Author: WHCEQ Published: 4/30/2023 White House Council on Environmental Quality
(President Biden signs an Executive Order on environmental justice, April 21, 2023)
The Biden-Harris Administration is taking bold action to power American manufacturing and the clean energy boom, lower energy prices, create good-paying jobs in clean energy industries, meet our climate goals, and advance environmental justice and conservation by Investing in America.
Last week President Biden signed Executive Order 14096 on Revitalizing Our Nation’s Commitment to Environmental Justice for All. Watch the President’s remarks here, read more here, and see reactions here. The new Executive Order will:
- Deepen the Biden-Harris Administration’s whole-of-government commitment to environmental justice.
- Better protect overburdened communities from pollution and environmental harms.
- Strengthen engagement with communities and mobilize federal agencies to confront existing and legacy barriers and injustices.
- Promote the latest science, data, and research, including on cumulative impacts.
- Expand interagency coordination and launch a new Office of Environmental Justice within the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
- Increase accountability and transparency in federal environmental justice policy.
- Honor and build on the foundation of ongoing environmental justice work.
On Monday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced $400 million in grants for thousands of electric and low-emission school buses across the nation. The grants are made possible by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provides an unprecedented $5 billion to transform the nation’s fleet of school buses. To learn more about the grant program, applicant eligibility, selection process, and informational webinar dates, visit EPA’s Clean School Bus Program webpage.
Also on Monday, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) launched the Savings Hub, an online one-stop shop that will provide American consumers with savings tools to cut their energy costs and expand clean energy. DOE’s Energy Savings Hub also highlights a variety of low or no-cost DIY energy efficiency tips that can reduce energy usage and energy waste.
On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced it is accepting applications for the first round of a new $400 million grant program under President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that focuses on port electrification and efficiency improvements. The program is part of the Justice40 Initiative, President Biden’s commitment to ensure that 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution. Learn more about the grant program here.
Also on Thursday, the Department of the Interior (DOI) announced more than $146 million in funding for wetland conservation projects and National Wildlife Refuges. The funding provides the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners the ability to help conserve or restore 242,000 acres of wetland and associated upland habitats for waterfowl, shorebirds and other birds across North America – including Canada and Mexico. The announcement builds on the Biden-Harris Administration’s America the Beautiful Initiative, a decade-long challenge to pursue a locally led and voluntary, nationwide effort to conserve, connect, and restore the lands, waters, and wildlife upon which we all depend.
In addition to these actions, last week the Biden-Harris Administration announced other new steps to further the President’s historic commitment to environmental justice, including publishing the first-ever Environmental Justice Scorecard, launching the White House Campaign for Environmental Justice, announcing new Justice40 covered programs, and taking new steps to combat plastic pollution in communities.
Also last week, President Biden convened the fourth virtual leader-level meeting of the Major Economies Forum (MEF) on Energy and Climate, where he highlighted new steps the United States is taking to meet its ambitious 1.5°C-aligned goal of reducing emissions 50-52 percent in 2030. At the convening, President Biden announced significant new steps including a $1 billion contribution to the Green Climate Fund and a pledge of $500 million to Brazil’s Amazon Fund.
Last Friday, Vice President Harris traveled to Miami to announce $562 million in funding from the Department of Commerce for nearly 150 projects across 30 coastal states and territories to make communities and the economy more resilient to climate change, as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Investing in America agenda.
Last week, the Departments of Agriculture and Interior announced actions to foster forest conservation, enhance forest resilience to climate change, and inform policymaking on ensuring healthy forests on federally managed lands administered by the United States Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. These actions represent concrete progress on the goals and priorities outlined one year ago in President Biden’s Executive Order from Earth Day 2022, Secretary Vilsack’s Memorandum on Climate Resilience and Carbon Stewardship, as well as in the USDA Forest Service’s Wildfire Crisis Strategy, Climate Adaptation Plan, and Reforestation Strategy.
Join us for a White House Climate and Environmental Justice Briefing on Wednesday, May 3rd at 2:00 PM ET to hear from senior Biden-Harris Administration officials on recent announcements that will strengthen environmental justice, expand the clean energy economy, and foster conservation and resilience to climate change. Register here.
As part of President Biden’s goal of having 50% of all new vehicle sales be electric by 2030, the White House is issuing a call to action to all stakeholders in the private and public sectors including advocacy and community groups, to dedicate resources and make independent commitments in order to actively support this historic transition to electric vehicles (EVs). The EV Acceleration Challenge invites your organization to share details about any new or not yet publicly announced commitments your organization is making in support of America’s EV transition. Submissions will be highlighted on a rolling basis. Learn more here.
Keep reading for more environmental updates from the Biden-Harris Administration and to learn about opportunities to provide public input on ongoing energy and environmental initiatives. If you were forwarded this email, or are not on our list yet, please sign up here.
- Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Maps: Updated map reflecting the more than 20,000 projects and funding announced in communities across the United States.
- Inflation Reduction Act Guidebook: This guidebook provides an overview of the clean energy, climate mitigation and resilience, agriculture, and conservation-related tax incentives and investment programs in President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, including who is eligible to apply for funding and for what activities.
- Inflation Reduction Act Tribal Guidebook: Guidebook to the Inflation Reduction Act’s Clean Energy and Climate Investments in Indian Country, which provides clear descriptions of the law’s tax incentives and funding programs for which Tribes are eligible.
- Grants.gov: Learn about current federal grant opportunities.
- Cleanenergy.gov: A one-stop shop for Inflation Reduction Act policy updates.
- Energy Savings Hub | Department of Energy: Access resources made possible by President Biden’s Investing in America plan, which will help lower your energy costs, make your home safer and more comfortable, and help the planet.
NEWS CLIPS OF THE WEEK
The New York Times: Biden to Create White House Office of Environmental Justice
TWEETS OF THE WEEK
President Biden (@POTUS): “When I met with environmental justice leaders, their stories about pollution were unforgettable. Imagine being scared to death about what the air or water is doing to your kids. This kind of injustice goes against everything America stands for – so we’re taking action.”
Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP): “The climate crisis poses a rising threat to coastal communities. Today, I visited Miami to announce $562 million to reduce the impact of storm surges, hurricanes, and rising sea levels, and to protect marine ecosystems and economies across the nation.”
The White House (@WhiteHouse): “Today, @POTUS signed an Executive Order making environmental justice the responsibility of every single federal executive agency. This means every federal agency must take into account disproportionate environmental and health impacts on communities – and work to prevent them.”
Jennifer Granholm, U.S. Department of Energy (@SecGranholm): “📢ICYMI: We launched the @ENERGY Savings Hub. This is your go-to for information on how you can save money and save our planet. Access the hub from anywhere and see how you can save BIG $$$ with @POTUS’ historic clean energy investments.”
Michael Regan, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (@EPAMichaelRegan): “Environmental justice is a pillar of this Administration and @POTUS ’s Executive Order reaffirmed this today. From establishing EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice & Civil Rights to delivering on the Justice40 initiative, we’re cementing environmental justice into our work.”
Mitch Landrieu, White House Senior Advisor & Infrastructure Coordinator (@MitchLandrieu46): “It’s a full court press on building a clean energy economy & making communities more resilient to climate change. Thanks in part to @POTUS’ Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, @Interior’s water conservation grants will help modernize water infrastructure with 84 projects in 11 states.”
Jalonne White-Newsome, Senior Director of Environmental Justice, White House Council on Environmental Quality (@JWhiteNewsome46): “What a day for #EnvironmentalJustice! 🖊️ @POTUS signed the Revitalizing our Nation’s Commitment to Environmental Justice for All EO 💯 @WHCEQ, @OMBPress, & @USDS released the first-ever Environmental Justice Scorecard 🎉@WhiteHouse launched the Campaign for Environmental Justice”