the final rule to ensure consistency with the objectives of Section 1 of the order.

Executive Order 13990
Fact Sheet: List of Agency Actions for Review

Assessment: Difficult

Method: Rescind rule. DOE’s introduction of new product classes based on improperly identified performance-related features likely violates EPCA’s anti-backsliding provision, potentially increasing greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption and setting problematic precedent for future similar carve-outs.

Litigation Status 

1/19/21, a group of states filed a complaint in the Second Circuit seeking vacatur of the rule.

Complaint

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 1

Total: 3

15

Procedures for Issuance of Guidance Documents

 

Final Rule

Completed 
(1/6/2021)

Withdrawal in Process
(3/26/21)

Description

DOE issued a final rule establishing procedures for issuing DOE guidance documents following EO 13891 (Promoting the Rule of Law Through Improved Agency Guidance Documents). In addition to establishing new procedures for agency guidance documents, the new rule requires that all “significant” guidance documents must go through notice-and-comment rulemaking. OIRA would make the determination as to what constitutes “significant guidance.”

Reversal 

Status

DOE issued a final rule (2/2/21) delaying the effective date of the Trump Administration’s final rule to March 21, 2021. DOE also sought comments on issues raised by the rule and its delay.

Final Rule

Having received no comments on the effect of delaying the rule, DOE issued a final rule (3/19/21) further delaying the effective date of the Trump Administration rule to June 17, 2021. DOE indicated its intent to publish a separate notice of proposed rulemaking in the future to withdraw the January 6, 2021 rule.

Final Rule

DOE issued a proposed rule (3/26/21) seeking comment on withdrawing the 1/6/21 final rule.

Proposed Rule

Assessment: Difficult

Method: Rescind rule. In the interim, DOE can continue to issue guidance documents on the basis that the rule runs afoul of the APA’s exemption for general statements of policy and interpretive rules from notice-and-comment rulemaking.

Litigation Status 

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 0
Health: 0
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 0

Total: 1


1

Notice of Availability of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska Integrated Activity Plan Final Environmental Impact Statement

 

Environmental Impact Statement

In Progress 
(06/26/20)

Description

Proposed opening more land in the Alaska National Petroleum Reserve for oil drilling. The Obama administration had designated about half of the reserve as a conservation area. Notice of Availability of EIS

Reversal

Medium

Method: Conduct a new EIS, and redesignate half or more of the reserve as a conservation area.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 1

Total: 2

2

Final Environmental Impact Statement: Rulemaking for Alaska Roadless Areas

Final Rule 

Completed
(09/25/20)

Under Agency Review
(1/20/21)

 

Description 

In October 2019, the Forest Service proposed to exempt Tongass from the Roadless Rule. This would revert 168,000 old-growth acres and 20,000 young-growth acres to suitable timber lands.

In September 2020, the Forest Service published a revised EIS that concluded lifting the Roadless Rule protections in the Tongass would not significantly harm the environment. Trump administration has the authority to finalize this after a 30-day waiting period.

On October 29, 2020 the Forest Service published a final rule that exempted the entire Tongass National Forest from the Roadless Rule.

Reversal 

Status

President Biden’s 1/20/21 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed the USDA to review the final Roadless Rule.

Executive Order 13990
Fact Sheet: List of Agency Actions for Review

On 2/1/21 USDA issued a memorandum halting all road construction and timber harvesting in all areas designated by the Roadless Rule until March 31, 2021.

Memorandum

Assessment: Difficult

Method: If rule is finalized, initiate rulemaking to rescind the exemption; otherwise halt rulemaking.

Litigation Status

06/24/20: District Court of Alaska vacates portions of the record of decision and final EIS, which means the Forest Service will need to publish a new environmental impact statement if it decides to continue pursuing the timber harvest. Southeast Alaska Conservation Council v. USFS, No. 1:19-cv-00006-SLG (D. Alaska).

07/16/20: Native American Tribes petitioned USDA to create a rule protecting Tongass National Forest in collaboration with the Tribes of Southeast Alaska.

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 1

Total: 2

3

Environmental Assessment for Use of Genetically Engineered Agricultural Crops for Natural Resource Management on National Wildlife Refuges in the Southeastern US

 

Environmental Assessment 

Completed
(08/04/20)

Description 

FWS released a final EA for the use of genetically engineered crops in wildlife refuges in the Southeast. FWS concluded that there was no significant impact from this change and thus a more in-depth environmental review was unnecessary. This means that genetically engineered crops could soon be used in certain wildlife refuges, though FWS projects the seeds will first be used in the spring. Environmental Assessment

Reversal 

Medium

Method: Conduct another EA and rescind the 2018 Fish and Wildlife Service Memo; revert to 2014 decision

Litigation Status

09/26/19: Conservation groups filed suit against the DOI and FWS for reversing the GMO and neonicotinoid pesticide ban.

09/24/20: Court found plaintiffs lacked standing and granted defendants’ motion to dismiss.

https://www.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.uscourts.dcd.211462/gov.uscourts.dcd.211462.30.0.pdf

Overall Impact 

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 1

4

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Mitigation Policy

 

Agency Policy

Completed 
(07/30/18)

Description 

Revoked a directive for federal agencies to minimize impacts on water, wildlife, land and other natural resources when approving development projects. Policy Withdrawal Announcement

Reversal 

Easy

Method: Reinstate the 2016 mitigation policy and look at strengthening policy with consideration of potential constitutional takings issues.

Litigation Status 

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 0

Total: 2

5

Revoked Directors Order #100

 

Agency Policy

Completed 
(08/16/2017)

Description 

NPS rescinded Director’s Order #100, which reaffirmed that resource stewardship was a preeminent duty of the NPS. The policy specifically recognized that climate change is creating shifts in the park environments and visitor experiences. Rescinded Director’s Order

Reversal

Easy

Method: Issue a new order addressing stewardship and climate change impacts.

Litigation Status

11/04/2019: Six organizations filed petitions challenging DOE’s withdrawal of the 2017 rule. 15 states, NYC and DC filed a separate petition challenging the withdrawal.

Overall Impact 

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 1

6

Rescinded Climate Change and Mitigation Manuals (DOI Secretarial Order 3360)

 

Agency Policy

Completed
(12/22/17)

Description 

Secretarial Order 3360 rescinded the DOI Manuals on Climate Change Policy and LandscapeScale Mitigation Policy, the BLM Mitigation Manual, and the BLM Mitigation Handbook. Order No. 3360

Reversal 

Easy

Method: Issue a new secretarial order revoking Order 3360 and reinstating the BLM Manuals and Handbooks.

Litigation Status 

N/A

Overall Impact 

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 1

Total: 2

7

DOI EIS Limited to 150 Pages (DOI Secretarial Order 3355)

 

Internal Memorandum

Completed
(8/31/17)

Description

Secretarial Order 3355 restricted most Interior Department environmental studies to one year in length and a maximum of 150 pages, citing a need to reduce paperwork. Order No. 3355

Reversal

Easy

Method: Issue a new secretarial order to withdraw the memo.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 0
Health: 0
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 0

Total: 1

8

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Regulations for Listing Species and Designating Critical Habitat

 

Rules

Completed 
(12/18/20)

Under Agency Review
(1/20/21)

Description

In August 2019, FWS issued three final rules changing the way the ESA is applied, making it more difficult to protect wildlife from long-term threats posed by climate change.

1. Final Rule (listing/designation criteria)
2. Final Rule (adding/reclassifying species)
3. Final Rule (interagency cooperation)

In August 2020, FWS proposed new rule adding to definition of “habitat.

In September 2020, FWS proposed another new rule for designating critical habitat.

In December 2020, FWS issued final rules following the August 2020 definition proposal and the September 2020 designation proposal.

Final Rule (definition)
Final Rule (designation)

Reversal 

Status

President Biden’s 01/20/2021 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed DOI to review these final rules to ensure consistency with the objectives of Section 1 of the order.

Executive Order 13990
Fact Sheet: List of Agency Actions for Review

Assessment: Difficult

Method: Repeal the amendments in part or in whole. This re-regulation process could also entail updating the ESA regulations with new guidance and directives to agencies on how to account for modern environmental challenges such as climate change. For example, a Biden administration could replace the new language requiring greater level of certainty in listing and habitat designations with a more precautionary approach to species management that includes guidance on how to account for uncertainty and changing baseline conditions. (S.C.)

Litigation Status 

Three cases were filed to challenge the three ESA amendments.

05/18/20: In California v. Bernhardt, the court ruled states had standing after seventeen states, DC, and NYC, challenged the new ESA regulations.

06/04/20: In Center for Biological Diversity v. Bernhardt, court found that plaintiffs (seven environmental organizations) had not demonstrated injury-in-fact, and an updated complaint was filed.

06/08/20: In Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Bernhardt, court found plaintiffs had not demonstrated injury-in-fact, and an updated complaint was filed.

01/19/21: A group of states filed a complaint in the Northern District of California seeking vacatur of the December 2020 final rules.

Complaint

The best synthesis is here:

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 1

Total: 2

9

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Withdrawal of the Proposed Rules to List the Bi-State Distinct Population Segment of Greater Sage-Grouse with Section 4(d) Rule and to Designate Critical Habitat

 

Proposed Rule, withdrawal

In Progress
(03/31/20)

Description 

Opened nine million acres of Western land to oil and gas drilling by weakening habitat protections for the sage grouse. Proposed Rule

Reversal

Easy (if rule not finalized); Difficult (if rule needs to be rescinded)

Method: Secretary of the Interior could issue a secretarial order revoking 3353 and disbanding the Sage-Grouse Review Team. BLM could also initiate a notice and comment process to amend land use plans to reinstate protections for sagegrouse habitat. The government could then seek to stay the pending litigation pending the outcome of a new rulemaking, and move to dismiss the action as moot when more a more protective land use plan is in place. (S.C.)

Litigation Status

There are three main cases going on related to oil and gas leasing in sage grouse areas:

06/1/20: In Western Watersheds Project v. Bernhardt (No. 20-35483) (9th Cir. 2020), Chesapeke Exploration is appealing a 2/27/2020 ruling from D. Idaho that BLM can no longer use their streamlined approach to oil and gas leases (published in Jan 2018 memo) and must use the Obama-era review process. The February decision also invalidated BLM lease sales that relied on the policy in the memo.

08/25/20: In Montana Wildlife Fed’n v. Bernhardt (D. Montana), court ruled that BLM’s 2018 memo and 440 oil and gas leases violated the 2015 sage grouse plans and vacates those leases. Under apeal in the 9th Circuit. Court has issued a stay of its decision.

08/19/20: Finally, in Citizens for a Healthy Community v. BLM (D. Colo. 2020), environmental groups have sued BLM over BLM’s management plan for Colorado’s Western Slope. BLM Cases

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 1

Total: 3

10

Water Project Biological Opinions

 

Agency Policy 

Completed
(10/21/19)

Under Agency Review
(1/20/21)

Description 

USFWS’s Bay Delta Fish & Wildlife Office relaxed environmental protections for salmon and smelt in California’s Central Valley in order to free up water for farmers. Biological Opinion

Reversal 

Status

President Biden’s 01/20/2021 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed DOI to review the Biological Opinion to ensure consistency with the objectives of Section 1 of the order.
Executive Order 13990
List of Agency Actions for Review

Easy

Method: Direct Bureau of Reclamation issue a new biological assessment on the CVP and SWP operations and have Bay Delta office issue a new biological opinion.

Litigation Status

05/11/2020: Motions for preliminary injunction granted in part and denied in part (E.D. Cal): California Natural Resources Agency v. Ross

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 1

11

2019-2020 Station-Specific Hunting and Sport Fishing Regulations

 

Final Rule

Completed
(09/10/19)

Under Agency Review
(1/20/21)

Description

Opened seven National Wildlife Refuges (NWRs) that were currently closed to hunting and sport fishing, expanded hunting and sport fishing at 70 other NWRs, and overturned a ban on the use of lead ammunition and fishing tackle on federal lands. Final Rule

Reversal 

Status

President Biden’s 1/20/21 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed the DOI to review its final rule on hunting and sport fishing.

Executive Order 13990

Assessment: Difficult

Method: Rescind rule and replace with 2017 rule.

Litigation Status 

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 1

12

Non-Subsistence Take of Wildlife, and Public Participation and Closure Procedures, on National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska

 

Nullified Rule with CRA

Completed
(04/03/17)

Description

Nullified rule that regulated the hunting of predators in Alaskan wildlife refuges. 2016 Rule CRA Resolution

Reversal

Difficult (nullified by CRA)

Method: Initiate a new rulemaking to replace the rule, though it must address the CRA’s prohibition on reinstating a rule “in substantially the same form.”

Litigation Status 

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 1

13

Alaska; Hunting and Trapping in National Preserves

 

Rule

Completed (06/09/20)

Under Agency Review
(1/20/21)

Description

Reversed an Obama-era rule that barred using bait, such as grease-soaked doughnuts, to lure and kill grizzly bears, among other sport hunting practices that many people consider extreme, on some public lands in Alaska. The new rule was opposed by a bipartisan group of 79 members of Congress and hundreds of scientists. Final Rule

Reversal

Status:

President Biden’s 1/20/21 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed the DOI to review its final rule on hunting and trapping.

Executive Order 13990

Difficult

Method: Rescind the rule and revert to Obama-era rule.

Litigation Status

08/25/20: In Alaska Wildlife Alliance v. Bernhardt, environmental groups filed a lawsuit challenging the repeal of prohibitions on certain hunting practices in national preserves in Alaska. (D. Alaska 2020).  Complaint for Declaratory and and Injunctive Relief

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 1

 

 

14

Regulations Governing Take of Migratory Birds

 

Final Rule

Completed
(01/07/21)

Under Agency Review
(2/04/21)

Implementation Delayed
(2/9/21)

Description

Precluded enforcement of “incidental takes” under Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Final Rule

Reversal

Status

President Biden’s 1/20/21 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed the DOI to review the final rule Regulations Governing Take of Migratory Birds. On 2/4/21 DOI announced a one-month delay in implementation of the final rule which was set to go in effect on 2/8/21.

Executive Order 13990
Fact Sheet: List of Agency Actions for Review

FWS issued a final rule (2/9/21) delaying the effective date of the Trump Administration’s final rule to March 8, 2021, and requested public comments to inform their review and to determine whether the further extension of the effective date is necessary.

Final Rule

Assessment: Easy (if CRA employed); Difficult (if not)

Method: Rescind the rule.

Litigation Status

08/11/20: Court struck down the Interior Solicitor’s memorandum re-interpreting the MBTA and the April 2018 guidance from the US FWS that relied on it. The prior state of the law that allowed for enforcement of incidental takes under the MBTA is reinstated (S.D. NY 2020):

SDNY Order

1/29/21: A group of states filed a complaint in the Southern District of New York seeking vacatur of the final rule issued in January 2021.

Complaint

Harvard EELP Page

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 1

 

15

Negotiated Noncompetitive Agreements for the Use of Sand, Gravel, and/or Shell Resources on the Outer Continental Shelf

 

Rule

Completed
(10/03/17)

Description

Changed a 25-year-old policy to allow coastal replenishment projects to use sand from protected ecosystems. Final Rule

Reversal

Difficult

Method: Rescind rule.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 1

16

Reversal of Rule Restricting the Sale of Plastic Water Bottles

 

Agency Policy

Completed
(08/16/2017)

Description

Reversed restrictions on the sale of plastic water bottles in national parks designed to cut down on litter, despite a Park Service report that the effort worked. Policy Announcement

Reversal

Easy

Method: Reissue memorandum and require individual parks to ban the sale of disposable plastic water bottles.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 1

17

Guidance to Implement America-First Offshore Energy Strategy (DOI Secretarial Order 3350)

 

Guidance

Completed
(4/28/17)

Description

Pursuant to EO 13795, DOI published a guidance withdrawing and updating various rules and implement 5-Year Offshore Leasing Program. Order No. 3350

Reversal

Status

President Biden’s 1/20/21 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis revoked EO 13795 and reinstated Obama-era EO 13754.
Executive Order 13990

President Biden’s 1/27/21 Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad temporarily paused new oil and natural gas leases on public lands or in offshore waters pending completion of a comprehensive review and reconsideration of Federal oil and gas practices.
Executive Order

Assessment: Easy

Method: Issue a secretarial order revoking 3350.

Litigation Status

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 1

Total: 3

18

Coastal Barrier Resources Sand Policy

 

Guidance

Completed

(4/28/17)

Under Agency Review
(1/20/21)

Description

In an informal memo, the Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt claimed the Office of the Solicitor was reversing its 1994 position to find that the Coastal Barrier Resources Act does not prohibit the use of sand from a protected area for beach replenishment outside of the area, prompting litigation. Informal Memorandum

Reversal

Status:

President Biden’s 01/20/2021 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed DOI to review the final rule to ensure consistency with the objectives of Section 1 of the order.

Executive Order 13990
List of Agency Actions for Review

Easy

Method: Issue guidance to affirm earlier interpretation of Coastal Barrier Resources Act.

Litigation Status

07/02/20: The National Audubon Society filed a lawsuit against the DOI alleging that the Nov. 4 letter is being implemented by the FWS as an unlawful rule in violation of NEPA and the APA. Nat’l Audubon Soc’y v. Bernhardt, No. 1:20-cv-05065 (S.D.N.Y.). Coastal barrier Resources Act Sand Policy

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 1

19

Notice to Lessees Requiring Additional Financial Assurance

 

Guidance

Completed
(5/1/17)

Revoked
(1/20/21)

 

Description

Rescinded NTL No. 2016-N01, which provided new guidance for when BOEM would require additional financial assurance for leases. Notice to Lessees

Reversal

Status

1/20/21 President Biden signed the Executive Order Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science To Tackle the Climate Crisis, which revoked President Trump’s Executive Order 13795.
Executive Order 13990

1/27/21 President Biden’s Executive Order Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad calls for a review of all offshore leasing and pauses new leases.
Executive Order 14008

Assessment: Easy

Method: Issue guidance to reinstate NTL No. 2016-N01.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact 

Environmental: 0
Health: 0
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 0

Total: 1

20

Offshore Oil and Gas 5 Year Leasing Draft Proposed Program (DPP)

 

Informal agency action

Completed
(5/1/17)

 

Description

Pursuant to Secretarial Order 3350, DOI released a draft proposal for a 2019-2024 5-year leasing program that would open most US coastal waters to oil and gas drilling. The program has been put on hold after pushback from states and lawsuits. Draft Proposed Program

Reversal

Status

President Biden’s 1/27/21 Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad temporarily paused new oil and natural gas leases on public lands or in offshore waters pending completion of a comprehensive review and reconsideration of Federal oil and gas practices.

Executive Order

Easy (if DPP not finalized); Medium (if DPP finalized and EIS drafted)

Method: If the DPP is not finalized, BOEM could withdraw it and proceed with the 2017-2022 National OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program, which was approved on 1/17/17.

  • A new five-year leasing plan would need to be developed for the post-2022 period. If the DPP is finalized, BOEM could initiate development of a new five-year leasing plan by issuing a request for information and comments. (S.C.)

Litigation Status 

04/28/20: 9th Circuit scheduled oral argument for the Trump administration’s appeal of the March 29, 2019 decision by a federal district court judge that is preventing the administration from proposing new 5-Year Leasing Plan that includes areas available for leasing that President Obama had withdrawn from availability. The oral arguments held June 5 2020. Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling Leasing Program 

Overall Impact 

Environmental: 0
Health: 0
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 0

Total: 1


21

Oil and Gas and Sulphur Operations on the Outer Continental Shelf- Oil and Gas Production Safety Systems

 

Rule

Completed

(09/28/2018)

Under Agency Review
(1/20/21)

Description

Withdrew a requirement that Gulf oil rig owners prove they can cover the costs of removing rigs once they stop producing. Final Rule

Reversal 

Status:

President Biden’s 01/20/2021 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed DOI to review the final rule to ensure consistency with the objectives of Section 1 of the order.
Executive Order 13990
List of Agency Actions for Review

Assessment: Difficult

Method: Rescind final rule and replace with 2016 regulation.

Litigation Status 

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 1

Total: 2

22

Blowout Preventer and Well Control Rule

 

Rule

Completed
(5/15/19)

Description

Revised rule that consolidated and incorporated newer industry standards. Final Rule

Reversal

Difficult

Method: Rescind and replace, at a minimum restoring Obama rule.

Litigation Status 

N/A

Overall Impact 

Environmental: 2
Health: 0
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 2

23

ONRR 2020 Valuation Reform and Civil Penalty Rule

 

Proposed Rule

Completed 
(1/15/21)

Under Agency Review
(2/12/21)

Description

DOI amended the 2016 Coal, Oil, and Gas Valuation Rule. The new rule provides mechanisms that simplify reporting and promote new and continued domestic energy production. (S.C.) Final Rule

Reversal

Status

ONRR issued a final rule (2/12/21) delaying the effective date of the Trump Administration’s final rule to April 16, 2021. ONRR also seeks comments on other issues raised by the rule and its delay.
Final Rule

Assessment: Easy (if rule not finalized); Difficult (if rule needs to be rescinded)

Method: Withdraw the proposed rule, and either retain the 2016 Valuation Rule or propose an alternative that does not promote fossil fuel use. (S.C.)

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 1

Total: 2

24

Air Quality Control, Reporting, and Compliance

 

Rule

Completed
(6/5/20)

 

Description

DOI updated 2016 Offshore Air Quality Rule that would have tightened pollution standards for offshore operations and required improved pollution control technology. Final Rule

Reversal 

Difficult

Method: Rescind rule and replace with update to 2016 rule.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 1

 

25

Enlarging Shasta Dam

 

Environmental Impact Statement

Completed
(11/19/20)

 

Description

EIS completed assessing impacts of raising Shasta Dam by up to 18.5 feet. Final EIS

Reversal 

Medium

Method: Conduct new EIS.

Litigation Status

On November 29, 2018, The Center for Biological Diversity and the Environmental Protection Information Center sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in San Francisco for failing to act on a 2012 petition to protect Shasta salamanders under the Endangered Species Act. On 10/6/2020 CA Attorney General Xavier Becerra sent a letter to the Administration asserting that the Bureau can’t fast-track the project under the Clean Water Act because Congress hasn’t authorized the dam raise. The Bureau would also need permits from the State Water Resources Control Board and other authorities to proceed.

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 1

26

Procedures for Issuing Guidance Documents

 

Interim Final Rule

Completed
(10/26/20)

 

 

Description

In addition to establishing new procedures for agency guidance documents, the new rule requires that all “significant” guidance documents must go through notice-and-comment rulemaking. OIRA would make the determination as to what constitutes “significant guidance.” Interim Final Rule

Reversal 

Difficult

Method: Rescind rule.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 0
Health: 0
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 0

Total: 1

27

BLM Categorical Exclusion from NEPA

 

Notice of Revisions

Completed
(5/1/20)

Under Agency Review
(1/20/21)

 

Description

DOI announced that BLM would be categorically excluded from compliance requirements with NEPA, CEQ regulations, as well as other statutes and executive orders. Notice of Revisions

Reversal 

Status

President Biden’s 01/20/2021 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed EPA to review the Notice of Revisions to ensure consistency with the objectives of Section 1 of the order.
Executive Order 13990
Fact Sheet: List of Agency Actions for Review

Difficult

Method: Rescind rule.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 0

Total: 2

28

Central Valley Project Contracts, Funding, and Allocations

 

Memorandum

Completed
(1/19/21)

Description

On January 19, 2021, Secretary Bernhardt issued a memo that halted statutorily required Central Valley Project mitigation and restoration funding.

Assistant Secretary’s Memo
Secretary’s Memo Concurring

Trump’s DOI executed permanent water contracts for Westlands Water District and other CVP contractors that disregraded the realistic allocations of the public waters. Furthermore, they were issued without proper environmental review or compliance with the Central Valley Project Improvement Act. Media Coverage

Trump’s DOI proposed revisions to the CVP Business Practices and Guidelines pending before OMB. The revisions would shift payments owed by the CVP contractors to taxpayers. Press Release

The Trump Administration issued cost allocation methodology for the CVP that shifted costs away from water and power beneficiaries. Cost Allocation Study

Reversal 

Easy

Method: Withdraw and reissue new memorandums, rescind water contract, withdraw proposed revisions, and withdraw and reissue new cost allocation methodology.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 0

Total: 2

29

Reassessment of U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Klamath Project Operations to Facilitate Compliance with Section 7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act

 

Memorandum

Completed
(1/14/21)

Description

President Trump issued a memorandum on October 19, 2018, that ordered the Secretaries of Interior and Commerce to deregulate water projects subject to the Endangered Species Act as well as finish their consultation on the Klamath Project by August 2019. In October 2020, DOI issued a memorandum withdrawing agency opinions from the 1990s that accorded senior water rights from the Klamath Project to tribal authorities, and which were affirmed by multiple federal appellate courts. In January 2021, the Bureau of Reclamation released an analysis stating that irrigation water deliveries from the Klamath Project were no longer subject to curtailments under section 7 of the Endangered Species Act. Activists claim these actions further endanger shortnose suckers, Lost River suckers, and coho salmon and violate senior Tribal water rights.

Solicitors Klamath Opinion (10-28-20)
Analysis of Klamath Project Discretionary Authority
Reassessment of Klamath Project Operations
Use of Water Stored for Downstream Rights

Reversal 

Easy

Method: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Solicitor of Interior to rescind the October 2020 memorandum, reinstate the 1995 and 1997 regional solicitor memoranda, and conduct a full review of legal issues regarding Klamath Project. The Secretary of the Interior should also direct the Bureau of Reclamation to develop proposed action based on the 1995 and 1997 memoranda until a more comprehensive analysis is conducted by the Solicitor of Interior.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 0

Total: 2


1

Final Environmental Assessment for Lifting the Coal Leasing Moratorium

 

Environmental Assessment 

In Progress 
(2/25/20)

Under Agency Review
(1/20/21)

Description

In March of 2017, the Secretary of the Interior revoked Secretary’s Order 3338, an Obama administration order pausing coal leasing until environmental analysis was conducted. Secretary’s Order 3348

In February of 2020, BLM published a final Environmental Assessment and finding of no significant impact for reinstating the federal coal leasing program.
Final Environmental Assessment
Finding of No Significant Impact

Reversal

Status
President Biden’s 1/20/2021 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed DOI to review DOI’s Order No. 3348 to ensure consistency with the objectives of Section 1 of the order.

Executive Order 13990
Fact Sheet: List of Agency Actions for Review

Assessment: Easy (new secretarial order to reinstate coal leasing review); Medium (new environmental assessment, request to hold case in abeyance)

Method: Re-instate the federal coal leasing review and moratorium. BLM had already commenced the scoping process for the programmatic review and could resume the NEPA process where it left off. Go further to look at the effects of all federal fossil fuel leasing decisions. A more comprehensive approach, which includes oil and gas leases, would allow for better analysis of cumulative effects. (S.C.)

Litigation Status

05/22/2020: In Citizens for Clean Energy v. U.S. DOI, Montana Federal Court said issuance of EA and FONSI for Lifting of Moratorium on Coal Program remedied NEPA violations.

07/23/2020: Plaintiffs challenged the EA citing several flaws, including ignoring cumulative impacts and arbitrarily refusing to use the social cost of carbon or another metric to assess greenhouse gas impacts.

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 1

Total: 2

 

2

Oil and Gas; Hydraulic Fracturing on Federal and Indian Lands 

 

Rule 

Completed 
(12/29/17)

Under Agency Review
(01/20/21)

 

Description 

Rescinded water pollution regulations for fracking on federal and Indian lands. Final Rule

Reversal 

Status

President Biden’s 1/20/2021 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed DOI to review the final rule to ensure consistency with the objectives of Section 1 of the order.

Executive Order  Fact Sheet: List of Agency Actions for Review

President Biden’s 1/27/21 Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad temporarily paused new oil and natural gas leases on public lands or in offshore waters pending completion of a comprehensive review and reconsideration of Federal oil and gas practices.

Executive Order

Difficult 

Method: Rescind rule and replace with 2015 rule. 

Litigation Status

03/27/2020: District Court upheld repeal of Obama rule 

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 1

Total: 3

 

3

Record of Decision for the Final EIS for the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program, Alaska 

 

Record of Decision 

Completed 
(08/27/20)

Under Agency Review
(01/20/21)

Description 

Pursuant to the Job and Tax Cuts Act of 2017, BLM published an EIS for the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program, identifying a “preferred” program which would make the entire Coastal Plain area under federal control for oil and gas leasing. On August 17, 2020, BLM finalized a record of decision adopting this preferred program. Notice of Availability Record of Decision

Reversal 

Status

President Biden’s 1/20/21 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed DOI to place a temporary moratorium on all federal activities in the Coastal Plain and to review and conduct a new EIS as appropriate.

Executive Order 13990

President Biden’s 1/27/21 Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad temporarily paused new oil and natural gas leases on public lands or in offshore waters pending completion of a comprehensive review and reconsideration of Federal oil and gas practices.

Executive Order

Assessment: Difficult 

Method: BLM could initiate a new review process to revise the program and restrict leasing to the minimum acreage required to be made available by law. (S.C.)

Litigation Status

08/24/20: In Gwich’in Steering Committee v. Bernhardt plaintiffs alleged the record of decision violates seven laws and the EIS “failed to provide ‘a reasonably thorough discussion of the effectiveness of mitigation measures.'”

Overall Impact 

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 1

Total: 3

 

4

Revisions to the 2016 Waste Prevention, Production Subject to Royalties, and Resource Conservation Rule

 

Rule

Completed 
(09/28/18)

Under Agency Review
(01/20/21)

Description 

Revised the Obama-era methane rule (“Waste Prevention Rule”) repealing various requirements for waste-minimization plans, gas-capture percentages, well drilling, and reinstating some regulations that were first developed in the 1970s. Final Rule

Reversal 

Status

President Biden’s 1/20/2021 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed DOI to review the final rule to ensure consistency with the objectives of Section 1 of the order.

Executive Order 13990
Fact Sheet: List of Agency Actions for Review

Assessment: Difficult

Method: Rescind 2018 rule and revert to 2016 rule (if vacateur is not granted by Ninth Circuit); Would want to initiate new rulemaking to build on 2016 rule

Litigation Status 

There are two cases, one challenging the repeal and one challenging the 2016 rule:

07/15/2020: In California v Bernhardt, the court vacated the 2018 BLM repeal of the 2016 Waste Prevention Rule. (N.D. Cal. 2020):

07/21/2020: In Wyoming v. United States Department of Interior, five days after California court vacated the repeal of 2016 waste prevention rule, four states moved to lift a stay on litigation challenging the 2016 rule. (D. Wyo 2020):

10/09/20: District court in Wyoming struck down 2016 Waste Prevention Rule.

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 1

Total: 3

 

5

Record of Decision for the Keystone XL Pipeline, Montana

 

Record of Decision

Completed 
(01/09/20)

Presidential Permit Revoked 
(01/20/21)

 

Description 

Approved the Keystone XL pipeline rejected by President Obama, but a federal judge blocked the project from going forward without an adequate environmental review process. Mr. Trump attempted to sidestep the ruling by issuing a presidential permit. Initial construction has started, but the project remains tied up in court. Notice of Availability Record of Decision

Reversal

Status

President Biden’s 1/20/21 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis revoked the presidential permit for the pipeline.

Executive Order 13990

Assessment: Difficult

Method: Rescind the presidential permit, rescind the Right-of-Way Permit, and re-conduct the EIS.

Litigation Status

Two lawsuits are currently in progress:

03/02/2020: The first challenges Trump’s presidential permit (D. Mont. 2020):

07/14/2020: The second challenges the BLM’s granting of right-of-way and temporary use permits (D. Mont. 2020):

Overall Impact 

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 1

Total: 3

 

6

Notice of Intent To Prepare EIS for Revision of Grazing Regulations for Public Lands

 

Notice of Intent

In Progress 
(01/21/20)

 

Description 

BLM published a Notice of Intent to Draft an EIS to overhaul grazing regulations on public lands in order to increase permitting efficiency. Western Watersheds Project notes concern that the changes will result in decreased enforcement against illegal grazing. Notice of Intent To Prepare EIS

Reversal 

Easy (if EIS not finalized); Medium (if EIS needs to be conducted again)

Method: Rescind and replace rule if final rule is published; otherwise halt rulemaking process.

Litigation Status 

N/A

Overall Impact 

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 0

Total: 2

 

7

Master Leasing Plans

 

Policy Memo

Completed (01/21/18)

Under Agency Review
(01/20/21)

Description

Eliminated the use of Master Leasing Plans, a planning approach introduced by the Obama Administration to manage oil and gas activity on sensitive landscapes, such as national parks, and avoid harmful impacts to sensitive resources. Memorandum

Reversal

Status

President Biden’s 1/20/2021 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed DOI to review the final rule to ensure consistency with the objectives of Section 1 of the order.

Executive Order 13990
Fact Sheet: List of Agency Actions for Review

President Biden’s 1/27/21 Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad temporarily paused new oil and natural gas leases on public lands or in offshore waters pending completion of a comprehensive review and reconsideration of Federal oil and gas practices.

Executive Order 14008

Assessment: Easy

Method: Issue guidance to reinstate MLPs policy. Consider enhancing MLP policy.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 0

Total: 2

 

8

Non-Energy Solid Leasable Minerals Royalty Rate Reduction Process

 

Rule

Completed
(10/26/20)

Description

BLM amended regulations to streamline the royalty rate reduction process for non-energy solid leasable minerals, including soda ash, potash, phosphate, sodium, etc. Final Rule

Reversal 

Difficult

Method: Rescind rule.

Litigation Status 

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 1

 

9

Notice of Intent To Prepare an EIS for the Twin Metals Project in the Superior National Forest

 

Environmental Impact Statement

In Progress
(06/30/20)

Description 

BLM reversed 2016 findings and renewed hardrock mining leases in the Superior National Forest without any environmental review or public input. The prospecting permits allow Twin Metals to drill holes, build roads and do other mining exploratory work throughout more than 15,000 acres of Superior National Forest. BLM then announced its intention to draft an EIS. Notice of Intent To Prepare EIS

Reversal

Easy (if EIS not finalized); Medium (if EIS needs to be conducted again)

Method: If new EIS not completed, can revert to 2016 EIS and deny permits. Otherwise, conduct new environmental assessment.

Litigation Status

08/05/20: Environmental groups sued. (Voyageur Outward Bound School et al. v. United States) (The Wilderness Society et al. v. Bernhardt)

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 1

 

10

BLM 20 Year Resource Management Plans

 

Records of Decision (various)

In Progress
(2020)

Description 

Over the last year, BLM has released draft and final plans for Colorado, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, and Oregon that will guide the management of more than 20 million acres of Western lands for the next two decades. The first round of proposals failed to conserve lands that the BLM’s own research deemed worthy of protection and would remove decades-old safeguards from other places, leaving only a fraction of the areas preserved while opening vast swaths to energy and mineral development. Media Coverage

Reversal 

Status

President Biden’s 1/27/21 Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad temporarily paused new oil and natural gas leases on public lands or in offshore waters pending completion of a comprehensive review and reconsideration of Federal oil and gas practices.

Executive Order

Assessment: Difficult

Method: Revisit and issue new plan for each state.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 1

Total: 3

 

11

Decreased review times for Applications for Permit to Drill (APDs)

 

Permitting

In Progress
(2020)

Description

For the APDs BLM received from May 2016 through June 2019, overall review times decreased from 196 days to 94 days, or by more than half. BLM officials said that field offices handle APD review prioritization differently and there is no documented process for whether or how to prioritize applications. Govt. Accountability Office Recommended Actions

Reversal

Status

President Biden’s 1/27/21 Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad temporarily paused new oil and natural gas leases on public lands or in offshore waters pending completion of a comprehensive review and reconsideration of Federal oil and gas practices.

Executive Order

Easy

Method: Issue internal guidance/memo requiring more stringent and formal review of APDs.

Litigation Status 

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 0
Health: 0
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 1

Total: 2

 

 

12

Acreage Exemption for Salvage Foresting

 

Proposed Rule

In Progress
(06/02/2020)

Description

Proposed to categorically exclude timber salvage projects of up to 5,000 acres in size from environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Salvage logging is the practice of logging trees that have been damaged by wildfire, insect infestation and disease, drought, and other disturbances. Proposed Rule

Reversal 

Easy (if rule not finalized); Difficult (if finalized)

Method: Withdraw proposed rule, or initiate process to rescind if finalized.

Litigation Status 

In July 2020, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra submitted comments opposing BLM’s proposal.

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 0

Total: 2

 

 

13

Draft EIS for the Desert Plan Amendment (California)

 

Environmental Impact Statement

In Progress
(01/14/2021)

Description

BLM issued a draft EIS proposing to amend the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP), which details federal lands available for renewable energy development in Southern California desert areas. If adopted, the amendments could remove species and habitat protections from hundreds of thousands of acres of conservation lands.

BLM Announcement
Notice of Availability

Reversal 

Easy

Method: Withdraw the proposed amendments and reconsider no-action and conservation-focused alternatives aligned with DRECP goals and energy development needs.

Litigation Status 

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 1

Total: 2

 

 

14

Forest Management Decision Protest Procedures

 

Final Rule

Completed
(12/18/20)

Under Agency Review 
(1/20/21)

Description

DOI issued a rule limiting the ability of the public to protest BLM timber sale and forest management decisions. Final Rule

Reversal 

Status

President Biden’s 01/20/2021 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed EPA to review the final rule to ensure consistency with the objectives of Section 1 of the order.
Executive Order 13990
Fact Sheet: List of Agency Actions for Review

Difficult

Method: Rescind rule.

Litigation Status 

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 0

Total: 2

 

1

Overturned  Ban on Importing Trophies of African Lions and Elephants

 

 

Agency Policy

Completed
(03/01/18)

Description

Withdrew ESA findings banning the import of elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia. In its place, FWS would instead “grant or deny permits to import a sport-hunted trophy on a case-by-case basis.” Memorandum

Reversal

Easy

Method: Update agency policy to reinstate ban.

Litigation Status

03/01/18: After being sued for violating the APA and ESA, the FWS withdrew the new policy, then announced that it would apply that policy in individual adjudications.
Natural Resources Defense Council v. Zinke, Docket No. 17-02504 (D.D.C.)

06/16/20: Federal appeals court in D.C. upheld the policy, allowing agency to proceed through informal adjudication when deciding whether to allow trophy imports of species classified as threatened.
Friends of Animals v. Bernhardt, 961 F.3d 1197 (D.C. Cir. 2020)

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 1

 

2

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Removing the Gray Wolf

 

 

Final Rule

Completed
(11/3/20)

Under Agency Review
(1/20/21)

Description

Delisted the gray wolf from the endangered and threatened species throughout the United States except for the Mexican wolf population in the Southwest.

Proposed Rule

Final Rule

Reversal

Status: 

President Biden’s 01/20/2021 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed DOI to review the final rule.

Executive Order 13990
Fact Sheet: List of Agency Actions for Review

Easy (if rule not finalized); Difficult (if rule needs to be rescinded)

Method: If rule is finalized, rescind rule; otherwise halt rulemaking.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 1

 

1

Reversal of Rule Requiring Braking System Upgrades for High Hazard Trains

 

Rule 

Completed 
(9/25/18)

Description

Reversed an Obama-era rule that required braking system upgrades for “high hazard” trains hauling flammable liquids like oil and ethanol. Final Rule

Reversal

Difficult

Method: Rescind rule and replace with 2015 rule; conduct a new regulatory impact analysis.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 2

2

Hazardous Materials: Liquefied Natural Gas by Rail

 

Rule 

Completed 
(7/24/20)

Under Agency Review
(1/20/21)

Description

DOT finalized a rule to allow for rail transport of the highly flammable liquefied natural gas. Final Rule

Reversal

Status

President Biden’s 1/20/2021 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed DOT to review the final rule to ensure consistency with the objectives of Section 1 of the order.

Executive Order 13990

Fact Sheet: List of Agency Actions for Review

Assessment: Difficult

Method: Rescind the rule.

Litigation Status

8/18/2020: Seven environmental groups and fourteen states plus DC filed a petition for review.

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 1

Total: 2

3

Tire Fuel Efficiency Consumer Information

 

Proposed Rule 

In Progress 
(1/26/20)

Description

Withdrew then delayed a proposed rule that would inform car owners about fuel-efficient replacement tires. Rule Information

Reversal

Difficult

Method: Initiate a new rulemaking re-proposing the rule.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 0
Health: 0
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 1

Total: 1

4

National Performance Management Measures for National Highway System

 

Rule 

Completed 
(5/31/18)

Description

Removed greenhouse gas reporting requirements and performance standards for state and regional highway planning. Final Rule

Reversal

Difficult

Method: Initiate rulemaking to reinstate the greenhouse gas reporting requirement. Can consider improvement to reporting requirements.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 0
Health: 1
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 1

Total: 3

5

Clean Fuels Grant Program

 

Rule 

Completed 
(10/21/19)

Description

Rescinded implementation of the Clean Fuels Grants Program, which required the FTA to assist nonattainment areas in achieving attainment, support emerging clean fuel technologies for transit buses, and create markets for these technologies. Final Rule

Reversal

N/A (will need to reinstate via legislation)

Litigation Status

N/A 

Overall Impact

Environmental: 0
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 1

Total: 2

6

Civil Penalties

 

Rule; delayed 

Completed 
(7/12/19)

Description

Indefinitely delayed the effective date of an Obama-era rule to increase penalties on automakers that don’t meet fuel efficiency standards (CAFE) standards. Delay Announcement

Reversal

N/A (will need to reinstate new fuel efficiency standards. See: SAFE rule)

Litigation Status

N/A 

Overall Impact

Environmental: 0
Health: 0
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 1

Total: 2

7

Pipeline Safety: Exercise of Enforcement Discretion Regarding Farm Taps

 

Final Rule

Completed 
(1/11/21)

Implementation Delayed
(3/5/21)

Description

PHMSA announced they would not enforce rules against operators that do not comply with farm tap regulations. Farm taps supply gas to customers in rural areas.
Enforcement Discretion Announcement

PHMSA issued a final rule reducing regulation on pipeline construction, maintenance, and operation. The rule withdrew the prior agency announcement of enforcement discretion.
Final Rule

Reversal

Status

President Biden’s 1/20/2021 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed PHMSA to review the final rule to ensure consistency with the objectives of Section 1 of the order.
Executive Order 13990

On 3/5/21, PHMSA announced a delay of implementation of the final rule and withdrawal of enforcement discretion to 3/21/21.
Delay of Effective Date

Easy

Method: Replace with agency directive to enforce farm tap regulations.

Litigation Status

N/A 

Overall Impact

Environmental: 0
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 1

Total: 2

1

Streamlined Procedures for Permit Appeals

 

Rule

Completed 
(8/21/20)

Under Agency Review
(1/20/21)

Description

Streamlined EPA’s permit appeal process, limiting the ability of individuals and communities to challenge pollution permits before its Environmental Appeals Board (EAB). Effectively removed EAB’s authority to consider environmental justice impacts in deciding whether to overturn a permit. Final Rule

Reversal

Status

President Biden’s 01/20/2021 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed EPA to review the final rule to ensure consistency with the objectives of Section 1 of the order.

Executive Order 13990
List of Agency Actions for Review

Assessment: Difficult

Method: Rescind and update the rule so that the EAB is accessible and prioritizes environmental justice.

Litigation Status

N/A 

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 1

Total: 4

2

The Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule Part One: One National Program

 

Rule

Completed 
(9/27/19)

Under Agency Review
(1/20/21)

Description

Revoked California’s authority to set stricter tailpipe emissions standards than the federal government. NHTSA also finalized a new rule purporting to preempt ZEV mandates and state and local regulations on tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions. Waiver Withdrawal and Final Rule

Reversal

Status

President Biden’s 1/20/21 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed EPA to review and consider rescinding the SAFE Pt. 1 Rule by April 2021.

Executive Order 13990

Assessment: Difficult

Method: Rescind the rule and reinstate CA’s waiver. EPA could then move to dismiss the ongoing challenge to the waiver revocation as moot. Alternatively, if California petitions EPA for a new preemption waiver with respect to its greenhouse gas and ZEV standards, EPA could approve it.

Initiate a new rulemaking to rescind the preemption rule.

Litigation Status

06/29/2020: In Union of Concerned Scientists v. NHTSA, opening briefs challenged lawfulness of EPA and NHTSA’s actions to restrict California and other states’ authority to regulate vehicle GHG emissions. More briefs were filed in July 2020.

02/11/20: In California v. Chao, the cases are stayed pending resolution of the D.C. Circuit litigation.

02/1/21: EPA and NHTSA filed a motion of abeyance with the D.C. Circuit, requesting that Union of Concerned Scientists v. NHTSA be held in abeyance until EPA and NHTSA are able to review and reconsider the One National Program pursuant to the direction given in President Biden’s Jan. 20, 2021 Executive Order.

02/2/21: The Coalition for Sustainable Automotive Regulation and Automotive Regulatory Council filed a motion to withdraw as respondent-intervenors in Union of Concerned Scientists v. NHTSA. 

02/8/21: The D.C. Circuit issued an order holding the case in abeyance.

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 1

Total: 3

3

The Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule Part Two: Model Years 2021-2026 Passenger Cars and Light Trucks

 

Rule

Completed 
(4/30/20)

Under Agency Review
(1/20/21)

Description

Revised standards for corporate average fuel economy and tailpipe carbon dioxide emissions for passenger vehicles and light-duty trucks for model years 2021-2026. Replaced requirements issued in 2012 that would have achieved a 5% improvement per year in carbon dioxide emissions standards and fuel economy standards for light-duty vehicles. Final Rule

Reversal

Status

President Biden’s 1/20/21 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed EPA to review and consider rescinding the SAFE Pt. 2 Rule by July 2021.

Executive Order 13990

Assessment: Difficult

Method: EPA and NHTSA could initiate a new rulemaking to rescind the SAFE Rule, reinstate the previous standards, and promulgate new greenhouse gas and corporate average fuel economy standards for model years 2022 and beyond.

Litigation Status

08/25/2020: Petitioners argued EPA was “cut out of the process of developing its own rule” and that “the Executive Branch took unprecedented and improper steps to hide the facts.” (D.C. Cir.)

02/01/2021: EPA and NHTSA moved to hold all cases concerning the SAFE Vehicles Rule in abeyance until the agency review is completed pursuant to Biden’s Executive Order.

04/05/2021: Court granted the motion to hold all cases concerning the SAFE Rule in abeyance.

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 1

Total: 3

4

Mercury and Air Toxics Standards for Power Plants Electronic Reporting Revisions

 

Rule

Completed 
(9/9/20)

Description

Reduced reporting requirements for hazardous air pollutants for power plants. Final Rule

Reversal

Difficult

Method: Rescind rule.

Litigation Status

N/A 

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 1

Total: 3

5

NESHAPs: Coal- and Oil-Fired Electric Utility Steam Generating Units -Reconsideration of Supplemental Finding and Residual RTR (MATS rule)

 

Rule

Completed 
(5/22/20)

Under Agency Review
(1/20/21)

Description

Withdrew the legal justification for an Obama-era rule that limited mercury emissions from coal power plants. EPA also determined that the residual risks from power plant hazardous air pollutant emissions are acceptable and the standards should not be tightened. Final Rule

Reversal

Status

President Biden’s 1/20/21 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed EPA to review and consider rescinding the rule by August 2021.

Executive Order 13990

Assessment: Difficult

Method: Rescind and replace NESHAP. Reinstate the appropriate and necessary finding underpinning MATS.

Litigation Status

05/22/20: Westmoreland Mining filed a petition to review the legality of MATS. Five cases related to the MATS ruling were consolidated in August 2020.

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 1

Total: 3

6

Repeal of Clean Power Plan (“Affordable Clean Energy” Rule)

 

Rule

Completed 
(7/8/19)

Under Agency Review
(1/20/21)

Vacated
(1/19/21)

 

Description

Replaced the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, which would have set strict limits on carbon emissions from existing coal- and gas-fired power plants, with the Affordable Clean Energy Rule. The CPP was expected to reduce emissions by approximately 30% by 2030. EPA projects that the ACE Rule will reduce CO2 emissions by 0.7% by 2030, but it may not reduce them at all. Final Rule

Reversal

Status

President Biden’s 1/20/21 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed the EPA administrator to review the final ACE rule.
Executive Order 13990
List of Agency Actions for Review

On 1/19/21, the D.C. Circuit issued a ruling vacating the ACE rule (including its repeal of the Clean Power Plan) and remanded it to EPA.
Order to Vacate and Remand

2/12/21: EPA issued guidance stating that since the D.C. Circuit did not expressly reinstate the Clean Power Plan, the agency will not expect states to submit implementation plans or take action under the Plan at this time.
Guidance Letter

Assessment: Difficult

Method: Initiate rulemaking to replace the ACE Rule with a new rule regulating GHG emissions from existing power plants. The prevailing view among commentators appears to be that a new EPA should not simply re-propose the Clean Power Plan; that rule had been challenged in court by Republican attorneys general and industry groups and stayed by the Supreme Court pending completion of litigation, and its emission reduction targets may be insufficiently ambitious given advances in renewable energy technology and climate science. Following the D.C. Circuit’s January 2021 decision vacating the Rule, EPA should be able to start immediately on a new rule. In February 2021, EPA Administrator nominee Michael Regan indicated the agency would pursue a new rulemaking. E&E News analysis

Litigation Status

All litigation is consolidated under American Lung Association v. EPA. Oral arguments took place on Oct. 8, 2020.

1/19/21: The D.C. Circuit issued a ruling vacating the ACE rule (including its repeal of the Clean Power Plan) and remanding it to EPA.

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 1

Total: 4

7

Oil and Natural Gas Exploration and Production Facilities Existing Owner Audit Program

 

Agency Policy

Completed 
(12/19/19)

Program Ended
(12/20/20)

 

Description

This voluntary program provides total civil penalty mitigation for existing owners of oil and gas wells who find, correct, and self-disclose Clean Air Act violations by the end of this year. The marks the first time that the agency has proposed complete penalty forgiveness. Policy Statement

Reversal

N/A (program completed at the end of 2020)

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 1

Total: 2

8

Renewable Fuel Standards Program: Standards for 2019-2021 Biomass-Based Diesel Volume

 

Rule

Completed 
(2/6/20)

Description

EPA finalized an update to the Renewable Fuel Standard Program for 2019 and 2020. Final Rule

On 2/6/20, the agency issued updated 2021 Biomass-Based Diesel Volume standards. Final Rule

Reversal

Difficult

Method: Petition to hold cases in abeyance and move to rescind rule. Improvement to program can be considered via legislative means.

Litigation Status

There are currently two cases. One over the 2019 volume requirements and one over the 2020 volume requirements. 

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 1

Total: 2

9

New Source Performance Standards for Methane and VOC (Oil and Natural Gas Sector: Emission Standards for New, Reconstructed, and Modified Sources Review)

 

Final Rules

Completed 
(9/15/20)

Under Agency Review
(1/20/21)

Description

Revised new source performance standards (NSPS) for emissions from the oil and gas sector–eliminating regulations of methane, removing the transmission and storage segments from regulation, and limiting EPA’s ability to regulate existing sources. The two actions are referred to as the Review Rule and Reconsideration Rule. The Review Rule breaks with decades of EPA interpretation of the Clean Air Act to take a stance that could limit the ability of EPA to regulate GHG emissions from any source.

In January 2021, EPA issued a final rule setting a minimum threshold for a significant contribution finding needed to regulate a source category under Section 111 of the Clean Air Act. The rule, which followed the Review Rule’s requirement of category-specific findings for each pollutant, requires a source category emit at least three percent of US GHGs, potentially precluding future regulation of oil and gas methane emissions under the Act.

Reversal

Status

President Biden’s 1/20/21 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed EPA to review and consider rescinding the Emission Standards (9/14/20) and the Reconsideration Rule (9/15/20).

Executive Order 13990
List of Agency Actions for Review

Assessment: Difficult

Method: Initiate a rulemaking process to repeal the September 2020 rules, restore the transmission and storage segments to the source category, and reinstate methane NSPS for the oil and gas sector. EPA could also initiate a rulemaking process to implement existing source standards for methane.

Litigation Status

09/14/20: A coalition of 24 states and municipalities filed suit to challenge EPA’s Review Rule, arguing it violates the Clean Air Act. CA v. Wheeler.

09/14-15/20: A coalition of environmental groups filed petitions for review with the DC Circuit challenging both the Review Rule and the Reconsideration Rule.

10/27/20: D.C. Circuit decides not to stay the Review Rule while it considers litigation challenging the rule, dissolving its earlier administrative stay that prevented the rule from going into effect immediately. EDF v. Wheeler.

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 1

Total: 4

10

Halted Development of Methane Emissions Guidelines for Existing Sources (Withdrawal of Obligation To Submit Information)

 

Information collection request withdrawal

Completed 
(3/2/17)

Under Agency Review 
(1/20/21)

Description

Withdrew 2016 Information Collection Request for the oil and gas industry, which would have started the development of methane emissions guidelines for existing sources. In June 2017, EPA announced that it would not move ahead with plans to regulate methane emissions from existing sources. Withdrawal Notice

Reversal

Status

President Biden’s 1/20/21 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed EPA to consider whether to propose new regulations establishing performance standards and emission guidelines for methane emissions from existing oil and gas operations.

Executive Order 13990

Assessment: Difficult 

Method: Reissue the ICR and initiate notice-and-comment rulemaking to develop emissions guidelines for existing oil and gas facilities. (S.C.)

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 1

Total: 2

11

Reclassification of Major Sources as Area Sources Under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act (Withdrawal of the Once-in Always-In Policy)

 

Rule

Completed
(11/19/20)

Under Agency Review
(1/20/21)

Description

Loosened a Clinton-era rule designed to limit toxic emissions from major industrial polluters. Final rule allows thousands of large industrial facilities that are currently regulated as “major” sources to opt-out of protective standards for hazardous air pollutants. Many of the facilities that could increase pollution under the loophole are in low-income communities and communities of color. Final Rule

Reversal

Status

President Biden’s 1/20/21 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed the EPA administrator to review the 11/19/20 final rule (Reclassification of Major Sources as Area Sources Under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act).

Executive Order 13990
List of Agency Actions for Review

Assessment: Difficult 

Method: Rescind rule and update Once-In-Always-In Policy. Potential to improve Clinton-era policy through regulatory process.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 0

Total: 3

12

Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Nonattainment New Source Review (NNSR): Project Emissions Accounting

 

Rule

Completed 
(11/24/20)

Description

Revised a program designed to safeguard communities from increases in pollution from new power plants to make it easier for facilities to avoid emissions regulations. Final Rule

Reversal

Difficult 

Method: Issue guidance restoring pre-2017 emissions accounting process and rescind rule.

Litigation Status

01/22/21: Environmental Defense Fund sued the EPA over the allowance of emitters to consider both increases and decreases in emissions during Step 1 of NSR Environmental Defense Fund et al. v. EPA, No. 21-1039 (DC Cir.).

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 1

Total: 4

13

NESHAPs and NSPS: Petroleum Refinery Sector

 

Rule

Completed 
(11/26/18)

Description

Amended the 2015 NESHAP and NSPS for petroleum refineries. EPA contended that the amendments were insignificant and would not negatively impact the environment. Many environmental organizations argue that the changes weaken the regulations and provide unnecessary leniency for industry. Final Rule

Reversal

Difficult

Method: Rescind rule and update 2015 rule; may need to request to hold case in abeyance if DC Circuit decides to hear case.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 1

Total: 3

14

Weakening Obama-era Regional Haze Rule

 

Guidance

Completed 
(8/20/19)

Reversal in Progress
(1/20/21)

Description

In January 2017, the Obama-era Regional Haze Rule went into effect. The rule was meant to reduce air pollution in national parks and wilderness areas. After litigation with states and industry groups, the rule has been held in abeyance and is under review. Final Rule (2017)

In April 2018, a presidential directive ordered EPA to review all existing regional haze Federal Implementation Plans (FIPs) and replace them with State Implementation Plans (SIPs). Memorandum

In August 2019, EPA published a guidance for state implementation plan development intended to leave emissions controls to states. Critics argue that this guidance allows states to simply ignore how pollution impacts visibility in parks and offers little advice on how to identify pollution sources for emission reduction analysis. Implementation Guidance

Reversal

Status

President Biden’s 1/20/21 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis revoked The Presidential Memorandum of April 12, 2018 (Promoting Domestic Manufacturing and Job Creation Policies and Procedures Relating to Implementation of Air Quality Standards), which initiated development of the 2019 guidance.

Executive Order 13990

Assessment: Easy (to reverse guidance); Difficult (to settle existing litigation on 2016 rule)

Method: Issue new guidance offering states clear and specific instructions on how to achieve standards while review of rule is completed.

Litigation Status

01/30/18: Court granted EPA’s motion to hold the case in abeyance pending review of the final rule by the EPA.

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 0

Total: 3

15

Regional Haze State Implementation Plans

 

Litigation

In Progress 

Description

EPA is also involved in ongoing litigation with multiple states regarding the adequacy of the states’ plans. Through these legal challenges, several states and industry are seeking more lenient technology standards for polluting facilities. Litigation Background

Reversal

Difficult

Method: May require negotiated settlements (see above).

Litigation Status

Ongoing: Environmental groups are opposing because adequate plans are still not in place.

Overall Impact

Environmental: 0
Health: 0
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 1

Total: 2

16

Final Subcategory of Certain Existing Electric Utility Steam Generating Units that Fire Coal Refuse

 

Rule

Completed 
(4/15/20)

 

Description

Relaxed air pollution regulations for a handful of plants that burn waste coal for electricity. Final Rule

Reversal

Difficult

Method: Rescind Rule.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: -1
Climate: 1

Total: 2

17

Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) Program (HFCs)

 

Guidance

Completed 
(4/27/18)

 

Description

In April 2018, EPA announced that it would not enforce a 2015 rule restricting the use of hydrofluorocarbons, which are powerful greenhouse gases and climate super-pollutants. Notification of Guidance

Reversal

Status

President Biden’s 1/27/21 Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad directs the Secretary of State to prepare within 60 days a transmittal package to seek the Senate’s advice and consent to ratification of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, concerning the phasedown of hydrofluorocarbons.

Executive Order

Assessment: Easy

Method: Issue new guidance clarifying that the 2015 rule remains in effect to the extent that it prospectively prohibits replacing ozone-depleting substances with HFCs. 

Litigation Status

04/07/20: D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that EPA acted unlawfully in issuing its guidance on nonenforcement. Court explained that it had previously held that EPA could not compel operators who had already switched to HFCs to make another switch to a new substitute but that EPA did have the authority to prohibit operators currently using ozone-depleting substances from switching to HFCs. 

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 2

Total: 3

18

Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: Revisions to the Refrigerant Management Program’s Extension to Substitutes

 

Rule

Completed 
(3/11/20)

Under Agency Review
(1/20/21)

 

Description

Revised 2016 rule to limit leak repair and appliance maintenance requirements for ozone-depleting substances. Under the new rule, appliances with 50 or more pounds of substitute refrigerants will no longer be subject to requirements for leak inspection and reporting. Final Rule

Reversal

Status

President Biden’s 01/20/2021 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed EPA to review the final rule to ensure consistency with the objectives of Section 1 of the order.

Executive Order 13990
List of Agency Actions for Review

Assessment: Difficult

Method: Initiate a new rulemaking to repeal the 2020 rule and reinstate the 2016 detection and maintenance requirements for HFCs. 

Litigation Status

05/11/20: Eleven states, two cities, and the NRDC filied a lawsuit challenging the final rule. Two consolidated cases challenging the 2016 regulations have been held in abeyance since April 2017.

Overall Impact

Environmental: 0
Health: 0
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 1

Total: 1

19

Withdrawal of Summertime Ban on the Use of E15

 

Rule

Completed 
(6/10/19)

 

Description

Lifted a summertime ban on the use of E15 (a gasoline blend made of 15% ethanol). Final Rule

Reversal

Difficult

Method: Rescind rule, reestablish 2011 rule banning sale of E15 in summertime.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 0
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 1

20

Emission Guidelines for Municipal Solid Waste Landfills

 

Rule

Completed 
(8/26/19)

Under Agency Review
(1/20/21)

Vacated and Remanded
(4/5/21)

 

 

Description

Changed rules to allow states and the EPA to take longer to develop and approve plans aimed at cutting methane emissions from existing landfills. Final Rule

Reversal

Status

President Biden’s 01/20/2021 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed EPA to review the final rule to ensure consistency with the objectives of Section 1 of the order.
Executive Order 13990
List of Agency Actions for Review

On 3/4/21, EPA filed a motion with the D.C. Circuit to vacate and remand the 8/26/19 final rule as respondent in Environmental Defense Fund v. EPA. The agency finds the rule invalid in light of an intervening decision, American Lung Association v. EPA, 985 F.3d 914 (D.C. Cir. 2021), striking down implementing regulations on which the rule relied.
Motion to Vacate and Remand

On 4/5/21, the D.C. Circuit approved EPA’s request to vacate and remand the rule.
Order to Vacate and Remand

Assessment: N/A (deadline the rule set has already passed)

Litigation Status

October 2019: California Attorney General led eight states in filing a petition for review in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, challenging the August 2019 rule pushing the deadline for states to submit their compliance plans to the EPA until August 2019.

August 2020: Lawsuit had been consolidated with other pending litigation. Petitioners filed joint proof brief noting that the August 2019 rule violates the Clean Air Act in failing to take swift and aggressive action to reduce harmful emissions.

Overall Impact

Environmental: 0
Health: 0
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 1

Total: 2

21

Emissions During Periods of Startup, Shutdown and Malfunction (SSM)

Rule

Guidance
(10/9/20)

Rule Amended
(3/11/21)

 

 

Description

In 2015, EPA began a review of emissions rules for power plant start-ups, shutdowns and malfunctions and found that thirty-six states must revise their State Implementation Plans under the Clean Air Act to incorporate the new requirements. One outcome of that review: In February 2020, E.P.A. reversed a requirement that Texas follow emissions rules during certain malfunction events.

Withdrawal of Texas SIP Call
Full Background

In October 2020, EPA issued a guidance memo that superseded the agency’s 2015 guidance on SSM. Oct. 9, 2020 EPA Guidance

Reversal

Status

President Biden’s 01/20/2021 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed EPA to review the Oct. 9, 2020 agency guidance to ensure consistency with the objectives of Section 1 of the order.
Executive Order 13990
List of Agency Actions for Review

On 3/11/21, EPA issued a final rule amending the Code of Federal Regulation to reflect a 2008 court order that vacated exempted sources from HAP emission standards during periods of SSM.
Final Rule

 

Assessment: Medium

Method: Re-review the SSM State Implementation Plans submitted since 2017 (Texas, Iowa, North Carolina).

Litigation Status

06/12/15: Industry sued EPA over its final action. Walter Coke v. EPA, No. 15-1166 (D.C. Cir.). The litigation challenging EPA’s 2015 action remains on hold in the D.C. Circuit.

04/04/20: Environmental groups challenged EPA’s Feb. 7, 2020 decision to withdraw its finding of significant inadequacy for Texas’s state implementation plan revision.

Overall Impact

Environmental: 0
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 1

Total: 2

22

Update to Pesticide Application Exclusion Zone Requirement

 

Rule

Completed 
(10/30/20)

Under Agency Review
(1/20/21)

 

Description

Limited pesticide application buffer zones that are intended to protect farmworkers and bystanders from accidental exposure. Final Rule

Reversal

Status

President Biden’s 01/20/2021 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed EPA to review the final rule to ensure consistency with the objectives of Section 1 of the order.

Executive Order 13990
List of Agency Actions for Review

Assessment: Difficult

Method: Rescind the rule, reinstall the original Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS) policy on application exclusion zone (AEZ) requirements.

Litigation Status

04/17/18: Earthjustice filed a FOIA lawsuit.

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 2

23

Repealed the Stream Protection Rule

 

Nullified with CRA

Completed 
(11/17/17)

 

Description

Scrapped a proposed rule that requires mines to prove they could pay to clean up future pollution. CRA Revocation

Reversal

Difficult (b/c nullified by CRA)

Method: Promulgate a new rule that is “not in substantially the same form” as original Stream Protection Rule.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 1

24

FY 2018-2022 EPA Strategic Plan

 

Agency Policy

Completed 
(9/1/19)

 

Description

EPA released a Strategic Plan for Fiscal years 2018-2022 that omits any mention of climate change. Strategic Plan

Reversal

Easy

Method: Rerelease a fiscal plan from 2021 ongoing that addresses climate change impacts

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 1

Total: 4

25

The Navigable Waters Protection Rule: Definition of “Waters of the United States”

 

Rule

Completed 
(4/21/20)

Under Agency Review
(1/20/21)

 

Description

Repealed 2015 Clean Water Rule and it replaced with Navigable Waters Protection Rule, scaling back pollution protections for certain tributaries and wetlands that were regulated under the Clean Water Act. Final Rule

Reversal

Status

The Navigable Waters Protection Act will be reviewed by the Army Corps of Engineers and EPA to ensure that it aligns with President Biden’s 01/20/2021 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis, which also revokes the review of Obama-era rule “Waters of the United States.”

Executive Order 13990
List of Agency Actions for Review

Assessment: Difficult

Method: Rescind rule, reinstate original definition of WOTUS.

Litigation Status

04/27/20-06/18/20: Tribes, states, and environmental groups filed lawsuits in federal district courts across the country challenging the Navigable Waters Protection Rule.

06/19/20: A federal judge in Colorado granted a stay, halting implementation of the rule within the state. Colorado v. EPA, No. 1:20-cv-01461 (D. Colo.).

06/22/20: Navigable Waters Protection Rule takes effect in every state except Colorado.

01/29/21: EPA and Army Corps of Engineers filed a motion for abeyance to the Chesapeake Bay Found. v. Wheeler (now Chesapeake Bay Found. v. Nishida) case to allow for time to re-review the rule in light of President Biden’s Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis.

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 2

Total: 3

26

Clean Water Act Section 401 Certification Rule

 

Rule

Completed 
(7/13/20)

Under Agency Review
(1/20/21)

 

Description

In recent years, states have used their CWA Section 401 authority to deny permits to coal terminals, natural gas export facilities, and pipelines. Pursuant to EO 13868, the EPA updated the requirements for certification to narrow states’ and certain tribes’ authority to condition and block infrastructure projects approved by the federal government. Final Rule

On 3/29/21, FERC issued a final rule waiving CWA Section 401 certification requirements for state and tribal authorities. Final Rule

Reversal

Status

President Biden’s 1/20/21 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis revoked EO 13868, which underpinned EPA’s update to the requirements for certification under CAA section 401. In addition, the 1/20/21 Executive Order directed the EPA administrator to review the 7/13/20 final rule.

Executive Order 13990
List of Agency Actions for Review

Assessment: Difficult

Method: Rescind the rule.

Litigation Status

Five suits filed late summer 2020:

  • Del. Riverkeeper Network v. EPA, No. 2:20-CV-3412 (E.D. Pa.).
  • American Rivers v. Wheeler, No. 20-04636 (N.D. Cal.).
  • California v. Wheeler, No. 4:20-cv-04869 (N.D. Cal.).
  • S.C. Coastal Conservation League v. Wheeler, No. 2:20-cv-03062 (D.S.C.).
  • Suquamish Tribe v. Wheeler, No. 3:20-cv-06137 (N.D. Cal.).

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 1

Total: 2

27

Steam Electric Reconsideration Rule

 

Rule

Completed 
(10/13/20)

Under Agency Review
(1/20/21)

 

Description

In August 2020, EPA released its final revisions to the 2015 steam electric power effluent limitations guidelines and standards for wastewater coming from coal-fired power plants. The rule revises the 2015 standards to extend timelines for compliance and exempt coal facilities that are closing, repowering, or switching to natural gas by 2028. It will go into effect 60 days after it is published in the federal register. Final Rule

Reversal

Status

President Biden’s 1/20/21 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed the EPA administrator to review the 10/13/20 final rule (2020 Steam Electric Reconsideration Rule).

Executive Order 13990
List of Agency Actions for Review

Assessment: Difficult

Method: Rescind and replace rule.

Litigation Status

04/24/17: Industry groups sued the EPA over the original 2015 rule. This challenge has since been stayed.

09/18/17: EPA delayed compliance deadlines of major portions of the 2015 rule by two years.

01/30/18: Environmental and public health groups filed lawsuits over EPA’s delay. A federal court in Arizona has dismissed one such suit for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

08/28/19: Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld EPA’s Sept. 2017 delay of compliance deadlines.

11/22/19: EPA proposed updated rule.

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 2

28

Hazardous and Solid Waste Management System: Disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals from Electric Utilities (Coal Ash Rule)

 

Rules

Completed 
(8/28/20)

Under Agency Review
(1/20/21)

 

Description

In 2015, EPA finalized national regulations on the disposal of coal ash. In August 2020, EPA amended the rule to accurately reflect a 2018 court decision by requiring the closure of all unlined coal ash ponds, including ponds lined with clay and regardless of whether they are currently contaminating groundwater. Final Rule (Part A)

However, in October 2020, EPA finalized another rule to allow coal ash pond operators to escape the lining requirement by showing that they are using an alternative method to prevent leaks. The proposed revisions would also allow coal ash ponds that are closing to continue to receive coal ash, so long as the operator receives EPA approval. Final Rule (Part B)

In December 2020, EPA published a notice of data availability for its proposed rule reconsidering the agency’s beneficial use definition as well as provisions regarding coal combustion residuals (CCR) piles. The agency sought public comment on its data. Notice of Data Availability

Reversal

Status

President Biden’s 1/20/21 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed the EPA administrator to review the final 8/28/20 rule (Hazardous and Solid Waste Management System: Disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals from Electric Utilities (Coal Ash Rule)).
Executive Order 13990
List of Agency Actions for Review

On 3/12/21, EPA announced it was reopening the comment period for an additional 60 days on its proposed rule, Reconsideration of Beneficial Use Criteria and Piles. The reopening followed a request from Earthjustice, which cited a timeline conflict with a rulemaking on legacy CCR impoundments.
Reopening of Comment Period

Assessment: Difficult

Method: Rescind Part B rule.

Litigation Status

8/21/18: D.C. Circuit vacated provisions that allowed unlined impoundments to continue receiving coal ash unless they leak, and classified “clay-lined” impoundments as lined. EPA finalized rule taking vacateur into account.

2/11/21: Three environmental groups petitioned the D.C. Circuit to examine the coal ash rule stating it violated the court’s 2018 ruling. (D.C. Cir 2021)
Alliance for Affordable Energy, et. al. v EPA

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 1

Total: 3

29

Federal Coal Combustion Residuals Permit Program

 

Proposed Rule

In Progress 
(2/20/20)

 

Description

Proposed a new rule allowing the federal government to issue permits for coal ash waste in Indian Country and some states without review if the disposal site is in compliance with federal regulations. Proposed Rule

Reversal

Easy (if rule not finalized); Difficult (if rule needs to be rescinded)

Method: Rescind and replace rule.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 1

Total: 3

30

National Primary Drinking Water Regulations: Lead and Copper Rule Revisions

Rule

Completed
(1/15/21)

Extended the Effective Date of Rule
(3/10/21)

Proposed Rule on Extending to 12/16/21
(3/12/21)

 

 

Description

Doubled the time allowed to remove lead pipes from water systems with high levels of lead. Final Rule

Reversal

Status

President Biden’s 1/20/21 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed the EPA administrator to review the 1/15/21 final rule (National Primary Drinking Water Regulations: Lead and Copper Rule Revisions).
Executive Order 13990
List of Agency Actions for Review

On 3/10/21, EPA announced it would extend the effective date of the final lead and copper rule (January 15, 2021) in order to take public comment. The date for the revised LCR moved from March 16, 2021, to June 17, 2021.
Delay of Effective Date to June 17, 2021

On 3/12/21, EPA published a proposed rule to extend the LCR effective date until December 16, 2021. EPA explained that the delay would allow it to to complete a thorough review of the rule and “consult with stakeholders, including those who have been historically underserved by, or subject to discrimination in, Federal policies and programs prior to the LCRR going into effect.”
Proposed Rule – Extending Effective Date to Dec. 16, 2021

Assessment: Difficult

Method: Rescind and replace rule.

Litigation Status

1/15/21: Newburgh Clean Water Project, NAACP, Sierra Club, and United Parents Against Lead filed a lawsuit against EPA, challenging the rule.
https://earthjustice.org/sites/default/files/files/2021-1-15_lcr_petition_for_review.pdf

1/15/21: NRDC filed a lawsuit against EPA challenging the rule.
https://www.nrdc.org/media/2021/210114

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 2

31

Chlorpyrifos; Final Order Denying Objections to March 2017 Petition Denial Order

 

Order

Completed 
(7/24/19)

Under Agency Review
(1/20/21)

 

Description

Rejected a proposed ban on chlorpyrifos, a pesticide linked to developmental disabilities in children. Several states have banned its use and the main manufacturer of the pesticide in 2020 stopped producing the product because of shrinking demand. In September 2020, EPA issued three chlorpyrifos assessments dismissing prior evidence of health risks. Order

Reversal

Status

President Biden’s 1/20/21 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed EPA administrator to review the final rule.

Executive Order 13990
List of Agency Actions for Review

Assessment: Medium

Method: Request to hold case in abeyance and reconduct the three assessments.

Litigation Status

07/07/19: Lawsuit filed by six states against the EPA. Oral arguments happen in July 2020 (9th Cir. 2019):

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 2

32

Trichloroethylene; Regulation of Use in Vapor Degreasing Under TSCA

 

Proposed Rule

In Progress 
(2/21/20)

Rulemaking Terminated 
(1/15/21)

 

Description

Narrowed the scope of a 2016 rule mandating safety assessments for potentially toxic chemicals like dry-cleaning solvents. EPA said it would focus on direct exposure and exclude indirect exposure such as from air or water contamination. In November 2019, a court of appeals ruled the agency must widen its scope to consider full exposure risks. Proposed Rule

In Nov. 2020, EPA released a new final risk evaluation for TCE.

On Jan. 15, 2021, the EPA withdrew two proposed rules on trichloroethylene (TCE), including the proposed rule on TCE use in vapor degreasing, officially terminating the rulemaking. Announcement of Withdrawal of Proposed Rules

Reversal

Easy (if rule not finalized); Difficult (if rule needs to be rescinded)

Method: Rescind rule (or withdraw proposal), end new risk evaluation, and revert to 2016 proposed ban.

Litigation Status

N/A 

Overall Impact

Environmental: 0
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 1

33

Accidental Release Prevention Requirements

 

Rule

Completed 
(12/19/19)

Under Agency Review
(1/20/21)

Description

Rolled back most of the requirements of a 2017 rule aimed at improving safety at sites that use hazardous chemicals that was instituted after a chemical plant exploded in Texas. In September 2020, EPA gave notice that it was denying all three petitions for reconsideration of the rule. Final Rule

Reversal

Status

President Biden’s 1/20/21 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed the EPA administrator to review the final rule.

Executive Order 13990
List of Agency Actions for Review

Assessment: Difficult

Method: Request to hold case in abeyance, and rescind/replace with 2017 rule.

Litigation Status

01/29/20: Earthjustice, thirteen organizations, and thirteen states filed three separate lawsuits against the EPA in the DC Court of Appeals saying the revised rule was unlawful, rescinded crucial provisions, and jeopardizes public safety (D.C. Cir. 2019 & 2020):

Overall Impact

Environmental: 2
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 3

34

Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science

 

Rule

Completed 
(1/4/21)

Under Agency Review (1/20/21)

Vacated
(2/1/21)

 

Description

EPA promgulated a rule limiting the studies used by the agency for rulemaking to only those that make data publicly available. The rule would vastly restrict the scientific evidence available to the agency and would provide opponents of EPA rulemaking additional avenues to challenge proposed and final rules. (S.C.)

Reversal

Status

President Biden’s 1/20/21 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed EPA to review and consider rescinding the rule as soon as possible.

Executive Order 13990

EPA requested that the Final Rule be vacated in a 1/31/21 motion to the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana. On 2/1/21, the Montana District Court vacated the Final Rule.

District Court Order Vacating Final Rule

Assessment: Difficult

Method: Rescind Rule.

Litigation Status

1/11/20: The Environmental Defense Fund, the Montana Environmental Information Center, and Citizens for Clean Energy filed a lawsuit with the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana challenging the rule: Complaint

1/19/21: A group of states filed a complaint in the Southern District of New York seeking vacatur of the rule.

Complaint

1/27/21: The District Court ruled that EPA had erred in making the rule effective immediately upon issuance, delaying the effective date 30 days to February 5 2021.

Order

1/31/21: EPA filed a motion with the Montana District Court to vacate and remand the Final Rule.

2/1/21: The Montana District Court vacated the Final Rule and remanded the matter to the agency.

Order

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 1

Total: 4

35

Increasing Consistency and Transparency in Considering Benefits and Costs in the Clean Air Act Rulemaking Process

 

Rule 

Completed 
(12/23/20)

Under Agency Review 
(01/20/21)

Description

The rule modifies the way cost-benefit analyses are conducted under the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and other environmental statutes. Rule would require the agency to limit consideration of co-benefits, such as the public health benefits, and would interfere with EPA’s ability to accurately assess the benefits of greenhouse gas regulations, for example. The rule was made effective immediately invoking the APA’s “good cause” exception. Final Rule

Reversal

Status

President Biden’s 1/20/21 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed EPA to review and consider rescinding the rule as soon as possible.

Executive Order 13990

Assessment: Difficult

Method: Issue guidance under EPA’s Housekeeping authority to rever to use of the OMB Circular A-4 and the Guidelines for Preparing Economic Analyses, an EPA guidance document that provided peer-reviewed information on how to conduct cost–benefit analysis for environmental regulations. Begin the process to rescind the Rule through notice-and-comment rulemaking.

Litigation Status

01/19/21: A group of states filed a petition for review in the DC Circuit.

Petition for Review

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 1

Total: 4

36

National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Particulate Matter

 

Final Action

Completed 
(12/18/20)

Under Agency Review
(1/20/21)

Description

EPA issued a final decision to retain current PM NAAQS despite extensive science showing that existing standards allow thousands of deaths and hospital visits each year. The action went into effect immediately (Dec. 18, 2020) on the basis of the APA’s “good cause” exception. The EPA “seeks to provide regulatory certainty as soon as possible and the Administrator’s decision to retain the current NAAQS does not change the status quo or impose new obligations on any person or entity.”

Reversal

Status

President Biden’s 1/20/21 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed the EPA administrator to review the 12/18/20 final action.

Executive Order 13990
List of Agency Actions for Review

Assessment: Difficult

Method: Establish EPA’s disagreement (via policy statement) with use of the “good cause” exception and initiate rulemaking to update PM NAAQs.

Litigation Status

2/9/21: Center for Biological Diversity sued the EPA over failing to consider the effects to endangered plants and animals from soot when determining standards. (D.C. Cir. 2021)
Center for Biological Diversity v. EPA

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 1

Total: 3

37

National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone

 

Final Action

Completed 
(12/31/20)

Under Agency Review
(1/20/21)

Description

EPA issued a final decision to retain current ozone NAAQS despite extensive science showing that existing standards allow thousands of deaths and hospital visits each year. The action went into effect immediately on the basis of the APA’s “good cause” exception. The EPA “seeks to provide regulatory certainty as soon as possible and the Administrator’s decision to retain the current NAAQS does not change the status quo or impose new obligations on any person or entity.”

In December 2018, the EPA issued a final rule implementing the 2008 NAAQS for ozone under the Clean Air Act. The rule relaxed state requirements for demonstrating compliance with the ozone limits, including by allowing states to avoid having to show reasonable further progress with actual emissions inventory data.

Reversal

Status

President Biden’s 1/20/21 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed the EPA administrator to review the 12/31/20 final action.

Executive Order 13990
List of Agency Actions for Review

Assessment: Difficult 

Method: Register EPA’s disagreement (via policy statement) with use of the “good cause” exception and initiate notice-and-comment rulemaking to update ozone NAAQs.

Litigation Status

1/29/21: The DC Circuit issued a ruling vacating portions of the 2015 and 2018 rules implementing the ozone NAAQS.
Ruling

2/11/21: Earthjustice and 14 health and environmental groups sued the EPA challenging their refusal to stregthen national ozone standards. (D.C. Cir. 2021)
American Academy of Pediatrics, et al., v. EPA

2/25/21: The Center for Biological Diversity filed a petition for review of the final rule published on 12/31/20. (D.C. Cir. 2021)  Center for Biological Diversity v. EPA 

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 1

Total: 3

38

Cross-State Air Pollution (CSAPR) Rule

 

Proposed Rule
(10/30/20)

Completed
(3/15/21)

Description

In October 2020, EPA revised its CSAPR Rule after the D.C. Circuit rejected the proposed ‘close-out’ rule and found that EPA had not implemented stringent enough standards to deal with cross-state air pollution affecting downwind states.

Proposed Rule
Full Background

In March 2021, EPA submitted a final rule addressing deficiencies identified by the D.C. Circuit in two decisions remanding portions of the rule: Wisconsin v. EPA, 938 F.3d 303 (D.C. Cir. 2019) and New York v. EPA, 781 Fed. App’x 4, 7 (D.C. Cir. 2019). The final rule aligns interstate implementation of the 2008 ozone NAAQS with the 2021 ozone season, as opposed to 2023 under the prior version.

Final Rule

Reversal

Easy (if rule not finalized); Difficult (if rule needs to be rescinded)

Method: Revoke and replace CSAPR rule to implement stricter standards and protect downwind states.

Litigation Status

10/01/19: The DC Circuit rejected EPA’s CSAPR Close-Out Rule.
New York v. EPA, No. 19-1019 (D.C. Cir.)

09/15/20: EPA sent proposed revisions to the CSAPR update rule to the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs for review.

1/12/21: New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey and the City of New York sued EPA for failing to determine, within the required 12-month timeframe, whether six upwind states’ implementation plans were compliant with the Clean Air Act’s Good Neighbor Provision and the 2015 ozone NAAQS.
State of New York et al. v. Wheeler, No. 1:21-cv-252 (S.D.N.Y.)

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 0

Total: 3

39

Emergency Release Notification Regulations; Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act

 

Rule

In Progress 
(6/13/19)

Description

EPA added a reporting exemption for air emissions from animal waste at farms under the EPCRA. EPA responded to comments protesting the exemption by stating that the EPCRA is intended to create a notification requirement for accidental chemical releases, not to regulate emissions. Final Rule

Reversal

Difficult

Method: Revoke and replace rule to require reporting.

Litigation Status

07/09/19: Plaintiffs challenged EPA’s exemption from reporting requirements to include opposition to the new final rule. The plaintiff coalition includes Food & Water Watch, Sierra Club, Animal Legal Defense Fund and other environmental organizations. 

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 2

40

Control of Air Pollution From Airplanes and Airplane Engines

 

Rule

Completed 
(1/11/21)

Under Agency Review
(1/20/21)

Description

EPA proposed GHG emission standards that would apply to certain new commercial airplanes starting in 2028. According to an ICCT report, the proposed standard is too weak and lags behind existing aircraft technologies by more than 10 years. The average new aircraft today already meets the requirements in the proposed rule. The EPA invoked the APA’s “good cause” exception to make the rule go into effect immediately “because the Agency seeks to “provide regulatory certainty as soon as possible and no party will be harmed by an immediate effective date since there is no need to provide a delay of 30 days after publication for parties to adjust their behavior prior to the effective date.”

Final Rule

Reversal

Status

President Biden’s 1/20/21 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed the EPA administrator to review the final rule.

Executive Order 13990
List of Agency Actions for Review

Assessment: Difficult

Method: Propose new rule to establish stricter emissions standard for airplanes (but consider retaining existing rule because there is no prior rule).

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 1

Total: 3

41

Identification and Listing of Hazardous Waste (Copper Filter Cake)

 

Rule

Completed 
(10/2/17)

Description

Removed copper filter cake, an electronics manufacturing byproduct, from the hazardous waste list. Final Rule

Reversal

Medium (generator-specific delisting)

Method: Rescind rule.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 0
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 1

42

Extension of Start Date for Revised Photochemical Assessment Monitoring Stations

 

Rule

Completed 
(1/8/20)

Description

Extended the compliance date of the 2015 PAMS requirements to June 1, 2021. The PAMS network measures ozone, the pollutants that form it, and meteorology to better understand ozone formation and to evaluate national and local ozone-reduction options. Final Rule

Reversal

N/A (compliance date are five months from inauguration)

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 1

43

Standards of Performance for New Stationary Sources and Emission Guidelines for Existing Sources: Solid Waste Incineration

 

Rule

Completed 
(4/16/19)

Description

Provided additional flexibility in the compliance demonstration process and allowed facilities to comply with alternate emissions limits. Final Rule

Reversal

Difficult

Method: Rescind and replace with Obama-era rule (consider improvements to rule)

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 2

44

Adding Aerosol Cans to the Universal Waste Regulations

 

Rule

Completed 
(12/9/19)

Description

Added aerosol cans to RCRA universal waste category despite potential hazardous contents/flammability concerns. Final Rule

Reversal

Difficult

Method: Rescind rule.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 1

45

NESHAPs: Off-Site Waste and Recovery Operations

 

Rule

Completed 
(1/29/18)

Description

Rescinded rule that added additional monitoring requirements for pressure relief devices on containers used in off-site waste and recovery operations for hazardous air pollutants. Final Rule

Reversal

Difficult

Method: Reinstate Obama-era rule.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 2

46

Financial Responsibility Requirements Under CERCLA Section 108(b) for Classes of Facilities in the Hardrock Mining Industry

 

Final Agency Action

Completed 
(2/21/18)

Under Agency Review
(1/20/21)

 

Description

Decided not to issue final rule for financial responsibility requirements for hardrock mining facilities. This means hardrock mine operators do not have to prove they can pay for cleanup in the event of toxic disasters or hazardous spills. Final Action

Reversal

Status

President Biden’s 1/20/21 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed the EPA administrator to review the agency action to ensure consistency with the objectives of the order.

Executive Order 13990
List of Agency Actions for Review

Assessment: Difficult

Method: Reinstate rulemaking process for Obama-era rule.

Litigation Status

07/19/19: A federal appeals court in D.C. upheld EPA’s decision not to finalize the Obama-era rule. The court rejected arguments that the decision contravened the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, was arbitrary and capricious, and was procedurally defective.

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 2

47

Petition to Expand Ozone Transport Regions

 

Denial of Petition

Completed 
(11/3/17)

Description

Denied 2013 petition filed by several downwind states to expand the region of states required to take additional steps to control emissions of ozone-forming pollutants. Notice of Denial

Reversal

Difficult

Method: Reverse decision and issue an NPRM to expand Ozone Transport Region.

Litigation Status

04/23/19: A federal appeals court in D.C. held that EPA did not abuse its discretion in denying state petition seeking to expand the Ozone Transport Region to include more upwind states. New York v. Environmental Protection Agency, 921 F.3d 257 (D.C. Cir. 2019)

Overall Impact

Environmental: 0
Health: 0
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 1

Total: 2

48

Asbestos Significant New Use Rule

 

Rule 

Completed 
(4/25/19)

Description

Updated restrictions on discontinued uses of asbestos. Critics worry the language could make it easier for asbestos to come back into widespread use. Final Rule

Reversal

Difficult

Method: EPA can deny approval for asbestos to re-enter marketplaces. Separately, EPA can rescind/replace rule and ban asbestos from re-entering marketplaces.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 0
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 1

49

Revised Method for National Level Listed Species Biological Evaluations of Conventional Pesticides

 

Agency Policy 

Completed 
(3/12/20)

Description

Revised methods for assessing pesticide risks to endangered species at the request of the pesticide industry. EPA made extensive changes to the process set forth by the Obama administration which would allow the agency to dismiss real-world impacts from pesticides. Revised Method

Reversal

Easy

Method: Reinstate Obama-era agency policy.

Litigation Status

08/31/20: Center for Biological Diversity filed a formal notice of intent to sue.

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 2

50

Flonicamid Pesticide Tolerances

 

Rule

Completed 
(5/28/20)

Description

Increased the existing tolerance for residues of the insecticide flonicamid from 4ppm to 8ppm. Final Rule

Reversal

Difficult

Method: Rescind and replace rule.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 2

51

Announcement of Preliminary Regulatory Determinations for Contaminants on the Fourth Drinking Water Contaminant Candidate List

 

Proposed Rule

In Progress 
(4/30/20)

Final Rule
(3/3/21)

Description

EPA is proposing to not regulate six contaminants on the 4th Contaminant Candidate List. Request for Comment

On 3/3/21, the EPA issued a final rule to regulate perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and not to regulate six other contaminants. The rule finalized the 2020 proposed regulatory determinations on the eight contaminants. Final Rule

Reversal

Easy (if rule not finalized); Difficult (if rule needs to be rescinded)

Method: Rescind rule if final rule is published; otherwise withdraw proposed rule.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 2

52

National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP)

 

Inaction

In Progress 
(6/2/20)

Description

EPA has failed to update the obsolete and dangerous National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan for responding to oil spills, even as the nation substantially expands offshore oil drilling.

Reversal

Difficult 

Method: Update the NCP through rulemaking.

Litigation Status

06/02/20: In Earth Island Institute v Wheeler, Environmental groups sued with claims under the APA and CWA. DOJ filed a motion to dismiss the CWA claim but the court sided with environmental groups to state the CWA duty to update is nondiscretionary.

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 1

53

Bristol Bay Pebble Mine

 

Environmental Impact Statement

In Progress 
(8/24/20)

Description

The Corps published an EIS finding no significant environmental impact. After pushack, they published a statement concluding that the Pebble mine could not be permitted under Clean Water Act Section 404 unless the plan included stronger environmental mitigation measures. The final project proposal is now awaiting a decision after a scandal involving mining executives, who were recorded discussing how to extend the mine far past its permit.

EIS Documents
Suspension Announcement

Reversal

Medium 

Method: Conduct new EIS.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 1

54

NESHAPs: Integrated Iron and Steel Manufacturing Facilities RTR

 

Rule

Completed 
(7/13/20)

Description

EPA issued a residual risk and technology review for steel mills that fails to add limits for uncontrolled hazardous air pollutants. Final Rule

Reversal

Difficult

Method: Initiate new RTR along with rulemaking to establish more stringent standards. If there is on-going litigation (currently none), then request for voluntary remand to reconsider rule.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 2

55

NESHAPs: Lime Manufacturing Plants Residual RTR

 

Rule

Completed 
(7/24/20)

Description

EPA issued a residual risk and technology review for lime manufacturing plants that fails to add limits for uncontrolled hazardous air pollutants. Final Rule

Reversal

Difficult

Method: Initiate new RTR along with rulemaking to establish more stringent standards. If there is on-going litigation (currently none), then request for voluntary remand to reconsider rule.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 2

56

NESHAPs: Taconite Iron Ore Processing Residual RTR

 

Rule

Completed 
(7/28/20)

Description

EPA issued a residual risk and technology review for taconite iron ore processing plants that fails to add limits for uncontrolled hazardous air pollutants. Final Rule

Reversal

Difficult

Method: Initiate new RTR along with rulemaking to establish more stringent standards. If there is on-going litigation (currently none), then request for voluntary remand to reconsider rule.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 2

57

NESHAPs: Plywood and Composite Wood Products Residual RTR

 

Rule

Completed 
(8/13/20)

Description

EPA issued a residual risk and technology review for plywood plants that fails to add limits for uncontrolled hazardous air pollutants. Final Rule

Reversal

Difficult

Method: Initiate new RTR along with rulemaking to establish more stringent standards. If there is on-going litigation (currently none), then request for voluntary remand to reconsider rule.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 2

58

NESHAPs: Asphalt Processing and Asphalt Roofing Manufacturing Residual RTR

 

Rule

Completed 
(3/12/20)

Description

EPA issued a residual risk and technology review for asphalt plants that fails to add limits for uncontrolled hazardous air pollutants. Final Rule

Reversal

Difficult

Method: Initiate new RTR along with rulemaking to establish more stringent standards. If there is on-going litigation (currently none), then request for voluntary remand to reconsider rule.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 2

59

NESHAPs From the Cement Manufacturing Industry Residual RTR

 

Rule

Completed 
(7/25/18)

Description

EPA issued a residual risk and technology review for cement plants that establishes a 6-month compliance holiday and fails to adopt stronger limits reflecting known developments in control measures. Final Rule

Reversal

Difficult

Method: Initiate new RTR along with rulemaking to establish more stringent standards. If there is on-going litigation (currently none), then request for voluntary remand to reconsider rule.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 2

60

NESHAPs for Clay Ceramics Manufacturing (Brick and Tile)

 

Rule

Completed 
(11/1/19)

Description

EPA amended the NESHAP for clay ceramics manufacturing based on industry’s 2015 petition. Final Rule

Reversal

Difficult

Method: Initiate new RTR along with rulemaking to establish more stringent standards. If there is on-going litigation (currently none), then request for voluntary remand to reconsider rule.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 2

61

NESHAPs: Miscellaneous Organic Chemical Manufacturing Residual RTR

 

Rule

Completed 
(8/12/20)

Description

After years of delay, EPA updated the air toxics standards for miscellaneous organic chemical/petrochemical plants but did not strengthen them as the Clean Air Act requires, did not require fenceline monitoring, and created a new type of emission exemption during malfunctions. These facilities emit many hazardous air pollutants, including the potent carcinogen ethylene oxide. MON facilities expose community members to an excess cancer risk of 3000-in-1 million, or about two extra cases every year. Final Rule

Reversal

Difficult

Method: Initiate new RTR along with rulemaking to establish more stringent standards. If there is on-going litigation (currently none), then request for voluntary remand to reconsider rule.

Litigation Status

Deadline to challenge is 10/13.

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 2

62

NESHAPs: Ethylene Production RTR

 

Rule

Completed 
(7/6/20)

Description

EPA updated the air toxics standards for ethylene production chemical/petrochemical plants but refused to strengthen the protections as the Clean Air Act requires, refused to require fenceline monitoring, and created a new type of malfunction exemption, leaving some community members exposed to cancer risk greater than 100-in-1 million and allows one extra cancer case every ten years. Final Rule

Reversal

Difficult

Method: Initiate new RTR along with rulemaking to establish more stringent standards. If there is on-going litigation (currently none), then request for voluntary remand to reconsider rule.

Litigation Status

Court of appeals case and recon petition pending. D.C. Circuit No. 20-1336 RISE St. James v. EPA

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 2

63

NESHAPs: Pulp Mills

 

Rule

Completed 
(11/5/20)

Description

EPA updated the air toxics standard for pulp mills but left major toxic emissions uncontrolled. Final Rule

Reversal

Difficult

Method: Initiate new rulemaking to establish more stringent standards.

Litigation Status

Court sided with environmental groups and remanded previous proposal of rule. D.C. Circuit No. 17-1257, Louisiana Environmental Action Network v. EPA

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 2

64

NESHAPs: Stationary Combustion Turbines RTR

 

Rule

Completed 
(3/9/20)

Description

EPA issued a residual risk and technology review for stationary combustion turbines that leaves in place an unlawful exemption and fails to add limits for uncontrolled hazardous air pollutants. Final Rule

Reversal

Difficult

Method: Initiate new RTR along with rulemaking to establish more stringent standards. If there is on-going litigation (currently none), then request for voluntary remand to reconsider rule.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 2

65

NESHAPs: Organic Liquids Distribution (Non-Gasoline) RTR

 

Rule

Completed 
(7/7/20)

Description

EPA updated the air toxics standard for organic liquids distribution major sources but refused to require fenceline monitoring and other emission reductions needed to protect public health. Final Rule

Reversal

Difficult

Method: Initiate new RTR along with rulemaking to establish more stringent standards. If there is on-going litigation (currently none), then request for voluntary remand to reconsider rule.

Litigation Status

Case pending in appeals court. D.C. Circuit No. 20-1345 Cal. Communities Against Toxics v. EPA

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 2

66

NESHAPs: Publicly Owned Treatment Works Residual RTR

 

Rule

Completed 
(7/7/20)

Description

Declined to amend requirements for emission control technologies or procedures for those plants. Final Rule

Reversal

Difficult

Method: Initiate new RTR along with rulemaking to establish more stringent standards. If there is on-going litigation (currently none), then request for voluntary remand to reconsider rule.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 2

67

NESHAPs for the Manufacture of Amino/Phenolic Resins

 

Rule

Completed 
(10/15/18)

Description

In October 2014 EPA finalized amendments to the NESHAP and received three petitions for reconsideration. In 2018, EPA issued a final rule reducing the stringency of the standard. Final Rule

Reversal

Difficult (if rulemaking is necessary)

Method: Initiate new rulemaking to establish more stringent standards.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 2

68

Listing of 1-bromopropane as a hazardous air pollutant under the Clean Air Act

 

Final Petition Decision

Completed 
(6/18/20)

Description

EPA indefinitely delayed an Obama-EPA proposal to add the highly toxic air pollutant 1-bromopropane (1-BP) to the list of regulated hazardous air pollutants under the Clean Air Act. In June 2020, EPA made a final determination that 1-BP meets the criteria to be added as a HAP, but declined to add the pollutant, thereby indefinitely delaying regulation. Notice of Decision

Reversal

Difficult 

Method: Add 1BP to list of regulated hazardous air pollutants under 112(b) and then initiate rulemaking for HAP standard under 112(d).

Litigation Status

Case pending in appeals court. D.C. Circuit No. 20-1311 Cal. Communities Against Toxics v. EPA

Overall Impact

Environmental: 0
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 1

69

Guidance Interpreting “Adjacent” for New Source Review and Title V Source Determinations

 

Guidance

Completed 
(11/26/19)

Description

EPA issued guidance revising key Clean Air Act definitions in a way that could relax permitting requirements across a number of industries. The new guidance instructs EPA to look at “physical proximity” as opposed to “functional interrelatedness,” and could allow some operators to avoid the need for an NSR permit where such a permit would have previously been required. Memorandum

Reversal

Easy 

Method: Withdraw this guidance and issue a new memorandum restoring Obama-era guidance that directed EPA to consider a range of factors, of which physical proximity was only one part.

Litigation Status

Case pending in appeals court. D.C. Circuit No. 20-1311 Cal. Communities Against Toxics v. EPA

Overall Impact

Environmental: 0
Health: 0
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 1

Total: 1

70

Sulfoxaflor registration

 

Rule

Completed 
(7/24/2019)

Description

Sulfoxaflor is a systemic insecticide that is highly toxic to bees. This regulation establishes tolerances for residues of sulfoxaflor in or on multiple commodities including alfalfa, corn, cacao, grains (e.g., millet, oats), pineapple, sorghum, teff, teosinte, and tree plantations. The action also restores citrus, cotton, cucurbits, soybeans and strawberries to the labels.
Final Rule

Reversal

Difficult 

Method: Cancel registration; If not, there could be a voluntary remand or rescind the rule and return to 2016 registration. Another option would be to conduct a new comprehensive risk assessment.

Litigation Status

Environmental groups filed suit on behalf of beekeepers claiming the EPA relied solely on industry studies to remove 2016 restrictions on sulfoxaflor (9th Cir 2019).
Details

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 1

 

71

New 1, 3 Dicamba Registration

 

Registration

Final Registration 
(10/27/2020)

Description

EPA announced the registration of two end-use dicamba products and extended the registration for one dicamba product, all for applications only on dicamba-tolerant cotton and dicamba-tolerant soybeans. These products will automatically expire in December 2025 unless EPA takes further action to amend the registrations. The new registrations include label changes that will further restrict the use of “over-the-top” (OTT) dicamba applications. Decision

Reversal

Easy 

Method: Cancel registration.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 2

72

EPA Policy on Enforcement during the COVID-19 Outbreak (Terminated)

 

Agency Policy

Completed 
(3/26/20)

Description

EPA announced that it would exercise “enforcement discretion” during the COVID-19 pandemic. Memorandum

Reversal

N/A (policy has ended)

Litigation Status

06/29/20: After being sued for failing to comply with the APA’s notice-and-comment requirements, acting outside of the agency’s statutory authority, and failing to provide a reasoned explanation, EPA announced that its policy of non-enforcement due to COVID-19 would be terminated as of August 31, 2020.

Overall Impact

Environmental: 0
Health: 0
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 0

Total: 1

73

Dicamba; Pesticide Tolerances (Vacated)

 

Rule

Completed 
(12/8/16)

Description

Established tolerances for residues of dicamba in or on cotton, gin, byproducts; cotton, undelinted seed; soybean, forage; and soybean, hay. Final Rule

Reversal

N/A (rule has been vacated)

Litigation Status

06/03/20: A federal appeals court vacated EPA’s approval of conditional amended registrations for dicamba-based herbicides for violating the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 2

74

EPA Guidance: Administrative
Procedures for Issuance and Public
Petitions

 

Rule

Completed 
(10/19/20)

Under Agency Review
(1/20/21)

Description

In addition to establishing new procedures for agency guidance documents, the new rule requires that all “significant” guidance documents must go through notice-and-comment rulemaking. OIRA would make the determination as to what constitutes “significant guidance.” Final Rule

Reversal

Status

President Biden’s 01/20/2021 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed DOE to review the final rule to ensure consistency with the objectives of Section 1 of the order.

Executive Order 13990
Fact Sheet: List of Agency Actions for Review

Assessment: Difficult

Method: Rescind rule. In the interim, EPA can continue to issue guidance documents on the basis that the rule runs afoul of the APA’s exemption for general statements of policy and interpretive rules from notice-and-comment rulemaking. 

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 0
Health: 0
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 0

Total: 1

75

Drinking Water: Final Action on Perchlorate

 

Final Action

Completed 
(7/21/20)

Under Agency Review
(1/20/21)

Description

EPA issues decision not to regulate perchlorate in drinking water, a reversal of the 2011 Obama Administration Final Regulatory Determination that perchlorate shall be regulated in drinking water. Final Action

Reversal

Status

President Biden’s 01/20/2021 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed EPA to review the final action to ensure consistency with the objectives of Section 1 of the order.

Executive Order 13990
List of Agency Actions for Review

Assessment: Difficult

Method: Reinstate the 2011 Determination and establish a maximum contaminant level goal (MCLG) and promulgate a national primary drinking water regulation (NPDWR) for perchlorate under EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Act authority.

Litigation Status

10/27/20: Petitioners asked the Court to review and set aside the EPA’s final action to withdraw the agency’s final determination to regulate perchlorate in drinking water.

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 2

76

Clean Water Act Hazardous Substances Spill Prevention

 

Final Action

Completed 
(9/3/19)

Description

EPA issued decision not to issue new regulations requiring industrial facilities that store toxic chemicals near water bodies to take measures to prevent chemical spills. Final Action

Reversal

Difficult

Method: Reverse agency determination and promulgate new regulations as required by section 311 of the Clean Water Act.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 2

77

Standards of Performance for Volatile Organic Liquid Storage Vessels (Including Petroleum Liquid Storage Vessels)

 

Rule

Completed 
(1/19/21)

Under Agency Review
(1/20/21)

Description

EPA finalized a rule that allows industry to forgo traditional methods of inspection for liquid storage tanks, potentially relaxing inspection requirements for the chemical, coal, and petroleum industries. Final Rule

Reversal

Status

President Biden’s 01/20/2021 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed EPA to review the final rule to ensure consistency with the objectives of Section 1 of the order.

Executive Order 13990
Fact Sheet: List of Agency Actions for Review

Assessment: Difficult

Method: Rescind rule.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 1

Total: 3

78

Pollutant-Specific Significant Contribution Finding for Greenhouse Gas Emissions From New, Modified, and Reconstructed Stationary Sources: EGUs, and Process for Determining Significance of Other NSPS Source Categories

 

Rule

Completed
(1/13/21)

Vacated at EPA’s Request
(4/5/21)

 

Description

EPA issued a final rule making a significant contribution finding for GHG emissions from new and modified power plants; and setting a minimum threshold for all significant contribution finding needed to regulate a source category under Section 111 of the Clean Air Act. The rule requires a source category emit at least three percent of US GHGs in order to meet the significance threshold and qualify for Section 111 regulation, potentially precluding future regulation of most or all industrial sectors. Final Rule

Reversal

Status

President Biden’s 01/20/2021 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed EPA to review the final rule to ensure consistency with the objectives of Section 1 of the order.
Executive Order 13990
Fact Sheet: List of Agency Actions for Review

On 3/17/21, EPA filed a request to throw out the initial rule, citing the previous administration’s failure to provide for public notice and comment.
EPA’s Motion for Voluntary Vacatur

On 4/5/21, the D.C. Circuit granted the EPA’s motion for voluntary vacatur of the final rule.
News Coverage

Assessment: Easy (if CRA employed); Difficult (if not)

Method: Consider application of Congressional Review Act. If not, rescind rule.

Litigation Status

1/19/21: A group of states filed a petition for review of the rule in the DC Circuit.

Petition for Review

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 1

Total: 4

 

 

79

Review of the Dust-Lead Hazard Standards and the Definition of Lead-Based Paint

 

Rule

Completed 
(1/6/20)

Under Agency Review
(1/20/21)

Description

EPA evaluated the current dust-lead hazard standards (DLHS) and the definition of lead-based paint. Trump’s EPA revised the DLHS from 40 µg/ft2 and 250 µg/ft2 to 10 µg/ft2 and 100 µg/ft2 on floors and window sills, respectively. The agency declined to lower the standard for lead based paint. It also did not consider tightening the standards for lead in soil. Final Rule

Reversal

Status

President Biden’s 01/20/2021 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed EPA to review the final rule to ensure consistency with the objectives of Section 1 of the order.

Executive Order 13990
Fact Sheet: List of Agency Actions for Review

Assessment: Difficult

Method: Rescind rule and/or issue new rule which tightens the standard for DLHS further. The new rule should also contain new standards for lead based paint and lead in soil.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 2

 

80

Procedures for Chemical Risk Evaluation and Prioritization Under the Amended Toxic Substances Control Act

 

Rule

Completed 
(7/20/17)

Under Agency Review
(1/20/21)

Description

EPA issued two “Framework Rules” stating that the agency would consider non-health “policy” considerations, and would only consider certain exposure pathways, when evaluating whether to regulate a toxic substance under TSCA, contrary to the direction of the 2016 amendments and potentially risking greater exposure for vulnerable groups.

Final Rule (Risk Evaluation)
Final Rule (Prioritization)

Reversal

Status

President Biden’s 01/20/2021 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed EPA to review the final rule to ensure consistency with the objectives of Section 1 of the order.

Executive Order 13990
Fact Sheet: List of Agency Actions for Review

Assessment: Difficult

Method: Rescind rule.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 0
Health: 1
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 1

 

82

Protecting Human Health and the Environment from Persistent, Bioaccumulative, and Toxic (PBT) Chemicals

 

Rule

Completed
(1/6/21)

Under Agency Review
(1/20/21)

Implementation Delayed
(3/8/21)

Description

As required by the Toxic Substances Control Act, EPA issued five final rules to reduce exposures to certain chemicals that are persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT). These chemicals build up in the environment over time and can present potential risks for exposed populations. The rules failed to reduce exposures to PBTs “to the extent practicable,” as required by TSCA and created exemptions without following proper procedures. Further, the EPA declined to issue rules on two other potentially harmful PBTs.

Final rule for decabromodiphenyl ether (DecaBDE)
Final rule for phenol, isopropylated phosphate (3:1) (PIP (3:1))
Final rule for 2,4,6-Tris(tert-butyl)phenol (2,4,6-TTBP)
Final rule for hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD)
Final rule for pentachlorothiophenol (PCTP)

Reversal

Status

President Biden’s 01/20/2021 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed EPA to review the notice of revisions to ensure consistency with the objectives of Section 1 of the order.

Executive Order 13990
Fact Sheet: List of Agency Actions for Review

On 3/8/2021, in accordance with President Biden’s 1/20/2021 Executive Order, EPA reopened the public comment period and is specifically requesting comments on–among other issues–whether the rules sufficiently reduce exposure to these chemicals.

Press Release

 

Assessment: Difficult

Method: Rescind rules and/or reissue new final rules, including for the two previously omitted PBTs.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 0
Health: 1
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 0

Total: 2

 

83

Petition to Establish National Pollution Limits for Greenhouse Gases

 

Petition

Denied
(1/19/21)

Withdrew Denial
(3/4/21)

Description

On December 2, 2009, environmental groups petitioned EPA to set National Ambient Air Quality Standards for greenhouse gases. The Obama administration did not act on the petition, instead pursuing Section 111 regulations. On January 19th, 2021, the Trump administration formally denied the petition.

Petition Denial

Reversal

Status

On March 4, 2021, EPA withdrew the denial, citing the fact that “the agency did not fully and fairly assess the issues raised by the petition.” EPA will reevaluate the petition.

Withdrawal letter

Assessment: Easy

Method: Revoke denial and reevaluate the petition.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 1

Total: 2

1

Policy Statement Limiting Downstream Analysis of Pipeline Greenhouse Gas Emissions

 

Agency Policy

Completed (05/18/18)

 

Description

Statement clarified FERC policy of generally declining to consider the indirect/downstream effects of GHG emissions in environmental reviews of pipelines. Policy Statement Notice of Inquiry Dominion Transmission Decision Policy Integrity Analysis Report

Reversal

Difficult (independent commission)

Method: Update agency policy to ensure consideration of downstream effects and indirect impacts.

Litigation Status

10/01/2019: In Delaware Riverkeeper Network v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, petitioners are challenging FERC’s approval of a specific pipeline project and lack of consideration of greenhouse gas emissions and impacts on climate change. It is in abeyance pending final disposition of PennEast Pipeline Company, LLC. v. New Jersey (D.C. Cir. 2018).

Overall Impact

Environmental: 0
Health: 0
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 1

Total: 2

 

2

Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 Renewable Energy Policies

 

Rule

Completed (09/02/20)

Description

PURPA is the only federal law that requires electric utilities to purchase renewable energy. FERC changed its regulations, undercutting the deployment of small scale renewables. Final Rule

Reversal

Difficult (independent commission)

Method: Issue new rule incentivizing small-scale renewables.

Litigation Status

09/18/20: The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) files a petition in the Ninth Circuit challenging FERC’s new rules. SEIA ask the court to hold its petition in abeyance for 60 days, by which time it expects FERC to issue an order that may modify aspects of its July 16 order.

Overall Impact

Environmental: 
Health: 0
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 1

Total: 2

 

3

Draft EIS for Atlantic Coast Pipeline

 

Environmental Impact Statement

Completed (07/21/17)

Description

FERC published an EIS for the project, and subsequent permit was upheld by the court. Final EIS

Reversal

Difficult (independent commission)

Method: Conduct new environmental assessment.

Litigation Status

07/15/20: The Supreme Court upheld Forest Service permits for the construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, holding that the Forest Service has authority under the Mineral Leasing Act to grant rights-of-way through lands within national forests traversed by the Appalachian Trail.
Forest Service v. Cowpasture River Preservation Association, 140 S.Ct. 1837 (2020)

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 1

Total: 2

 

4

Minimum Offer Price Rule

 

Order

Completed (06/02/2020)

Description

FERC ordered PJM, the grid operator for 13 states and Washington D.C., to expand the minimum offer price rule (MOPR) by requiring minimum bids in capacity markets for clean energy resources receiving state support. This will make it harder for clean energy resources to clear the market. Order

Reversal

Difficult (independent commission)

Method: Retract the MOPR order.

Litigation Status

New Jersey and Maryland filed a lawsuit with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, challenging FERC’s order (4/27/2020) Case details

Environmental groups led by Earthjustice also challenged the order. Details 

Overall Impact

Environmental: 0
Health: 0
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 1

Total: 2

 

5

Transmission incentives NOPR

 

Proposed Rule

In progress (4/02/2020)

Description

Proposed a rule to shift the focus in granting transmission incentives from an approach based on the risks and challenges faced by a project to an approach based on the benefits to consumers.
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

Reversal

Difficult (independent commission)

Method: Rescind and replace with updated 2012 rule.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 0
Health: 0
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 1

Total: 2

 

1

Taking of Marine Mammals Incidental to Oil and Gas Activities

 

Rule
Completed (7/31/19)

Under Agency Review
(1/20/21)

Description

Notice to permit the use of seismic air guns for gas and oil exploration in the Atlantic Ocean. The practice, which can kill marine life and disrupt fisheries, was blocked under the Obama administration. Final Rule

On 1/19/21, NOAA issued a rule allowing the incidental take of marine mammals by industry operators in the Gulf of Mexico. Final Rule

Reversal

Status

President Biden’s 01/20/2021 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed NOAA to review the 1/19/21 final rule to ensure consistency with the objectives of Section 1 of the order.

Executive Order 13990
Fact Sheet: List of Agency Actions for Review

Difficult

Method: Request to hold cases in abeyance and rescind rule.

Litigation Status

09/04/19: In Cook Inletkeeper v. Ross, Plaintiffs asserted that the regulations violated the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the ESA, and NEPA, including by failing to consider cumulative impacts associated with climate change. 

There are various other lawsuits pending:
Del. Riverkeeper Network v. EPA, No. 2:20-CV-3412 (E.D. Pa.).
American Rivers v. Wheeler, No. 20-04636 (N.D. Cal.).
California v. Wheeler, No. 4:20-cv-04869 (N.D. Cal.).
S.C. Coastal Conservation League v. Wheeler, No. 2:20-cv-03062 (D.S.C.).
Suquamish Tribe v. Wheeler, No. 3:20-cv-06137 (N.D. Cal.).

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 1

 

2

Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Framework Adjustment 6 and the 2019-2021 Atlantic Herring Fishery Specifications

 

Rule

Completed
(05/06/20)

Description

Amended fishing regulations to loosen restrictions on the harvest of a number of species. Final Rule

Reversal

Difficult

Method: Rescind rule.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 1

 

3

Taking and Importing Marine Mammals

 

 

Rule

Completed (05/06/20)

Under Agency Review
(1/20/21)

Description

Revised limits on the number of endangered marine mammals and sea turtles that can be unintentionally killed or injured with sword-fishing nets on the West Coast. Final Rule

Reversal

Status

President Biden’s 01/20/2021 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis directed NOAA to review the final rule to ensure consistency with the objectives of Section 1 of the order.

Executive Order 13990 
Fact Sheet: List of Agency Actions for Review

Assessment: Difficult

Method: Rescind rule.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 1

 

4

Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Fisheries; Pelagic Longline Fishery Management

 

 

Rule

Completed
(04/2/20)

Description

Loosened fishing restrictions intended to reduce bycatch of Atlantic Bluefin Tuna. Final Rule

Reversal

Difficult

Method: Rescind rule.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 0
Climate: 0

Total: 1

 

5

Decision to Not Renew the Charter of the Federal Advisory Panel for the National Climate Assessment

 

 

Agency Policy

Completed
(08/21/17)

Description

The Trump Administration did not renew the charter of the federal advisory panel for the National Climate Assessment. Media Coverage

Reversal

Easy

Method: Renew and update charter.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 0
Health: 0
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 1

Total: 2

 

1

OMB Guidance for Implementing Executive Order 13783

 

 

Guidance

Completed
(05/10/17)

Description

OMB released a guidance document instructing agencies how to implement EO 13783. Guidance Memorandum

Reversal

Status

On 1/20/21, President Biden issued an executive order revoking E.O. 13783, among others, and directing relevant agencies to rescind any orders, rules, or policies issued thereunder.

Executive Order 13990

Assessment: Easy

Method: Revoke guidance via new executive order.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 0
Health: 0
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 0

Total: 1

 

2

OMB Guidance for Implementing Executive Order 13771

 

Guidance

Completed
(04/05/17)

Description

Pursuant to EO 13771, OMB (and its Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs) released guidance clarifying that agencies must in fact implement (as opposed to merely identify) two deregulatory actions for each new regulatory proposal. The guidance states that regulatory benefits such as public health benefits and energy efficiency savings should not be accounted for when measuring the “incremental costs” of regulatory actions. (S.C.) Guidance Memorandum 

Reversal

Status

On 1/20/21, President Biden issued an executive order revoking E.O. 13771, among others, and directing relevant agencies to rescind any orders, rules, or policies issued thereunder.

Executive Order 13992

President Biden also issued a memorandum directing OMB to review and revise Circular A-4 and modernize regulatory review to reflect environmental, scientific, equity, and other considerations.

Memorandum

Assessment: Easy

Method: Revoke or introduce new guidance on cost-benefit analysis to supplement OMB Circular A-4. Such guidance could provide uniform standards and clear direction on how to account for public health benefits, climate change-related costs, and other regulatory impacts. (S.C.)

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 0
Health: 1
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 1

Total: 3

 

 

1

Oil and Gas Resources (in National Forests)

 

 

Proposed Rule

In Progress
(09/1/20)

Description

Proposed rule to modify existing regulations to streamline and expedite the issuance of oil and gas permits in National Forests. Proposed Rule

Reversal

Status

President Biden’s 1/27/21 Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad temporarily paused new oil and natural gas leases on public lands or in offshore waters pending completion of a comprehensive review and reconsideration of Federal oil and gas practices.

Executive Order

Assessment: Easy (if rule not finalized); Difficult (if rule needs to be rescinded)

Method: Rescind and replace rule if final rule is published; otherwise halt rulemaking process.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 1

Total: 3

 

2

USFS National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Compliance

 

 

Final Rule

Completed
(11/19/20)

Description

Proposed rule to modify existing regulations to streamline and expedite the issuance of oil and gas permits in National Forests. Proposed Rule

Reversal

Easy (if rule not finalized); Difficult (if rule needs to be rescinded)

Method: Rescind and replace rule if final rule is published; otherwise halt rulemaking process.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 1

Total: 3

 

3

Published Notice of Intent to prepare EIS for Locatable Minerals

 

 

Environmental Impact Statement

In Progress
(04/01/20)

Description

Initiated an EIS to revise agency regulations that minimize adverse environmental impacts on National Forest System in connection with prospecting, exploration, and mining. Notice of Intent to Prepare EI

Reversal

Easy (if EIS not finalized); Medium (if EIS needs to be conducted again)

Method: Halt EIS if not finalized; or conduct new EIS.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 0

Total: 2

 

 

1

Executive Order 13783: Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth

 

 

Executive Order

Completed
(03/28/17)

Revoked
(01/20/21)

 

Description

Set out several key policy objectives that prioritize fossil fuel development. The Order emphasizes avoiding “regulatory burdens that unnecessarily encumber energy production, constrain economic growth, and prevent job creation.”

Also directed agencies to stop using an Obama-era calculation of the social cost of carbon that rulemakers used to estimate the long-term economic benefits of reducing carbon dioxide emissions. EO 13783

In addition, EO 13783 revoked the Obama Presidential Memorandum of September 21, 2016 (Climate Change and National Security).

Reversal

Status

President Biden’s 1/20/21 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis revoked EO 13783 and re-established the Interagency Working Group on the social cost of carbon, directing the working group to set a new SCC by January 2022.
Executive Order 13990

President Biden’s 1/27/21 Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad reinstated the 9/21/16 Presidential Memo on Climate Change and National Security.
Executive Order

Assessment: Easy (to rescind EO); Medium (to reinstate working group and update SCC)

Method: (1) Issue new EO to revoke 13783 and reinstate use of the Social Cost of Carbon; (2) Go further and update the SCC calculation to consider downstream affects of climate change, intergenerational equity, global impacts, and environmental justice.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 0
Health: 1
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 1

Total: 3

 

2

Executive Order 13868: Promoting Energy Infrastructure and Economic Growth

 

 

Executive Order

Completed
(04/10/19)

Revoked
(01/20/21)

 

Description

Expedited the approval of energy infrastructure, including but not limited to oil and gas pipelines. EO 13868

Reversal

Status

President Biden’s 1/20/21 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis revoked EO 13868.
Executive Order 13990

Assessment: Easy

Method: Issue new EO to revoke 13868.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 1

Total: 3

 

3

Executive Order 13867: Issuance of Permits With Respect to Facilities and Land Transportation Crossings at the International Boundaries of US

 

Executive Order

Completed
(04/10/19)

Description

Moved the permitting process for certain projects that cross international borders, such as oil pipelines, to the office of the president from the State Department, exempting them from environmental review. EO 13867

Reversal

Easy

Method: Issue new EO to revoke 13867 and return permitting responsibilities to State Department, subjecting them once again to environmental review.

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0
Programmatic: 1
Climate: 1

Total: 3

 

4

Executive Order 13840: Ocean Policy to Advance the Economic, Security, and Environmental Interests of the United States

 

Executive Order

Completed
(06/19/18)

Description

Revoked an Obama-era executive order designed to preserve ocean, coastal and Great Lake waters in favor or a policy focused on energy production and economic growth. EO 13840

Reversal

Easy

Method: Issue new EO to revoke 13840 and go further to reaffirm the importance of managing marine resources in a way that recognizes their inherent value, the ecological services they provide, and the necessity of addressing the climate change implications of decisions relating to marine resources. (S.C.)

Litigation Status

N/A

Overall Impact

Environmental: 1
Health: 0