President Joe Biden is set to announce a new executive order that will direct federal agencies to identify and address data and science gaps in order to better understand cumulative environmental impacts. The order also calls on agencies across the government to conduct new assessments of their ongoing environmental justice efforts. In addition, the White House is unveiling its first-ever environmental justice "scorecard," which will provide a baseline for tracking the federal government's progress through 24 different agencies.
The executive order establishes the Office of Environmental Justice, significantly expanding the administration's initiatives in this area. It requires federal agencies to consider the “disproportionate and adverse” impacts of climate change on minority and low-income communities, as opposed to focusing solely on “proportionately high and adverse" effects mentioned in previous orders.
Furthermore, it expands upon programs covered by President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which directs 40% of all funds from certain federal projects towards communities that are marginalized, underserved, or overburdened by pollution. This makes environmental justice a duty for all executive branch agencies.
The signing ceremony is scheduled for Friday afternoon where President Biden is expected to criticize Republicans for their extreme stance on fossil fuels that he claims jeopardizes public health.
On Earth Day itself, President Joe Biden plans on announcing the creation of an Office of Environmental Justice responsible for coordinating such efforts throughout various levels of government. This office aims at protecting overburdened communities from pollution-related harm while acknowledging racism as a fundamental driver behind these disparities in environment quality.
The Climate Justice Alliance has been involved with almost two decades' worth organizing within this movement; meanwhile studies conducted by organizations like The Climate Protection Agency have found detrimental effects resulting from air pollution due primarily to burning fossil fuels - including damage inflicted upon every single organ within human bodies.
Vice President Kamala Harris has also announced $562 million dedicated towards projects focused on safeguarding communities from the impacts of climate change.
The executive order also establishes the White House Office of Environmental Justice, which will be led by a Federal Chief Environmental Justice Officer. This officer's primary responsibility is to coordinate environmental justice policy across all federal agencies. The creation of this office follows closely behind the passage of both the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law; these pieces legislation already allocate substantial funds for initiatives centered around climate preservation alongside renewable energy incentives.
Despite these steps forward, several Democratic lawmakers have recently called upon more aggressive tactics within future climate legislation efforts as well.