Washington, D.C. — Today, the White House Council on Environmental Quality launched a week of action to promote its work implementing Justice40, President Joe Biden’s historic goal to deliver at least 40 percent of the climate and infrastructure investment benefits to disadvantaged communities. The week of action includes the release of a report outlining how to implement recommendations from the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council; the announcement that $29 billion has been rolled out to deliver on the Justice40 Initiative; a series of outreach and listening sessions to engage Justice40 stakeholders; and a new environmental justice website.
In response, Cathleen Kelly, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, released the following statement:
The Biden-Harris Administration has made important progress in implementing its historic Justice40 Initiative and targeting long overdue investments to communities harmed by high levels of pollution and economic inequality. These investments are critical to improving the health and economic vitality of communities that have long borne the brunt of our nation’s most toxic sources of pollution. From pollution clean-up and clean public transit to climate-resilient affordable housing and pollution-free energy, the Justice40 Initiative is key to addressing historic injustices in these neighborhoods, which are disproportionately communities of color.
Despite this progress, the work is far from finished. The administration must fully engage with environmental justice communities and center their feedback as it continues to implement Justice40. Addressing decades of environmental injustice will require a whole-of-government approach and additional action. That includes offering technical support to local governments and community groups representing disadvantaged communities so they can successfully apply for federal grants. The administration also should simplify grant application processes to make federal funds more accessible and improve federal programs to maximize benefits to communities. And it’s time for Congress to pass significant investments that spur immediate, meaningful action on climate and environmental justice at the scale of the problem.
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