Regulation Database – White House
Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis
On January 20, 2021, shortly after taking office, President Biden signed an executive order titled Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis.
Section 1 of the executive order provides that it is the Biden Administration's policy to "listen to the science; to improve public health and protect our environment; to ensure access to clean air and water; to limit exposure to dangerous chemicals and pesticides; to hold polluters accountable, including those who disproportionately harm communities of color and low-income communities; to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; to bolster resilience to the impacts of climate change; to restore and expand our national treasures and monuments; and to prioritize both environmental justice and the creation of the well-paying union jobs necessary to deliver on these goals."
The administration also issued a list of actions that relevant agency heads should consider suspending, revising, or rescinding to further the policy priorities articulated in Section 1. The list includes the outgoing administration's rollback of the clean car standards, actions to weaken energy efficiency standards, and the decision to permit logging in the Tongass National Forest, among many others that are included in the Climate Deregulation Tracker.
The executive order also immediately revokes or rescinds the following actions by the Trump Administration:
March 29, 2019 presidential permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline
Executive Order 13766 of January 24, 2017 (Expediting Environmental Reviews and Approvals For High Priority Infrastructure Projects)
Executive Order 13783 of March 28, 2017 (Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth)
Executive Order 13792 of April 26, 2017 (Review of Designations Under the Antiquities Act)
Executive Order 13795 of April 28, 2017 (Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy)
Executive Order 13868 of April 10, 2019 (Promoting Energy Infrastructure and Economic Growth)
Executive Order 13927 of June 4, 2020 (Accelerating the Nation’s Economic Recovery from the COVID-19 Emergency by Expediting Infrastructure Investments and Other Activities)
Executive Order 13834 of May 17, 2018 (Efficient Federal Operations)
Executive Order 13807 of August 15, 2017 (Establishing Discipline and Accountability in the Environmental Review and Permitting Process for Infrastructure Projects)
Proclamation 9681 of December 4, 2017 (Modifying the Bears Ears National Monument)
Proclamation 9682 of December 4, 2017 (Modifying the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad
On January 27, 2021, President Biden signed the Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad. The executive order signals that climate change will be a priority in policy making across the federal government, establishes a number of new offices, and instructs agency heads to take steps towards developing climate policies.
In the realm of foreign policy, the executive order builds on the creation of a Special Presidential Envoy for Climate by declaring, among other things, that President Biden will host an early Leaders' Climate Summit aimed at raising ambition ahead of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties, that the United States will immediately begin the process of developing its nationally determined contribution under the Paris Agreement, and that the United States will immediately begin to develop a climate finance plan.
With respect to domestic policy, the executive order establishes a new White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy, National Climate Task Force, Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization, a White House Environmental Justice Interagency Council, and a White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council (within EPA). Among other things, the executive order also instructs the Secretary of the Interior to seek to increase renewable energy production on federal lands and offshore waters, pause new oil and natural gas leases on public lands and offshore waters to the extent possible, and develop a plan to create a Civilian Climate Corps Initiative; and directs the EPA to strengthen civil rights protections and create a community notification program to monitor environmental pollution.
The executive order further instructed federal agencies to submit climate adaptation and resilience plans. Pursuant to the executive order, twenty-three federal agencies released plans detailing how they will adapt to climate change and increase resilience to climate change impacts. The plans include a variety of resiliency and adaptation measures, including steps to develop a more resilient supply change, to enhance protections for workers and communities, and to increase climate literacy and leadership within Federal agencies. The climate adaptation and resilience plans were submitted to and reviewed by the National Climate Task Force, White House Council on Environmental Quality’s Federal Chief Sustainability Officer, and the Office of Management and Budget.
Executive Order on Establishing President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology
On January 27, 2021, President Biden signed an Executive Order on Establishing President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, reestablishing a council that had been disbanded under the previous administration. The council will advise President Biden on policy that affects science, technology, and innovation.
Memorandum on Restoring Trust in Government Through Scientific Integrity and Evidence-Based Policymaking
On January 27, 2021, President Biden signed a Memorandum on Restoring Trust in Government Through Scientific Integrity and Evidence-Based Policymaking, which reaffirms scientific integrity policies and seeks to ensure that policy is informed by science, and that science is not distorted by politics. The memorandum directs the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy to convene an interagency task force to conduct a thorough review of the effectiveness of agency scientific integrity policies, and report on a biennial basis on scientific integrity policies.
American's Supply Chains
On February 24, 2021, President Biden signed an executive order titled "American's Supply Chains," calling for a review of the state of domestic supplies of batteries, key battery minerals and other equipment used in electric cars, in addition to minerals used in wind turbines and other renewable energy facilities.
On April 22, 2021, President Biden convened an international Leaders Summit on Climate and announced that the United States would aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 50-52% by 2030 as part of its Nationally Determined Contribution to the Paris Agreement climate goals. The administration also released a Climate Finance Plan to double climate finance to developing countries by 2024 and triple adaptation finance by the same year.
Executive Order on Climate-Related Financial Risk
On May 20, 2021, the president signed an Executive Order on Climate-Related Financial Risk. The order directs the Director of the National Economic Council and the National Climate Advisor to develop, within 120 days, a government-wide strategy on measuring, assessing mitigating and disclosing climate-related financial risks to government programs; financing needs associated with achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050; and areas in which private and public investments can complement each other to meet those needs. The order also directs the Treasury Secretary, as the Chair of the Financial Stability Oversight Council, to work with Council members to issue a report within 180 days on efforts to integrate consideration of climate-related financial risk into the policies and programs of the agencies that sit on the Council. The order further directs the Labor Secretary to report within 180 days on efforts to protect life savings and pensions from climate-related financial risks, and launches efforts to incorporate climate-risk considerations into federal lending, underwriting, and procurement. Finally, the order reinstates Executive Order 13690: Establishing a Federal Flood Risk Management Standard and a Process for Further Soliciting and Considering Stakeholder Input (discussed below).
On October 14, 2021, the White House published a new report, titled A Roadmap to Build a Climate Resilient Economy, which details the administration’s climate risk accountability framework and its implementation strategy to address climate-related financial risk across all federal agencies. The report covers the administration’s government-wide strategy for measuring, disclosing, managing, and mitigating the risks that climate change poses to individuals, businesses, and the economy at large. The report focuses on the six lines of work outlined in President Biden’s Executive Order 14030 (“Climate-Related Financial Risk”):
- Promoting the resilience of the U.S. financial system to climate-related financial risks;
- Incorporating climate-related financial risk into Federal financial management;
- Using Federal procurement to address climate-related financial risk;
- Protecting life savings and pensions from climate-related financial risk;
- Incorporating climate-related financial risk into Federal lending and underwriting; and
- Building resilient infrastructure and communities.
Executive Order on Strengthening American Leadership in Clean Cars and Trucks
On August 5, 2021, the White House issued an Executive Order on Strengthening American Leadership in Clean Cars and Trucks setting a goal that 50 percent of all new passenger cars and light trucks sold in 2030 be zero-emission vehicles. The Executive Order directs the Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to begin rule making processes for motor vehicle emission and corporate average fuel economy standards consistent with that goal; and to consider issuing standards for heavy-duty vehicles for model year 2030 as well.
Aviation Climate Action Plan
On September 9, 2021, the White House announced a government-wide effort to cut aviation emissions by 20% by 2030. The White House’s announcement lists past and future actions by the Department of Energy, Department of Transportation, Department of Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Defense, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration, all working towards this goal. Key actions include the launching of a Sustainable Aviation Fuel Grand Challenge among DOE, DOT, and USDA to increase the production of sustainable aviation fuels; collaboration between NASA and the FAA to accelerate technology maturation through the Sustainable Flight National Partnership; and the funding of research and development across numerous agencies. The Biden Administration also plans to release an aviation climate action plan in the coming months.
Executive Order on Accelerating the Nation’s Economic Recovery from the COVID-19 Emergency by Expediting Infrastructure Investments and Other Activities
On June 4, 2020, President Trump signed an Executive Order "on Accelerating the Nation’s Economic Recovery from the COVID-19 Emergency by Expediting Infrastructure Investments and Other Activities." The Executive Order seeks to use "emergency authorities" to waive key aspects of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The president directed agencies to identify opportunities to waive environmental reviews under NEPA for highways, fossil fuel facilities and other infrastructure projects, and to "use, to the fullest extent possible and consistent with applicable law, emergency procedures, statutory exemptions, categorical exclusions, analyses that have already been completed, and concise and focused analyses, consistent with NEPA, [the Council on Environmental Quality's] NEPA regulations, and agencies’ NEPA procedures." The Executive Order also instructs agencies to use emergency authorities under other cornerstone environmental statutes, such as the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act, to expedite approvals.
Executive Order on Accelerating the Nation’s Economic Recovery from the COVID-19 Emergency by Expediting Infrastructure Investments and Other Activities
On May 19, 2020, the president signed an executive order instructing agencies to address the economic emergency caused by the COVID-19 crisis "by rescinding, modifying, waiving, or providing exemptions from regulations and other requirements that may inhibit economic recovery." The order further directs agencies "to consider exercising appropriate temporary enforcement discretion or appropriate temporary extensions of time," and to determine whether any regulations that have been temporarily suspended in response to the pandemic should be permanently rescinded.
Executive Order on Promoting Energy Infrastructure and Economic Growth
On April 10, 2019, President Trump issued an Executive Order on Promoting Energy Infrastructure and Economic Growth which is aimed at expediting the approval of energy infrastructure, including but not limited to oil and gas pipelines. On the same day he also issued Executive Order on the Issuance of Permits with Respect to Facilities and Land Transportation Crossings at the International Boundaries of the United States.
Executive Order Regarding the Ocean Policy to Advance the Economic, Security, and Environmental Interests of the United States
On June 19, 2018, President Trump issued an Executive Order Regarding the Ocean Policy to Advance the Economic, Security, and Environmental Interests of the United States. The order revokes Executive Order 13547 (“Stewardship of the Ocean, Our Coasts, and the Great Lakes”) which was issued by President Obama on July 19, 2010 in the aftermath of the BP Oil Spill. The revoked order established detailed requirements for the management and preservation of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes resources as well as task forces to help implement those requirements. The new order issued by President Trump does not contain the same environmental protections, and instead establishes a policy of using ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes resources for energy production and other economic uses.
Executive Order Regarding Efficient Federal Operations
On May 17, 2018, President Trump issued an executive order revoking Executive Order 13693: Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade (signed by President Obama on March 25, 2015), which set a goal of cutting the federal government’s greenhouse gas emissions by forty percent over ten years and required federal agencies to develop plans for reducing emissions and periodically report on their progress.
The new order does require federal agencies to comply with statutory requirements related to energy and environmental performance “in a manner that increases efficiency, optimizes performance, eliminates unnecessary use of resources, and protects the environment.” More info >>
Executive Order 13795: Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy
On April 28, 2017, President Trump issued an executive order which establishes a national policy of encouraging offshore energy exploration and production, revokes decisions to withdraw certain areas of the Outer Continental Shelf from leasing, and issues a variety of directives aimed at promoting fossil fuel development in federal waters. More info >>
Executive Order 13783: Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth
On March 28, 2017, President Trump issued an executive order aimed at at dismantling many of the key actions that have been undertaken at the federal level to address climate change. The order directs EPA to review and potentially rescind or re-write important regulations such as the Clean Power Plan (CO2 emission standards for existing power plants), CO2 emission standards for new power plants, and methane emission standards for the oil and gas sector. It also revokes a number of executive orders and actions, including: guidance on calculating the social costs of greenhouse gas emissions, an imposing a moratorium on federal coal leasing, and guidance on how to account for climate change in environmental reviews. Finally, it directs all agencies to review existing regulations, orders, guidance documents, policies, and any other similar agency actions that potentially burden the development or use of domestically produced energy resources, with particular attention to oil, natural gas, coal, and nuclear energy resources, and to develop recommendations on how to alleviate or eliminate aspects of agency actions that burden domestic energy production.
A detailed summary is available on our Climate Deregulation Tracker here.
See also: OMB Guidance Document on Implementation of EO 13783 (May 8, 2017). This guidance focuses on implementation of Section 2, which requires agencies to review all existing regulations, orders, guidance documents, policies, and any other similar agency actions that potentially burden the development or use of domestically produced energy resources, with particular attention to oil, natural gas, coal, and nuclear energy resources, and to develop recommendations on how to alleviate or eliminate aspects of agency actions that burden domestic energy production. More >>
Executive Order 13777: Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda
On February 24, 2017, President Trump issued an executive order aimed at implementing and enforcing the President’s deregulatory agenda. This order builds upon and supplements a previous executive order which instructed agencies to ensure that the net costs of regulations issued this year was no more than zero and to identify two regulations for potential repeal for everyone one regulation issued.
A detailed summary is available on our Climate Deregulation Tracker here.
Executive Order 13766: Expediting Environmental Reviews and Approvals For High Priority Infrastructure Projects
On January 24, 2017, President Trump issued an executive order instructing agencies to streamline permitting and review processes for certain high priority infrastructure projects.
Presidential Memoranda Regarding Construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines
On January 24, 2017, President Trump issued two presidential memoranda instructing the Secretary of the Army to “take all actions necessary and appropriate” to expedite the approval of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines:
- Presidential Memorandum Regarding Construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline
- Presidential Memorandum Regarding Construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline
Executive Order 13771: Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs
On January 30, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order instructing agencies to identify two regulations to repeal for every new regulation and to ensure that the total incremental cost of all new regulations is no greater than zero.
On April 5, 2017, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) issued final guidance on the implementation of the order (an update to interim guidance that was published on Feb. 2, 2017). The final guidance clarifies that agencies should consider only costs and not benefits when calculating the total cost of rulemakings (or cost savings of deregulatory actions): it states that anything traditionally viewed as a “benefit” in regulatory cost-benefit analysis should not be considered when calculating cost savings of a rule.
Litigation: The Executive Order has been challenged in a lawsuit filed by Public Citizen, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Communications Workers of America.
Executive Order 13514: Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance
On October 5, 2009, President Obama issued Executive Order 13514, which instructs federal agencies to set or achieve various emissions reduction and energy and environmental benchmarks by 2015, 2020, and 2030. The order requires agencies to set GHG emissions reduction targets for 2020 within 90 days, and requires OMB to set a federal government target for 2020 within 120 days. The order also sets out required reductions in vehicle fleet petroleum use and requires increases in water and energy efficiency and in recycling and waste diversion rates. The order also mandates adoption of certain contract and procurement practices designed to promote energy and water efficiency and environmentally-preferable products.
- Executive Order 13514 (Fed. Reg. Oct. 8, 2009)
Executive Order 13547: Stewardship of the Ocean, Our Coasts, and the Great Lakes
In July 2010, Barack Obama issued Executive Order 13547, titled “Stewardship of the Ocean, Our Coasts, and the Great Lakes.” Among other things, the order establishes a policy of “adaptive management to enhance our understanding of and capacity to respond to climate change and ocean acidification.” The order established a National Ocean Council to implement the order’s policies, and directed relevant federal agencies to engage in marine/coastal planning.
- Executive Order 13547 (Jul. 22, 2010)
Presidential Memorandum Requiring Federal Government to Switch to Alternative Fuel Vehicles by 2015
A presidential memorandum on federal fleet performance issued May 24, 2011 will require all new light-duty vehicles purchased by the federal government to be powered by alternative fuels as of December 31, 2015. Alternative-fuel vehicles include hybrid or electric vehicles, or those that run on compressed natural gas or biofuels. The memorandum also requires that the General Services Administration (GSA) assist federal agencies in determining the “optimum fleet size” and eliminating unnecessary or non-essential vehicles. The memorandum states that “[t]he federal government operates the largest fleet of light-duty vehicles in America” and that consequently it “owe[s] a responsibility to American citizens to lead by example.”
Executive Order 13605: Supporting Safe and Responsible Development of Unconventional Domestic Natural Gas Resources
On April 13, 2012 the president issued an executive order establishing a new “Interagency Working Group to Support Safe and Responsible Development of Unconventional Domestic Natural Gas Resources.” Led by the Domestic Policy Council, the working group is designed to support the safe and responsible production of domestic unconventional natural gas. The goals of the group include (1) coordinating agency policy activities and ensuring their efficient and effective operation; (2) coordinating among agencies for the sharing of scientific, environmental, and related technical and economic information; (3) engaging in long-term planning and ensuring coordination among the appropriate Federal entities with respect to such issues as research, natural resource assessment, and the development of infrastructure; (4) promoting interagency communication with stakeholders; and (5) consulting with other agencies and offices. Other agencies and White House offices participating in the working group include the Department of Defense; the Environmental Protection Agency; the Department of Interior; the Department of Agriculture; the Department of Commerce; the Department of Health and Human Services; the Department of Energy; the Department of Transportation; the Department of Homeland Security; the Council on Environmental Quality; the Office of Management and Budget; and the Office of Science and Technology Policy.
- Executive Order (April 13, 2012)
President’s Climate Action Plan
The President’s Climate Action Plan, published in June 2013, outlines the steps that the executive branch will take to cut the carbon pollution that causes climate change and affects public health. The plan, which consists of a wide variety of executive actions, has three key pillars:
1) Cut Carbon Pollution in America
2) Prepare the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change
3) Lead International Efforts to Combat Global Climate Change and Prepare for its Impacts
- The President’s Climate Action Plan (June 2013)
Deregulatory Action: On March 28, 2017, President Trump issued an executive order revoking the President’s Climate Action Plan.
EO 13653: Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change
In November 2013, President Obama directed federal agencies to take various steps to prepare for climate change impacts and to support state and local resilience efforts. The order also established a State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience. In November 2014, the Task Force published a report and recommendations to the President on how the federal government could better support state and local adaptation efforts. July 2015, the White House issued a progress report on federal actions addressing the recommendations of the task force.
- Executive Order 13653 (Nov. 6, 1013)
Deregulatory Action: On March 28, 2017, President Trump issued an executive order revoking EO 13653.
Executive Order 13677: Climate-Resilient International Development
In September 2014, Barack Obama issued Executive Order 13677, requiring agencies involved in international development work to consider climate change resilience.
- Executive Order 13677 (Sept. 23, 2014)
Executive Order 13690: Establishing a Federal Flood Risk Management Standard and a Process for Further Soliciting and Considering Stakeholder Input
In January 2015, President Obama issued an executive order requiring all federal investments involving floodplains to meet higher flood risk management standards.
- Executive Order 13690 (Jan. 30, 2015)
- Draft Federal Flood Risk Management Standard Implementing Guidelines (Jan. 30, 2015)
Deregulatory Action: On August 15, 2017, President Trump issued an executive order revoking Executive Order 13690.
Executive Order 13693: Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade
In March 2015, President Obama signed an executive order to cut the federal government’s greenhouse gas emissions forty percent over ten years, with accompanying emission reduction plans from major federal suppliers.
- Executive Order 13693 (Mar. 25, 2015)
Deregulatory Action: On May 17, 2018, President Trump issued an executive order revoking Executive Order 13693.
Withdrawal of Certain Areas of the United States Outer Continental Shelf Offshore Alaska from Leasing Disposition
In January 2015, President Obama directed the Department of the Interior to indefinitely withdraw certain areas of the Outer Continental Shelf off the coast of Alaska from oil and gas leasing.
- Memorandum (Jan. 27, 2015)