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President Obama’s First 100 Days Show Environmental Progress and Promise

Obama Achieves Key Environmental Milestones in His First 100 Days as President

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On April 29, 2009, President Barack Obama reached the end of his first 100 days in office, the arbitrary yardstick that Americans have been using to evaluate the performance and potential of chief executives since Franklin Roosevelt was elected president in 1932.

On Inauguration Day [January 20, 2009], I set out a dream environmental agenda for President Barack Obama’s first 100 days. In my five-point list, I called on Obama to:

  1. build a green economy
  2. get serious about climate change
  3. create a new clean energy policy
  4. mitigate the Bush legacy; and
  5. respect his scientists.
In his first 100 days, President Obama has done a remarkable job of addressing all of the issues on my agenda, and then some. Here is a list of the Obama administration’s key environmental accomplishments during the president’s first 100 days in office:
  • Worked with Congress to pass the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a $787 billion economic stimulus package that includes nearly $100 billion in green spending to help get the economy back on track and to create millions of clean-energy jobs.

  • Outlined a "clean energy" vision for America.

  • Appointed an outstanding “green team” of top advisors, federal officials and cabinet secretaries.

  • Sent Congress a proposed budget that makes clean energy and the environment top priorities and includes funding for energy and environmental programs throughout the federal government.

  • Declared carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases a threat to public health and welfare, setting the stage for regulating greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming if Congress fails to pass legislation to address the issue.

  • Protected more than 2 million acres of wilderness land and several rivers with the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009..

  • Re-established the United States as a leader in international climate negotiations.

  • Restored critical protections under the Endangered Species Act, which had been removed by a last-minute rule change in the final days of the Bush administration.

  • Ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider its decision to deny California a waiver under the Clean Air Act, which would have enabled California and 17 other states to impose stricter-than-federal limits on greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles.

  • Reversed the Bush rule that opened the door to mountaintop removal coal mining and canceled several individual mountaintop mining permits.

  • Put offshore drilling and oil shale exploration on hold and restored protections for public lands.

  • Announced a new initiative to lease U.S. coastal waters for the purpose of generating electricity from wind and ocean currents.

  • Repeatedly reaffirmed science and the rule of law as the standards by which federal environmental decisions shall be made.
"It is difficult to overstate the tremendous progress President Obama has made in just 100 days,” said Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope in a statement. “He has moved swifter and smarter than any president in recent memory. While naysayers warned of doing too much too quickly, President Obama maintained his resolve and his boldness is backed by overwhelming majorities of the American public.

"President Obama has done more to lay the foundation for the clean energy future in three months than has been done in the previous three decades,” Pope continued. “His economic recovery plan, the budget, and a sweeping set of executive branch actions amount to a huge down payment on a cleaner, more prosperous future.”

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