President Biden on Friday signed an executive order creating a new Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ) within the White House Council on Environmental Quality. The EO directs federal agencies to work closer and earlier with communities affected by pipelines, highways, chemical plants, and waste sites to address centuries of racist policies that have imposed disproportionate pollution upon Black, Indigenous, and other people of color. “Environmental justice will be the mission of the entire government woven directly into how we work with state, local, tribal and territorial governments,” Biden said.
The creation of the White House OEJ marks a major victory for environmental justice advocates. “Today’s executive order is the result of nearly two decades of organizing by the environmental justice movement,” Ozawa Bineshi Albert, co-ED of the Climate Justice Alliance, a national nonprofit representing 89 rural and urban community-based EJ groups and supporting networks, said in a statement. “This win belongs to our communities who have been on the frontlines of the climate crisis, creating solutions, building local power, and engaging lawmakers for decades.” (AP, E&E News, NPR, USA Today, Politico, CNN, The Hill, Fox News, Reuters, NBC, Axios, The Hill, New York Times $, CNBC, The Root, Politico Pro $)