MEMO: President Biden Must Take Swift, Bold Action on Climate and Clean Energy


*** Senior Sierra Club staff and leadership are available to discuss the path forward to achieve the country’s goals for climate, clean energy, and environmental justice. ***

Parts of Europe are sweltering in an “apocalypse of heat,” as the UK sees record-shattering temperatures that halted flights because runways melted. Extreme heat is again threatening the power grid in Texas and the health and wellbeing of millions of people throughout the United States. Low water levels in the Colorado River are impacting irrigation, agriculture, natural habitat, drinking water, and endangered species across the Southwest.

The global climate crisis is undeniably escalating, and the people of the U.S. need our government to take bold action. After the refusal of every Republican senator and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin to support the crucial investments in climate action and clean energy that communities and families across the country so desperately need, it’s time for President Biden to use every tool at his disposal to address the crisis.

“Joe Manchin has made it clear he would rather side with corporate polluters than the people who elected his own party’s president on a bold climate agenda,” said Sierra Club Legislative Director Melinda Pierce. “Now it’s time for President Biden to exercise the authority of his office by using the full power of the federal government to ensure a future where all communities — especially those disproportionately impacted by pollution and climate-fueled disasters — can thrive. The American people expect and deserve an urgent response from the president to the climate crisis blazing a path to our doorsteps.”

The Sierra Club calls on President Biden to take immediate action, including the following 10 actions:

  • Move expeditiously to protect communities by finalizing stronger, more protective standards for public health and the environment under the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and other laws, including stricter National Ambient Air Quality Standards for both soot and smog as well as improved protections to address hazardous mercury emissions, ozone pollution that crosses state lines, and toxic water and waste pollution from power plants. 

  • Listen to communities overburdened by vehicle pollution and finalize strong standards that lower harmful emissions from cars, trucks, and buses in order to put the U.S. on a pathway to 100 percent zero-emission vehicles by 2035.

  • Finalize a rule to cut climate-warming methane and health-harming pollutants from new and existing oil and gas operations, and work quickly to close loopholes allowing other methane pollution that affects fenceline communities. 

  • Issue stringent carbon pollution standards for new and existing power plants and a robust social cost of carbon rule.

  • Make our public lands part of the solution to the climate crisis by reinstating a total ban on any new leasing, drilling, or development on our lands and waters, including taking executive action to protect the coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge, rejecting ConocoPhillips’ Willow Project in the Western Arctic, and putting a halt to any new leasing on BLM or Forest Service lands. 

  • Ensure that the final five-year plan for 2023-2028 includes no new oil and gas leasing anywhere off our coasts, including Alaska and the central and western Gulf of Mexico.

  • End the Army Corps of Engineers’ use of Nationwide Permit 12 to fast-track approval for oil and gas pipelines without adequate environmental review or public input, and reject federal permits for the fracked gas Mountain Valley Pipeline, the Line 5 oil pipeline, and many others. 

  • Strengthen implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act, our bedrock environmental protection that ensures environmental and community impacts are considered in reviews of new infrastructure, and reverse a Trump-era rule that excluded liquefied gas exports from environmental review. 

  • Deploy the full power of government procurement, moving immediately to enact Buy Clean procurement standards for the most polluting industrial sectors with the highest impact on environmental justice communities, and ensuring that federal utilities such as the Tennessee Valley Authority decarbonize rather than sink ratepayer money into new fossil fuel-fired power.

  • Build on his recent executive actions to fully leverage the provisions of the Defense Production Act to procure and resell, or freely distribute, clean energy and sustainable industrial products; offer low-interest loans and loan guarantees for manufacturers of critical clean goods; buy and install equipment in U.S. facilities to accelerate the production of clean technologies; and reallocate U.S. Department of Defense funds to enable these measures.

About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with millions of members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit