Regulations & Deregulations

REGULATIONS & DEREGULATIONS

REGULATIONS & DEREGULATIONS

Since 2017, the Trump administration targeted many regulations which had been put in place to address climate change. A handful of major climate rules reversed or weakened under Mr. Trump could have a significant effect on future emissions. The New York Times has been covering the more than 100 environmental rules being repealed or weakened, and reported on 9/17/2020, that these rollbacks are expected to result in an additional 1.8 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere by 2035.

Columbia’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law has posted a Deregulation Tracker as well as a Climate Regulation database detailing regulations and other efforts undertaken by federal agencies to address the causes and impacts of climate change. Harvard is tracking, too.

President Joe Biden has his work cut out for him dealing with the many rollbacks that occurred under the Trump Administration. The Washington Post is tracking the success President Biden is having as he unwinds Trump’s legacy and forges his own.

Joe Biden signs executive actions to mandate masks and rejoin Paris Climate Accord

The list below highlights some of the many policies enacted under the Biden administration and those overturned.

REGULATIONS

BIDEN SUED: Pausing new federal oil and gas leasing

08/16/21  
After pausing new oil and gas leasing for nearly seven months, the Biden administration said it would resume auctions in response to a preliminary injunction issued by a Louisiana judge in June.

Establishing EV target of half of new car sales by 2030

By Dino Grandoni and Brady Dennis   08/05/21  
President Biden signed an executive order calling for half of all new cars and light trucks sold in 2030 to be electric or plug-in hybrids.

Ending industrial-scale logging of old-growth on Tongrass National Forest

By Juliet Eilperin   07/15/21  
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the Biden administration would cancel three old-growth timber sales in Alaska's Tongass National Forest. It would still allow Alaska Natives and small-scale timber operators to selectively log some old-growth trees.…

Phasing out uses of weedkilling pesticide propazine

05/08/21  
The Biden administration said it had reached an agreement to phase out use of the chemical, which had been shown to harm an array of endangered species...

DEREGULATIONS

Trump let this pesticide stay on the market. Under Biden, EPA is banning its use on food

By Dino Grandoni   08/18/21  
EPA to ban chlorpyrifos, linked to neurological damage in young children, on crops such as grapes, broccoli and strawberries – reversing a Trump public health decision...

Weakening the lightbulb efficiency rule

08/10/21  
The Energy Department proposed a rule making lightbulbs more efficient, reversing a Trump policy. The proposal would affect bulbs used in 2 billion sockets in the U.S...

The list below highlights 14 of the many dozens of Trump administration rollbacks which were enacted during the years 2017-2020.

Paris Agreement Withdrawal, Finalized

11/04/20  
Today we begin the formal process of withdrawing from the Paris Agreement. The U.S. is proud of our record as a world leader in reducing all emissions, fostering resilience, growing our economy, and ensuring energy…
EPA

Fuel Economy Standards, Finalized

03/31/20  
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalize updated Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) and greenhouse gas emissions standards for passenger cars and light trucks and establish new standards,…

CURRENT NEWS

States seek stay of methane rule

By Sean Reily 04/12/24
Two dozen states on Friday asked a federal appeals court to stay implementation of EPA's recently issued methane emission regulations for oil and gas operations.

Biden reverses Trump cuts to monuments, restoring protection for key fossil sites

By April Reese 10/08/21
In a long-awaited decision, President Joe Biden today restored Utah’s fossil-rich Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments to their former boundaries, 4 years after former President Donald Trump made drastic cuts to both.

Trump let this pesticide stay on the market. Under Biden, EPA is banning its use on food

By Dino Grandoni 08/18/21
EPA to ban chlorpyrifos, linked to neurological damage in young children, on crops such as grapes, broccoli and strawberries – reversing a Trump public health decision...

Rep. Sean Casten on Hot FERC Summer and how to prepare the US grid for rapid decarbonization

By David Roberts 08/18/21
As regular readers of my work are well aware, the fastest way to decarbonize the U.S. economy is through clean electrification — decarbonizing the electricity sector and shifting energy use in other sectors like transportation…
EDF

EPA Unveils Plan to Reduce Dangerous Pollution from Landfills

05/17/21
The Environmental Protection Agency today announced a plan to implement final standards that will protect millions of Americans from the toxic and climate-damaging pollution emitted by municipal landfills.

Deb Haaland Scraps A Slew Of Fossil Fuel-Friendly Trump Orders

By Chris D’Angelo 04/16/21
With the stroke of a pen on Friday, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland dismantled a sizable chunk of her predecessors’ legacies, revoking a dozen Trump-era secretarial orders that sought to boost fossil fuel and other extraction…

Senators eye rollback of Trump methane rule with Congressional Review Act

By Rebecca Beitsch 03/24/21
Lawmakers are weighing using the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to reverse a Trump era-rule that limits the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate methane. Sens. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Angus King (I-Maine) have drafted a…

Biden reinstates bird protections gutted under Trump

By Jacob Fischler 03/09/21
The Interior Department on Monday revoked a Trump administration policy that would have undercut a century-old law protecting migratory birds. The move strengthens federal regulators’ authority to enforce the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, a 1918…

Regulatory Review, Biden Style

By Rena Steinzor 02/15/21
I have friends who wept during the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. The sheer relief of watching the departure of a glowering Donald Trump—by far the President most hostile to…

Biden signs executive actions on climate change: ‘It’s time to act’

By Rebecca Shabad and Geoff Bennett 01/27/21
President Joe Biden delivered remarks Wednesday about his plan to tackle climate change and signed related executive actions to further the key part of his agenda, which includes “creating jobs and restoring scientific integrity,” the…

Biden, Emphasizing Job Creation, Signs Sweeping Climate Actions

By Lisa Friedman, Coral Davenport and Christopher Flavelle 01/27/21
President Biden on Wednesday signed a sweeping series of executive actions — ranging from pausing new federal oil leases to electrifying the government’s vast fleet of vehicles — while casting the moves as much about…
NPR

Biden’s Plan To Undo Trump’s Last-Minute Deregulatory Spree & Enact A Climate Agenda

By Terry Gross 01/20/21
Trump called climate change a hoax. Biden calls it an existential threat. Washington Post journalist Juliet Eilperin talks about how Biden might reverse some of his predecessor's policies.

KEY RESOURCES

The Undoing of US Climate Policy: The Emissions Impact of Trump-Era Rollbacks

09/17/20
President Trump has made dismantling environmental regulations a priority during his time in office. While some of these moves remain mired in legal uncertainty, the Trump administration has successfully unraveled the majority of Obama-era climate…

Environmental Protection Network

02/14/20
The Environmental Protection Network was launched in January 2017 to harness the expertise of former EPA career staff and confirmation-level appointees from multiple administrations to provide an informed and rigorous defense against efforts to undermine…

U.S. Climate Regulation Database

01/27/20
This is a database of regulations and other efforts undertaken by federal agencies to address the causes and impacts of climate change. Regulations administered by EPA are organized by topic; other materials are organized by their…
EPA

Laws & Regulations

01/27/20
Laws written by Congress provide the authority for EPA to write regulations. Regulations explain the technical, operational, and legal details necessary to implement laws.

A running list of how President Trump is changing environmental policy

05/03/19
The Trump administration has promised vast changes to U.S. science and environmental policy—and we’re tracking them here as they happen.

95 Environmental Rules Being Rolled Back Under Trump

08/02/19
Over four years in office, the Trump administration has dismantled major climate policies and rolled back many more rules governing clean air, water, wildlife and toxic chemicals.

MORE NEWS

Ins and outs of Congressional Review Act and climate change rules

By Jan Ellen Spiege   01/19/21  
The obstacles the Trump administration has placed on environmental rulemaking and, by extension, on stemming climate change have been well-documented by organizations from mainstream media outlets to multiple academic institutions.
Read more

Trump Opens Habitat of a Threatened Owl to Timber Harvesting

By Lisa Friedman and Catrin Einhorn   01/13/21  
The Trump administration on Wednesday removed more than 3 million acres of Pacific Northwest land from the protected habitat of the northern spotted owl, 15 times the amount it had previously proposed opening to the…
Read more

What Trump’s dismal deregulatory record means for Biden

By Pamela King and Jeremy P. Jacobs   01/11/21  
Four years ago, President Trump launched his deregulatory push with gusto.  His team rushed to undo the Obama administration's environmental and energy regulations, promising a new era in Washington and installing Trump's own regulatory agenda.
Read more

Trump Administration, in Parting Gift to Industry, Reverses Bird Protections

By Lisa Friedman   01/05/21  
The Trump administration gutted protections for migratory birds on Tuesday, delivering the second of two parting gifts to the oil and gas industry, which has long sought to be shielded from liability for killing birds…
Read more

Trump to sell Arctic oil rights days before Biden sworn in

By Jennifer A Dlouhy   12/03/20  
The Trump administration is racing to sell oil drilling rights in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge before Joe Biden takes office so the president-elect can’t revoke the contracts.
Read more

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge — the American Serengeti — shall not die

By Cyril Christo   11/25/20  
The Trump administration is pursuing a controversial plan to open up ANWR to oil drilling. Here’s what’s at stake.
Read more

A destructive legacy: Trump bids for final hack at environmental protections

By Oliver Milman   11/21/20  
Administration finishing off regulatory moves to lock in drilling, loosen wildlife protections and roll back pollution standards
Read more

75 ways Trump made America dirtier and the planet warmer

By Alvin Chang, Emily Holden, Oliver Milman and Noa Yachot   10/21/20  
In the past four years, Trump has shredded environmental protections for American lands, animals and people.
Read more

The animal species imperiled by Trump’s war on the environment

By Paola Rosa-Aquino   10/20/20  
Despite a grim outlook for American biodiversity, Trump has lifted protections for at-risk animals as part of his aggressive rollback of environmental rules
Read more

Judges Hear Arguments in President Trump’s Biggest Climate Rollback

10/08/20  
A three-judge panel appeared divided Thursday on President Trump’s effort to repeal his predecessor’s regulations on planet-warming emissions from the power sector and replace them with far weaker controls.
Read more

How EPA rollbacks evade 1994 environmental justice order

By Sean Reilly   09/28/20  
If the Houston area has long been an economic powerhouse, it's also been a perennial slough for toxic air pollution linked to cancer and other ailments that disproportionately afflicts poor and minority areas.
Read more

An extra Trump Supreme Court justice may help cement his environmental rollbacks

By Dino Grandoni   09/21/20  
A more conservative Supreme Court gives the Trump administration a greater chance of making its rollbacks of environmental rules last long after the president leaves office.
Read more

What Trump’s Environmental Rollbacks Mean for Global Warming

By Nadja Popovich and Brad Plumer   09/17/20  
August besieged California with a heat unseen in generations. A surge in air-conditioning broke the state’s electrical grid, leaving a population already ravaged by the coronavirus to work remotely by the dim light of their…
Read more

Trump NEPA rules take effect after court denies freeze

By Niina H. Farah   09/14/20  
The White House Council on Environmental Quality's implementing rules for a bedrock environmental law are going into effect as planned today, after opponents of the new regulations failed to convince a federal judge to block…
Read more

Drivers Tell Automakers to Side with Clean Air, Not Trump

By Luke Tonachel   09/01/20  
In an outpouring of frustration, disappointment, and anger, more than 285,000 drivers sent messages to Fiat Chrysler, General Motors, Toyota, and other automakers demanding that they drop their support of the Trump administration’s dangerous rollback of…
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The Trump administration’s disastrous policy shift on methane emissions

By Editorial Board   08/14/20  
PRESIDENT TRUMP’S daily affronts to decency make it hard to focus attention on the substantive damage his administration is causing. But on Thursday, the administration announced a disastrous policy shift regarding methane emissions. The Obama…
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Trump administration scraps limits on methane leaks at oil and gas sites

By Steven Mufson   08/14/20  
The Trump administration is scrapping limits on methane leaks, allowing oil and gas companies to decide how much of the potent greenhouse gas can escape into the atmosphere from wells, pipelines and storage tanks.
Read more

Trump Eliminates Major Methane Rule, Even as Leaks Are Worsening

By Coral Davenport   08/13/20  
The Trump administration formally weakened a major climate-change regulation on Thursday — effectively freeing oil and gas companies from the need to detect and repair methane leaks — even as new research shows that far…
Read more

States Pushing Back On Trump’s Environmental Policy Changes With Updates To Trucking

By Emily Folk   08/13/20  
The Trump administration has reversed 68 environmental regulations over the past three years. There are more than 30 supplementary rollbacks that have yet to be finalized.
Read more

E.P.A. to Lift Obama-Era Controls on Methane, a Potent Greenhouse Gas

By Coral Davenport   08/10/20  
The reversal is the latest move in the Trump administration’s ongoing effort to weaken environmental rules, but it could be quickly undone after the November election.
Read more

What is the Trump administration’s track record on the environment?

By Samantha Gross   08/04/20  
The president and his administration exercise substantial influence on the environment through regulation and executive authority. President Donald Trump took office promising a business-friendly, deregulatory agenda. Shortly after taking office, he issued an executive order…
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Trump administration says massive Alaska gold mine won’t cause major environmental harm, reversing Obama

By Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis   07/24/20  
Trump officials concluded Friday that a proposed gold and copper mine in Alaska — which would be the largest in North America — would not pose serious environmental risks, a sharp reversal from a finding…
Read more

Trump Weakens Major Conservation Law to Speed Construction Permits

By Lisa Friedman   07/15/20  
President Trump on Wednesday is set to unilaterally weaken one of the nation’s bedrock conservation laws, the National Environmental Policy Act, limiting public review of federal infrastructure projects to speed up the permitting of freeways,…
Read more

Nixon signed this key environmental law. Trump plans to change it to speed up pipelines, highway projects and more

By Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis   07/15/20  
President Trump plans this week to overhaul a federal law that poor and minority communities around the country have used for generations to delay or stop projects that threaten to pollute their neighborhoods — a…
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Federal Judge Halts Trump Administration Rollback of Oil Waste Prevention Rule

By Maria Dinzeo   07/15/20  
The Methane and Waste Prevention Rule, instituted by the bureau in 2016, called for banning the release of methane gas from wells – a practice known as methane flaring. It also required oil and gas well…
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Trump lifts limits on commercial fishing at ocean sanctuary off New England

By Dino Grandoni   06/05/20  
Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument is the first in the Atlantic. Trump said a prohibition against fishing hurt Maine’s commercial fishing industry.
Read more

Trump, Citing Pandemic, Moves to Weaken Two Key Environmental Protections

By Coral Davenport and Lisa Friedman   06/04/20  
Twin environmental actions set for Thursday underscored the president’s push to roll back regulations as the coronavirus crisis continues.
Read more

EPA limits states and tribes’ ability to protest pipelines and other energy projects

By Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis   06/02/20  
The Environmental Protection Agency finalized a rule Monday curtailing the rights of states, tribes and the public to object to federal permits for energy projects and other activities that could pollute waterways across the country.
Read more
EDF

The Trump administration’s air toxics loophole would intensify environmental injustice

By Taylor Bacon   05/11/20  
One of the most disturbing aspects of the new coronavirus crisis is that people already struggling with underlying respiratory conditions seem to be at greater risk. This means that vulnerable communities already bearing the brunt…
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Tracking the Environmental Rules Reversed Under Trump

By Nadja Popovich, Livia Albeck-Ripka, Kendra Pierre-Louis   05/06/20  
Shortly after coming into office three years ago, President Trump began to undo many of the major climate and environmental policies put in place by his predecessor, Barack Obama, calling them unnecessary and harmful to…
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EPA rolls back basis for power plant toxic emissions rule

By Sean Reilly   04/16/20  
EPA, in a bitterly contested move, today released a final rule that scraps the legal basis for its seminal 2012 regulations on power plant emissions of mercury. The rule revokes the statutorily required finding that…
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Trump Administration Finalizes Car Rule Which Will Worsen Economy, Public Health

By David Cooke   04/01/20  
By Dave CookeSo, they finally went and did it — the Trump administration just finalized a rule to undo requirements on manufacturers to improve fuel economy...
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Trump administration rolls back Obama-era fuel efficiency standards

By Rebecca Beitsch   03/31/20  
The Trump administration on Tuesday rolled back an Obama-era law that pushes automakers to produce more fuel efficient vehicles, severely limiting a rule designed to decrease pollution from transportation in the face of climate change.
Read more
NPR

Trump Administration Finalizes Fuel Economy Standards Rollback, A Key Policy Goal

By Nathan Rott   03/31/20  
The Trump administration's deregulatory agenda continues. Today the Environmental Protection Agency finalized a rollback of Obama-era fuel economy standards. This substantially weakens one of the country's biggest efforts to fight climate change. NPR's Nathan Rott…
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‘Holy Crap This Is Insane’: Citing Coronavirus Pandemic, EPA Indefinitely Suspends Environmental Rules

By Jake Johnson   03/27/20  
The Environmental Protection Agency, headed by former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler, announced on Thursday a sweeping and indefinite suspension of environmental rules amid the worsening coronavirus pandemic, a move green groups warned gives the fossil…
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Trump’s Environmental Rollbacks Find Opposition Within: Staff Scientists

By Coral Davenport   03/27/20  
Federal scientists and lawyers, told to undo regulations that some have worked on for decades, have embedded data into technical documents that environmental lawyers are using to challenge the rollbacks.
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Opponents fault Trump proposal to cut environmental reviews

By Ellen Knickmeyer   02/26/20  
Describing windows rattled by industrial blasts and windowsills covered in toxic ash, an African American resident of Texas’ oil hub joined Democratic lawmakers, state officials and others Tuesday in urging the Trump administration to drop…
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Trump Admin’s Clean Water Rollback Will Hit Some States Hard

By Tara Lohan   02/22/20  
By Tara LohanThe Santa Fe River starts high in the forests of New Mexico's Sangre de Cristo mountains and flows 46 miles to the Rio Grande....
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Trump’s Path to Weaker Fuel Efficiency Rules May Lead to a Dead End

By Coral Davenport   02/13/20  
President Trump’s long-promised rollback of Obama-era fuel economy standards may not be completed until this summer, and may not be tenable even then.
Read more

Trump promised his mileage standards would make cars cheaper and safer. New documents raise doubts about that.

By Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis   01/23/20  
President Trump has said his plan to weaken federal mileage standards would make cars cheaper and “substantially safer.” But the administration’s own analysis suggests that it would cost consumers more than it would save them…
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Trump Removes Pollution Controls on Streams and Wetlands

By Coral Davenport   01/22/20  
The Trump administration on Thursday finalized a rule to strip away environmental protections for streams, wetlands and groundwater, handing a victory to farmers, fossil fuel producers and real estate developers who said Obama-era rules had…
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Trump’s EPA is said to cut scientists out of new water policy that threatens New England wetlands

By David Abe   01/18/20  
With the Trump administration poised to roll back key protections for much of the nation’s wetlands, scientists at the US Environmental Protection Agency are accusing the agency’s political appointees of ignoring their advice and barring…
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Trump administration moves closer to rolling back U.S. vehicle fuel economy increases

By David Shepardson   01/14/20  
New rules enacting President Donald Trump’s reductions in fuel efficiency standards for new vehicles through 2026 moved closer to reality on Tuesday when U.S. agencies sent proposals to the White House for final review.
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The Energy 202: Trump administration delays Arctic refuge oil leasing to strengthen legal case

By Dino Grandoni and Juliet Eilperin   01/14/20  
Opening a remote corner of pristine Alaskan wilderness to oil and gas development is one of the Trump administration's top energy policy goals — one it vowed to complete before the end of 2019.
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Do You Think The Trump Administration Should Have Dismantled These 10 Environmental Regulations?

By Carolyn Fortuna   01/09/20  
The Trump administration has a serious mandate to modify or even eliminate environmental regulations that it sees as burdensome to the fossil fuel industry and other big businesses. States, municipalities, and NGOs have responded to…
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White House aims to roll back bedrock environmental law to speed development

By Rebecca Beitsch   01/09/20  
The White House on Thursday issued sweeping changes to one of the nation’s bedrock environmental laws, allowing greater industry involvement in environmental reviews of projects and diminishing the role climate change plays in those assessments.
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Trump Seeks Overhaul of Federal Environmental Rules

By Timothy Puko   01/09/20  
President Trump proposed the first comprehensive overhaul of National Environmental Policy Act rules in more than 40 years, saying changes are needed to streamline approval of highways, energy pipelines and other infrastructure projects, as part…
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Bipartisan lawmakers attempt to drum up opposition to proposed changes of environmental law

By Rachel Frazin   01/09/20  
Reps. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) and Francis Rooney (R-Fla.) sent a letter to the entire House on Thursday, urging their colleagues to oppose President Trump's proposed changes to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
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Trump Moves to Limit Environmental Reviews, Erase Climate Change from NEPA Considerations

By Marianne Lavelle   01/09/20  
Critics say he’s undermining a bedrock environmental protection law that established government’s duty as 'trustee of the environment for succeeding generations.'
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