- President Joe Biden will sign an executive order directing federal agencies to invest in disadvantaged communities disproportionately affected by pollution and climate change, the White House said.
- The president, who is preparing to announce his reelection bid next week, will make the announcement during a ceremony at the White House Rose Garden.
- Biden is expected to condemn Republicans over "safeguarding handouts for Big Oil companies" and "fighting to make it easier for oil and gas companies to pollute the air we breathe," a White House official said.
President Joe Biden on Friday will sign an executive order directing federal agencies to invest in disadvantaged communities disproportionately affected by pollution and climate change, the White House said.
The order will create a new Office of Environmental Justice in the White House to coordinate all environmental justice efforts across the federal government and require agencies to notify nearby communities if toxic substances are released from a federal facility.
The president, who is preparing to announce his reelection bid next week, will make the announcement during a ceremony at the White House Rose Garden. He is also expected to condemn Republicans over "safeguarding handouts for Big Oil companies" and "fighting to make it easier for oil and gas companies to pollute the air we breathe," a White House official said.
Biden is expected to argue that his administration's historic environmental justice and climate agenda contrasts with "the dangerous vision Speaker McCarthy and his extreme caucus have for our planet, our economy, and public health," the official said.
Republican lawmakers have urged weaker regulation of oil production in order to lower energy prices. And earlier this week, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy proposed lifting the debt limit for one year and scaling back federal spending, including repealing electric vehicle and other clean energy tax incentives under the Inflation Reduction Act.
Early in his presidency, Biden pledged that addressing environmental justice would be a core component of his climate agenda and signed an executive order that launched the Justice40 Initiative, which requires agencies to deliver at least 40% of benefits from investments to overburdened communities.
Communities of color across the U.S. are systematically exposed to higher levels of air pollution than white communities because of federal housing discrimination, according to research published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology Letters. Black Americans are 75% more likely than white Americans to live near facilities that produce hazardous waste, according to the Clean Air Task Force, and are three times more likely to die from exposure to air pollutants.
"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 said in a statement. "These communities with environmental justice concerns face even greater burdens due to climate change."
Beverly Wright, founder and executive director of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice, said in a statement that though Biden's executive order is historic, "much work must be done to achieve true environmental justice."
In September, Biden's administration set up the Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights, made up of more than 200 Environmental Protection Agency staff in 10 U.S. regions. The office is overseeing the delivery of a $3 billion climate and environmental justice block grant program created by the Inflation Reduction Act. The bill includes $60 billion for environmental justice initiatives.