Serving As A Watchdog To Protect The Environment

President Joe Biden’s EPA takes over after four long years of industry favoritism and regulatory rollbacks under the Trump Administration. Not only did Trump have a former coal lobbyist, Andrew Wheeler, and an oil and gas industry ally, Scott Pruitt, running EPA. His administration also weakened or eliminated almost 100 environmental safeguards, including everything from air pollution control rules to vehicle fuel efficiency standards, with the pace picking up at the end. The Trump EPA was also responsible for a continued decline in environmental law enforcement, reaching historic lows in several categories in  fiscal year 2020.

The Biden Administration has pledged to set a dramatically different course. Biden has promised to take action on climate change and environmental injustices and reverse the most harmful of Trump’s environmental rollbacks. To lead that effort, Biden has nominated as his EPA Administrator Michael Regan. He’s a former EPA air pollution specialist and Environmental Defense Fund vice president for clean energy programs who has served as  Administrator of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality since he was appointed by Democratic Governor Roy Cooper in January 2017. If Regan is confirmed by the U.S. Senate, his decisions with President Biden will be of even higher importance during the coronavirus pandemic, because those exposed to excessive air pollution are more vulnerable to the deadly virus.

As it has with past Administrations stretching back almost two decades, the Environmental Integrity Project will keep a close eye on the Biden EPA’s actions to make sure the nation’s environmental laws are being strongly enforced. We will serve as a watchdog to make sure that the Biden Administration fulfills its commitments to not only reverse the harmful actions of the Trump Administration, but also make meaningful progress on key issues, especially on environmental justice and climate change. While President Biden enters office with a laudable environmental agenda, his Administration will also be subjected to the political pressures of special interests, such as the farm lobby and the oil and gas industry.  The Environmental Integrity Project will work as tirelessly as ever – and help EPA perform its core mission, to serve the public good – by shining a spotlight on these potentially corrupting influences. We plan to offer constructive policy suggestions, and also continue to take legal actions against EPA, when necessary, to ensure that the agency follows the law, achieves meaningful reductions in pollution, and protects vulnerable communities.

As one of the nation’s premier environmental enforcement watchdogs, EIP will also keep up its work scrutinizing the Biden EPA’s record of holding polluters accountable and imposing financial penalties and mandating cleanups.

To read our most recent reports on environmental enforcement, click here for data on 20 years of EPA enforcement trends, or here to read our 2019 report, “Less Enforcement: Communities at Risk.”