President Joe Biden has signed a new executive order to further advance his administration's commitment to environmental justice.
The order, titled "Revitalizing Our Nation’s Commitment to Environmental Justice for All," aims to deepen the administration's whole-of-government approach to addressing environmental injustice and inequities across the country.
There hasn’t been much communication about this project prior to the announcement just days ago. Some feel the order came out of left field, and considering it is part of social justice and climate initiatives could be a highly contentious issue for many.
The new executive order follows through on President Biden's campaign promises to prioritize environmental justice and confront longstanding environmental injustices that have disproportionately affected marginalized communities.
The order establishes the White House Office of Environmental Justice, led by the Federal Chief Environmental Justice Officer, which will coordinate the implementation of environmental justice policy across the federal government.
The order also creates a new Environmental Justice Subcommittee within the National Science and Technology Council, which will identify and address gaps in science, data, and research related to environmental justice.
The order directs federal agencies to consider measures to prevent and address disproportionate and adverse environmental and health impacts on communities, including the cumulative impacts of pollution and other burdens like climate change.
It requires agencies to notify nearby communities in the event of a release of toxic substances from a federal facility and hold a public meeting to share information on resulting health risks and necessary precautions.
The order also emphasizes the vital importance of Tribal consultation and coordination to strengthen nation-to-nation relationships on issues involving environmental justice.
It recognizes the reality that communities with environmental justice concerns have long experienced exclusion and other significant barriers to having a voice in federal decision-making.
In addition to the executive order, the Biden-Harris Administration is announcing other new steps to further the President’s historic commitment to environmental justice, including the publication of the first-ever Environmental Justice Scorecard, which assesses federal agencies’ efforts to advance environmental justice, and the launch of the White House Campaign for Environmental Justice, which will redouble the administration's efforts to meet people where they are and better focus agency resources and attention on the needs of marginalized and overburdened communities.
The Biden-Harris administration has been working steadily towards what they consider "environmental justice" through a whole-of-government effort to confront what they call "longstanding environmental injustices and inequities."
Included in the administration's projects is the Justice40 Initiative, which seeks to deliver 40 percent of the overall benefits of federal climate, clean energy, affordable and sustainable housing, clean water, and other investments to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized and overburdened by pollution.
The administration has also made major investments in environmental justice, with the president’s Investing in America agenda including funding for environmental justice initiatives