Biden to Sign Executive Order on Environmental Justice

April 21, 2023

President Biden was set Friday to sign an executive order calling on all federal agencies to prioritize environmental justice.

In other words, the order directs federal agencies to invest in disadvantaged communities disproportionately affected by pollution and climate change.

“President Biden and Vice President Harris believe that every person has a right to breathe clean air, drink clean water, and live in a healthy community—now and into the future,” the White House said in a statement.

The White House goes on to day that the executive order is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s effort to “confront longstanding environmental injustices and inequities.”

“With this action, the President is working to ensure that all people—regardless of race, background, income, ability, Tribal affiliation, or zip code—can benefit from the vital safeguards enshrined in our nation’s foundational environmental and civil rights laws,” said the White House. “That means cleaner air and water, reduced risk for asthma, cancer, and other health burdens, and better access to green space, safe and affordable housing, and clean transportation.”

Biden was scheduled to deliver remarks from the Rose Garden at 2:15pm ET ahead of the signing.

During those remarks, Biden—who is expected to officially kick off his run for reelection next week—was set 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,” according to a White House official.

Republican lawmakers have urged weakening the regulation of oil production in order to lower energy prices. 

Earlier this week, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) proposed lifting the debt ceiling for one year and scaling back federal spending that included repealing electric vehicle and other clean energy tax incentives under the Inflation Reduction Act, which Biden signed last year.

Just days into his Presidency, Biden pledged to tackle environmental injustice. On January 27, 2021 he signed an executive order requiring federal agencies to deliver at least 40% of benefits from investments to overburdened communities. He called the order the “Justice40Initiative.”

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