Biden Enacts Order Emphasizing 'Environmental Justice'

This executive order instructs executive branch agencies to utilize data and scientific research to comprehend the health implications of pollution.



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Biden Enacts Order Emphasizing


WASHINGTON, DC - On Friday, President Joe Biden took a significant step by signing an executive order to establish the White House Office of Environmental Justice. The aim behind this move, as stated by the White House, is to ensure that socioeconomic factors like poverty, race, and ethnicity do not result in unequal exposure to pollution and environmental harm.

In a deliberate effort to differentiate his approach from that of Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, President Biden drew attention to their differing agendas. While GOP lawmakers have advocated for reduced regulation in oil production to lower energy costs, the Biden administration contends that such policies would disproportionately benefit highly profitable oil companies and cede dominance in the renewable energy sector to China.

In a statement at the White House, President Biden emphasized, "Environmental justice will become the guiding principle across the entire government, integrated into our collaboration with state, local, tribal, and territorial governments."

This executive order instructs executive branch agencies to utilize data and scientific research to comprehend the health implications of pollution, enabling them to take actions to mitigate harm. It also mandates executive agencies to promptly notify nearby communities if hazardous substances are released from federal facilities.

Concurrently, Vice President Kamala Harris is embarking on a separate trip to Miami, Florida, to unveil a $562 million initiative designed to fortify communities against the repercussions of climate change.

Notably, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had previously established its own Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights last year, amalgamating three existing EPA programs to oversee a segment of the Democrats' $60 billion investment in environmental justice initiatives, as mandated by the Inflation Reduction Act.

This executive order adds pressure on federal agencies and the White House itself to deliver on the Biden administration's promises of environmental restoration within communities of color and underserved communities, while also preparing them for the impacts of climate change.

While the administration has demonstrated a substantial commitment to environmental and climate justice issues through unprecedented funding, challenges have arisen in identifying which communities require the most assistance. Moreover, the administration's endorsement of controversial drilling projects has sparked debates, with Republicans criticizing President Biden for elevated gasoline prices.