Yesterday, the White House released the latest version of the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool intended to help direct billions of federal dollars to disadvantaged communities. “Every community, regardless of zip code, should have clean water to drink, healthy air to breathe, and protection from extreme climate events,” said CEQ Chair Brenda Mallory.

The screening tool, in development for years, is intended to be used by federal agencies to ensure funds are distributed in accordance with the administration’s Justice40 goal of directing 40% of climate-related spending to disadvantaged communities. The newest iteration of the screening tool does not include race — which is a greater identifier of areas overburdened by pollution than other factors — as a factor, but does display race and age data. The administration has cautioned that including race as an explicit factor would make the screening tool vulnerable to lawsuits with a conservative Supreme Court supermajority hostile to acknowledging racial inequities in American Society.

“As someone who has fought for equitable access to water infrastructure across America, I’m grateful for a tool that outlines a path for federal agencies to deliver resources to those who need them most,” said Catherine Coleman Flowers, founding director of the Center for Rural Enterprise and Environmental Justice and vice chair of the White House EJ Advisory Council. (E&E News)