April 21, 2023

Biden signs environmental justice executive order

President Joe Biden

President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Friday afternoon that embeds environmental justice into federal agencies’ work. 

“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,” a White House fact sheet about the executive order states. “These communities with environmental justice concerns face even greater burdens due to climate change.”

In the order, Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris instructed federal agencies to consider measures that would address and prevent disproportionate impacts to communities, including pollution and climate change burdens. It also requires the federal agencies to notify nearby communities if toxic substances are released from federal facilities and to conduct a public meeting to share information if those incidents occur.

The order further creates an Office of Environmental Justice within the White House Council on Environmental Quality.