and Our Environment
The President has taken unprecedented action to build the foundation for a clean energy economy, tackle the issue of climate change, and protect our environment.
The Obama Administration is committed to protecting the air we breathe, water we drink, and land that supports and sustains us. From restoring ecosystems in the Chesapeake Bay and the Everglades, to reducing mercury pollution from power plants, we are bringing together Federal agencies to tackle America’s greatest environmental challenges.
Recovery Act Investments in our Environment
The Recovery Act included unprecedented funding for programs and projects that will protect the environment. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Interior alone oversee nearly $11 billion in Recovery Act funding for projects that vary from green job training to marine habitat restoration to water quality improvements. These investments are supporting technological advances in science and health and improving environmental protection and infrastructure that will provide long-term economic benefits for Americans.
Protecting Our Oceans
President Obama has established the first comprehensive National Policy for the Stewardship of the Ocean, our Coasts, and the Great Lakes. America's oceans and coastal regions support tens of millions of jobs and contribute trillions of dollars a year to the national economy. The National Ocean Policy helps us prioritize our efforts and resources to address the most critical issues facing our oceans and establishes a comprehensive, collaborative, regionally based planning process to ensure healthy ocean and coastal resources for the many communities and economies that rely on and enjoy them.
Supporting Land Conservation
When he signed the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, President Obama marked the most extensive expansion of land and water conservation in more than a generation, designating more than 2 million acres of federal wilderness, thousands of miles of trails, and protecting more than 1,000 miles of rivers. The President also used his authority under the Antiquities Actto designate Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia, as a national monument, protecting a site of historic significance for slavery, the Civil War, and the U.S. military.
President Obama established the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative to work with the American people to develop a community-based conservation and recreation agenda for the 21st century. Through this initiative, the Administration is opening up access to millions of acres for recreation, making historic investments in restoring critical landscapes, and supporting an outdoor economy that includes approximately 9 million jobs and $1 trillion in economic activity.
Prioritizing Clean Water
The Administration is taking comprehensive action to ensure the integrity of the waters Americans rely on every day for drinking, swimming, and fishing, and that support farming, recreation, tourism and economic growth. We have issued draft Federal guidance to clarify which waters are protected by the Clean Water Act nationwide; launched innovative partnerships and programs to improve water quality and water efficiency; and created initiatives to revitalize communities and economies by restoring rivers and critical watersheds. The Administration has also proposed to modernize the guidelines that govern Federal water resource planning, calling for water resources projects based on sound science, improved transparency, and consideration of the variety of community benefits of projects.
Reducing the Environmental Impacts of Mountaintop Coal Mining
Through a Memorandum of Understanding signed by EPA, the Department of the Interior and the Army Corps of Engineers on June 11, 2009, Federal agencies are taking action to minimize adverse environmental and health impacts of mountaintop coal mining.
Reducing Air Pollution
Curbing Vehicle Pollution
The Obama Administration is aggressively working to reduce pollution in the air we breathe. We have proposed historic fuel economy standards that will double the fuel efficiency of cars and light trucks by 2025, saving consumers $1.7 trillion at the pump and eliminating 6 billion metric tons of carbon pollution. The Administration has also finalized the first-ever national fuel economy and greenhouse gas emission standards for commercial trucks, vans, and buses built in 2014-2018, which are projected to save more than 500 million barrels of oil and an estimated $50 billion in fuel costs.
Cleaning up Toxic Air Pollution
The Administration established the first-ever national limits for mercury and other toxic air pollution from power plants, which will prevent up to 11,000 premature deaths, 4,700 heart attacks, and 130,000 cases of childhood asthma symptoms each year. This rule follows a series of EPA actions to reduce emissions from power plants and other large emitters, including a rule to cut soot and smog-forming pollution from power plants that create health problems downwind, and rules to limit mercury and other pollution for the largest sources of industrial air pollution, such as cement plants, industrial boilers, and waste incinerators.
Restoring our Treasured Great Ecosystems
Working Toward Environmental Justice
The Obama Administration is committed to ensuring that communities overburdened by pollution – particularly minority, low-income and indigenous communities – have the opportunity to enjoy the health and economic benefits of a clean environment. After more than a decade of inaction, the Administration reconvened the Environmental Justice Interagency Working Group and engaged more than 100 environmental justice leaders at a White House forum. Federal agencies signed a Memorandum of Understanding formally committing to environmental justice, and released strategies for integrating environmental justice into federal decision-making and programs in areas such as transportation, labor, health services, housing and others.
Supporting Sustainable Communities
The Administration created the historic Partnership for Sustainable Communities to break down traditional silos among the Federal agencies for housing, transportation, and environmental protection. Through 2011, this partnership announced more than $1.7 billion in funding to support resilient economies, healthy environments and quality of life in more than 550 communities and regions across the country.
Modernizing the National Environmental Policy Act
The Administration is modernizing and reinvigorating the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) to help ensure transparency, public engagement and accountability in Federal decisions about actions that may affect the quality of the environment. This includes an initiative to improve the quality and efficiency of Federal environmental reviews to protect the health of communities, support a strong American economy, and engage Americans in decisions that will impact their environment.
Reducing Global Emissions of Mercury
The United States played a leading role in crafting an agreement among more than 140 nations to negotiate a legally binding treaty to reduce mercury emissions globally, which is scheduled to be finalized in 2013. The Administration's actions to reduce toxic mercury pollution in the U.S. - including establishing the first-ever mercury standards for power plants -- give the U.S. additional credibility to lead in this global effort to improve public health.
- June 19, 2013 at 10:45 AM EDT
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) operations encompass more than 10,000 buildings in all 50 states, from air traffic control centers and research facilities to our regional offices and headquarters, a range that complicates efforts to green internal operations and infrastructure. But, over the last two years, DOT has improved its sustainability performance across all seven measures of the OMB Sustainability and Energy Scorecard.
- June 18, 2013 at 1:15 PM EDT
The U.S. Department of Transportation is celebrating the four-year anniversary of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities by hosting a webinar series about three topics on which EPA, HUD, and DOT offer coordinated support: investing in green infrastructure, creating context-sensitive streets, and integrating housing and transportation planning.
- June 7, 2013 at 1:21 PM EDT
President Obama signs a Presidential Memorandum that will speed the modernization of the nation’s electric grid, by helping make electricity more reliable, save consumers money on their energy bills, and support homegrown American clean energy jobs and industries by making renewable energy easier to access across the country.