President Biden’s plan to address climate change will prioritize environmental justice, acknowledging the country’s legacy of “persistent racial and economic disparities.” Writing for the Washington Post, Juliet Eilperin, Brady Dennis, and Darryl Fears call Biden’s plan an “unprecedented push to cut the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions and create new jobs as the United States shifts toward cleaner energy,” reporting that the president has directed federal agencies to invest 40% of sustainability funding in communities that “have traditionally borne the brunt of pollution.”
Centering environmental justice could start to reverse decades of government decisions that imperiled low-income communities and people of color, “Black, Latino and Native American communities targeted for hazards that others did not want: power plants, landfills, trash incinerators, shipping ports, uranium mines and factories.”
“It’s hard,” the president said, referring to communities that are just a fenceline away from polluting facilities. “The hard-hit areas like Cancer Alley in Louisiana, or the Route 9 Corridor in the state of Delaware. That’s why we’re going to work to make sure that they receive 40 percent of the benefits of key federal investments in clean energy, clean water and wastewater infrastructure.”
An executive order signed by President Bien established the White House Interagency Council on Environmental Justice, a new office of health and climate equity at the Health and Human Services Department, and an environmental justice office within the Justice Department.