Dear President Biden,
As organizations collectively representing millions of members and supporters, including Indigenous, Black, Brown, and frontline communities, we urge you to use your executive authority to speed the end of the fossil fuel era, protect our communities from the climate emergency, and address the severe harms caused by fossil fuels.
Your first year in office was marked by historic climate disasters, another alarming surge in domestic greenhouse gas emissions, and increasingly dire warnings from the leading scientists around the world. From hurricanes and floods, to wildfires and droughts, tens of millions of Americans are directly confronting the dangerous consequences of a warming world. Indigenous, Black, Brown, AAPI and working-class communities are disproportionately harmed not only by fossil-fueled extreme weather, but also targeted by oil, gas, and coal corporations and suffer the health impacts of toxic pollution and ongoing environmental injustices.
You have repeatedly identified the existential threat posed by climate change, calling it a “code red” for humanity, and stated in your first week in office, “In my view, we’ve already waited too long to deal with this climate crisis. We can’t wait any longer.”
You further promised “environmental justice will be at the center of all we do addressing the disproportionate health and environmental and economic impacts on communities of color — so-called ‘fenceline communities’.” And you elevated the respect of Indigenous sovereignty and ordered federal agencies to strengthen nation-to-nation relationships with Tribes.
These statements must be backed up by bolder action. You have the authority under existing law to wind down fossil fuel production and catalyze a just, renewable energy revolution to deliver healthier communities, a livable future, and millions of good-paying jobs. It’s critical that you use that authority as quickly and broadly as possible.
Together, we call on you to take these steps:
— Follow through on your promise to ban all new oil and gas leasing, drilling, and fracking on federal lands and waters.
— Direct federal agencies to stop approving fossil fuel projects, including pipelines, import and export terminals, storage facilities, refineries, and petrochemical plants. Direct the Department of Energy to halt gas exports to the full extent authorized by law.
— Declare a climate emergency under the National Emergencies Act , unlocking special powers to reinstate the crude oil export ban, redirect disaster relief funds toward distributed renewable energy construction in frontline communities and marshal companies to fast-track renewable transportation and clean power generation, creating millions of high-quality union jobs.
The U.S. must contribute its fair share to the global effort to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius in line with what science, justice, and equity demand. Your administration’s legislative and regulatory climate proposals have not addressed limiting the production and burning of fossil fuels, the main driver of climate change. As fossil fuel lobbyists and politicians continue to block real climate action in Congress, bold executive action is desperately needed.
President Biden, you are the chief executive with immense powers to address our communities’ concerns.
You showed what serious climate leadership could look like in your first week in office when you canceled the Keystone XL pipeline and paused oil and gas leasing on federal lands. The urgency of the moment requires you to return to that original ambition. Fully deliver on your climate and environmental justice promises by using your executive authority to keep fossil fuels in the ground and build a resilient and affordable renewable energy system.