Year One Review of the Biden Administration

Date01 April 2022
AuthorJonathan Brightbill, Narayan Subramanian, Jonathan Adler, Vickie Patton Quentin Pair
Jonathan Brightbil l (moderator) is a Partner at Winston
& Strawn LLP.
Narayan Subramanian is Legal Advisor with t he Oce of
the General Counsel, U.S. Department of Energy.
Jonathan H. Adler is Director of the Coleman P.
Burke Center for Environmental Law and Johan Verheij
Memorial Professor of Law at Case Western Reserve
University School of Law.
Vick ie Pat ton is General Counsel at the Environmental
Defense Fund.
Quentin Pair is an Adjunct Inst ructor at Howard
University School of Law.
Jonathan Brightbil l: Joseph R. Biden was inaugurated
as the 46th president of the United States on January 20,
2021. Starting on day one, the Biden Administration pri-
oritized climate change, environmental justice, and many
other environmental reforms and actions through execu-
tive actions. President Biden went on to propose vari-
ous legislation, including the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure
Investment and Jobs Act,¹ also known as the Bipartisan
Infrastructure Law, and negotiated an international agree-
ment at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Confer-
ence in Glasgow.²
We have an outstanding group of expert panelists to
explore the Biden Administration’s rst-year achievements
and shortfalls on environmental and natural resources
issues, a nd look ahead for opportunities a nd challenges in
the years to come.
1. Pub. L. No. 117-58, 135 Stat. 429 (2021).
2. Conference of the Parties Serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the
Paris Agreement, Glasgow Climate Pact, FCCC/PA/CMA/2021/L.16 (Nov.
13, 2021),les/resource/cma2021_L16_
Professor Jonathan Adler is the inaugura l Johan Verheij
Memorial Professor of Law and director of the Coleman P.
Burke Center for Environmental Law at the Case Western
Reserve University School of Law. He’s a senior fellow at
the Property and Environment Research Center, and one
of the nation’s most cited legal academics in environmenta l
as well as administrative law.
Quentin Pair is an adjunct instructor at the Howard
University School of Law, where he teaches courses on
environmental law, environmental justice, and Title VI
of the Civil Rights Act. Quentin was a senior trial coun-
sel in the Environment and Natural Resources Division
at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) from 1980
until 2015. He served as DOJ’s environmental justice
coordinator and as a member of the Federal Interagency
Working Group on Environmental Justice (IWG) before
his retirement.
Vickie Patton serves as the Environmental Defense
Fund’s (EDF’s) general counsel and leads its legal and
regulatory initiatives. For more than 30 years, Vickie has
worked with partners to secure national a nd state pro-
tections addressing climate and air pollution, participat-
ing in numerous successful climate and clean air cases
to protect human health and the environment. Prior to
EDF, she served in the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency’s (EPA’s) Oce of General Counsel, where she
helped to implement the historic 1990 Clean Air Act
Amendments and received the Agency’s Gold Medal for
Exceptional Service.
Finally, we have a representative of the Biden Admin-
istration, Narayan Subramania n, who was appointed into
the Administrat ion as legal advisor at the U.S. Depar tment
of Energy (DOE) on January 20, 2021. Prior to joining
DOE, Narayan was a research fellow at the Center for
Law, Energy, and the Environment at Berkeley Law, lead-
ing a project tracking deregulatory eorts. He also served
Following a turbulent transition and in the midst of a global pa ndemic, Joseph R. Biden was inaugurated as the 46th Presi-
dent of the United States on Januar y 20, 2021. In its first year, the Biden Administration prioritized climate and environ-
mental justice initiatives through executive actio ns, legislation—including the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs
Act—and international agreement at t he 2021 Conference of the Parties in Glasgow. On January 20, 2022, ELI convened
experts for an exploration of the Administration’s environmental first-year accomplishments and setbacks, as well as the
opportunities and challen ges that remain. Below we present a transcript of that discussion, which has been edit ed for style,
clarity, and space considerations.
Copyright © 2022 Environmental Law Institute®, Washington, DC. Reprinted with permission from ELR®,, 1-800-433-5120.

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