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10 Big Biden Environmental Rules, and What They Mean

World10 Big Biden Environmental Rules, and What They Mean

The Biden administration has been racing this spring to finalize a slew of major environmental regulations, including rules to combat climate change, a first-ever ban on asbestos and new limits on toxic chemicals in tap water.

Many of the rules had been in the works since President Biden’s first day in office, when he ordered federal agencies to reinstate or strengthen more than 100 environmental regulations that President Donald J. Trump had weakened or removed. The president has pledged to cut the emissions that are driving climate change roughly in half by 2030. That’s something that scientists say all industrialized nations must achieve to keep global warming to relatively safe levels.

Lawyers in the Biden administration have sought to use every available tool to protect the rules from being gutted by a future administration or a new Congress.

Under the 1996 Congressional Review Act, Congress can delete new federal regulations by a simple majority vote within 60 legislative days of their publication in the Federal Register. Senate Republicans used that procedure in early 2017 to wipe out 14 regulations within 16 days that had been written by the Obama administration.

To avoid that fate, the White House told federal agencies to get major rules on the books by this spring. That doesn’t mean a new occupant of the White House couldn’t undo them through the regular rule-making process, or that the Supreme Court couldn’t eventually strike them down. But it cuts off one possible line of attack.

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