In 2021, under the new leadership of the Biden-Harris Administration and Administrator Michael S. Regan, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency took significant steps forward in tackling the climate crisis, advancing environmental justice, protecting the health and safety of communities across the country, and restoring scientific integrity.
“Thanks to the EPA workforce’s ambition, world class expertise, and dedication, this agency has taken bold action to protect future generations from climate impacts, advance environmental justice, and build healthier, more equitable communities,” said Administrator Michael S. Regan. “I am so grateful for what we’ve accomplished together, and I’m looking forward to the big things we’ll achieve in 2022 and beyond.”
In 2021, Administrator Regan traveled to communities in 18 states, nine of EPA’s 10 regions, and three countries, where he met with local residents, key stakeholders, and elected leaders to advance the Biden-Harris Administration’s ambitious environmental agenda. Administrator Regan and agency officials also signed more than 50 rules. The agency is also delivering a historic $60 billion investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in safe and healthy water, pollution cleanup and community revitalization, and healthier school buses for children.
Highlights of EPA’s 2021 accomplishments include:
Tackling the Climate Crisis
- Issuing the most ambitious federal greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards for passenger cars and light trucks ever.
- Finalizing action to establish a comprehensive program to dramatically cut the production and consumption of climate-damaging hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in the United States.
- Proposing comprehensive new protections to sharply reduce pollution from the oil and natural gas industry – including, for the first time, reductions from existing sources nationwide.
Advancing Environmental Justice
- Directing all EPA offices to clearly integrate environmental justice considerations into their plans and actions.
- Announcing $100 million in American Rescue Plan funding for environmental justice initiatives and air monitoring in overburdened communities.
- Embarking on a first of its kind “Journey to Justice” tour, traveling the Southeast to spotlight longstanding environmental justice concerns in historically marginalized communities and hear firsthand from residents dealing with the impacts of pollution.
- Leveraging enforcement authority to protect overburdened communities from pollution.
Protecting the Health and Safety of Communities
- Issuing a comprehensive Strategic Roadmap to confront PFAS contamination nationwide and taking significant additional actions including launching a national PFAS testing strategy, restarting a rule development process for designating PFOA and PFOS as CERCLA hazardous substances, and working toward setting a national primary drinking water standard for PFOA and PFOS.
- Announcing a $1 billion investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to initiate cleanup and clear the backlog of 49 previously unfunded Superfund sites and accelerate cleanup at dozens of other sites across the country.
- Reinitiating the Clean Water Act Section 404(c) process which, if finalized, would afford long term protection for Bristol Bay in Alaska.
- Stopping the use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos on all food to better protect human health, particularly that of children and farmworkers.
Restoring Scientific Integrity
- Issuing agency-wide guidance reaffirming scientific integrity as a core value at EPA and outlining concrete steps to reinforce the agency’s commitment to science.
- Resetting the Scientific Advisory Board and Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee to help ensure that EPA receives the best possible scientific insight to support our work to protect human health and the environment, and selecting the most diverse membership since the committees were established.
- Relaunching the agency’s climate change website and climate indicators report after a four-year absence during the prior administration.