WASHINGTON (NEWS10) – On Jan. 20, President Joseph Biden issued a series of executive orders designed to, according to the Adirondack Council, “undo the anti-environmental agenda” of the Trump administration. Many of these changes will benefit the Adirondack Park, Upstate New York and the Northeast.   

“We are extremely pleased to see these important policy reversals happening on day one of the Biden administration,” said Adirondack Council Executive Director William C. Janeway.  “It gives us great hope that we can make real progress as a nation on issues such as climate change, smog and acid rain, all of which harm the Adirondack Park and its communities. Reversing executive orders is an important step, since it leads to immediate action.  In some cases, however, orders will have to be followed up with legislation to ensure the next President doesn’t undo them.  We urge the President to act quickly, while he has a cooperative majority in both houses of Congress.” 

In addition, Biden appointed former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to be the nation’s first White House National Climate Advisor.    

Here is a summary of President Biden’s executive actions that will benefit the communities, forests, wildlife and water quality of the Adirondack Park, as listed by the White House: 

General objectives: 

President Biden outlined a clear list of objectives:

  • Listen to the science
  • Improve public health and protect our environment
  • Ensure access to clean air and water
  • Limit exposure to dangerous chemicals and pesticides
  • Hold polluters accountable, including those who disproportionately affect communities of color and low-income communities
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Support resilience to the impacts of climate change
  • Restore and expand our national treasures and monuments
  • Prioritize both environmental justice and the creation of the well-paying union jobs necessary to deliver on these goals

First act:  

Biden’s first act was to tell executive departments and agencies immediately review and take action to address the Federal regulations during the last four years that “conflict with these important national objectives, and to immediately commence work to confront the climate crisis.” 

The Executive Orders will: 

  • Reduce Methane Emissions in the oil and gas industries – methane is a potent greenhouse gas 
  • Eliminate Trump rollback of automobile fuel efficiency standards – cars cause smog and acid rain in the Northeast; 
  • Re-establish appliance- and building-efficiency standards – both save fuel and prevent air pollution; 
  • Establish national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants from coal- and oil-fired power plants, which include acid rain and smog;   
  • Reconsider Trump administration ruling barring the EPA from considering significant side-benefits when assessing whether the costs of new pollution regulations are “reasonable;”  
  • Establish new standards for volatile organic compounds emitted by the oil and gas industry; 
  • Create federal smog-control plan to replace bogus implementation plans filed by individual states and accepted by the Trump administration.  

Other environmental efforts affecting the Adirondacks: 

  • Arctic National Wildlife Refuge – suspends all activities of the federal government relating to the implementation of the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program.  The Adirondack Park shares a variety of migratory birds with the Arctic refuge. 
  • Accounting for the Benefits of Reducing Climate Pollution – establish standards for judging the “social cost of carbon” (SCC), “social cost of nitrous oxide” (SCN), and “social cost of methane” (SCM), or estimates of the monetized damages associated with incremental increases in greenhouse gas emissions, smog and acid rain.   

For a full list of Jan. 20 public health and environment executive orders, visit the White House’s website.