Biden to sign order prioritizing ‘environmental justice’

WASHINGTON, Apr. 21 (BNA) President Joe Biden on Friday plans to sign an executive order creating the White House Office of Environmental Justice, the Associated Press reports.

The White House has said it wants to ensure that poverty, race and racial status do not lead to worse exposure to pollution and environmental damage. Biden is trying to compare his agenda to that of Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. GOP lawmakers have called for less regulation of oil production to lower energy prices, while the Biden administration says GOP policies will give benefits to highly profitable oil companies and hand over the renewable energy sector to the Chinese.

The White House said in a statement that Biden would sign the executive order to continue implementing “the most ambitious environmental justice agenda in our nation’s history.”

The order tells executive branch agencies to use data and scientific research to understand how pollution harms people’s health, so that work can be done to limit any harm. Under the order, enforcement agencies will be required to notify nearby communities if toxic materials are released from a federal facility.

As part of the announcement, Vice President Kamala Harris will travel separately to Miami, Florida, to announce $562 million to help protect communities from the effects of climate change.

The Environmental Protection Agency last year formed its own Office of Environmental Justice and Overseas Civil Rights, merging three existing EPA programs to oversee a portion of the Democrats’ $60 billion investment in environmental sanitation initiatives created by the Inflation Reduction Act last year.

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