Saturday 22 April 2023

Biden Signs Executive Order To Make Entire Government Focus On ‘Environmental Justice’

 President Joe Biden issued an executive order on Friday compelling the entire federal government to focus on addressing “environmental justice.”

The White House contended in a statement that racial discrimination created a situation in which minority groups are more likely to suffer from various environmental harms and are purportedly more susceptible to the impact of climate change. The executive order will “deepen” the “whole-of-government” approach to climate which Biden has frequently touted.

“For far too long, communities across our country have faced persistent environmental injustice through toxic pollution, underinvestment in infrastructure and critical services, and other disproportionate environmental harms often due to a legacy of racial discrimination including redlining,” the White House statement asserted. “These communities with environmental justice concerns face even greater burdens due to climate change.”

Biden, who unveiled the executive order in the Rose Garden on Friday, also created the White House Office of Environmental Justice led by a Federal Chief Environmental Justice Officer in order to coordinate “environmental justice policy” across the federal government.

The order “makes clear that the pursuit of environmental justice is a duty of all executive branch agencies and should be incorporated into their missions” and directed the agencies to “consider measures” which address “adverse environmental and health impacts on communities, including the cumulative impacts of pollution and other burdens like climate change.”

“Racism is a fundamental driver of environmental injustice,” the statement continued, adding that the order “directs agencies to actively facilitate meaningful public participation and just treatment of all people in agency decision-making.”

One previous executive order from the White House said addressing climate change is “at the center of United States foreign policy and national security.” Biden hosted a climate summit with other world leaders within months of entering the Oval Office.

The most recent executive order follows the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, both of which allocated substantial funds for climate initiatives and renewable energy incentives. Biden administration officials have introduced new emissions rules for household appliances such as gas stoves and refrigerators, tightened energy efficiency standards for mobile homes, and proposed new vehicle emissions regulations to encourage the increased adoption of electric cars.


Biden nixed expansions to the Keystone XL pipeline when he entered office and slowed federal oil lease approvals over the past two years. He meanwhile returned the United States to the Paris Climate Agreement, an international treaty that calls for reducing worldwide emissions by half ahead of 2030, as he promotes the broader transition toward renewable energy.

Despite the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, some Democratic lawmakers recently renewed their calls for more intense climate legislation: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) this week reintroduced the Green New Deal, a resolution which claims to solve climate change by drastically reshaping the American economy. The text of the resolution calls for the United States to meet all power demand through renewable and zero-emission sources, upgrade all existing buildings in the nation to achieve maximum energy efficiency, and overhaul the transportation system to remove carbon emissions to the greatest extent possible within the next decade.

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