On a High Note: The DOJ's Got a New Climate Justice Office
Last Thursday, the DOJ's Office of Environmental Justice announced a new office within the department, put in place to advocate climate justice for communities of color and low-income communities. According to CNN, "the DOJ is part of the Biden administration's strategy to prioritize environmental justice -- specifically as it relates to the climate crisis -- after the issue was largely ignored during the Trump administration.”
In an announcement speech, Attorney General Merrick Garland stated:
In our environmental enforcement efforts, we will prioritize the cases that will have the greatest impact on the communities most overburdened by environmental harm. Communities of color, indigenous communities, and low-income communities often bear the brunt of the harm caused by environmental crime, pollution, and climate change.
Since the Biden Administration took office, funding for environmental justice initiatives has increased rapidly and demonstrated commitment. The EPA has funded two $50 million dollar projects, focused on environmental education and the enhancement of air pollution monitoring. Both of these initiatives aim to help underserved communities affected by environmental hazards.
EPA Administrator Michael Regan, who spoke with Garland, stated, "Communities, particularly those with environmental justice concerns, deserve the assurance that their government will take vigorous enforcement action when polluters flout the law and jeopardize their well-being."
NBC: Attorney General Announces Creation of Office of Environmental Justice, May 5, 2022.
MSNBC: New EPA Plan Cracks Down On Pollution In Communities Of Color, January 27, 2022.
Greenpeace: What is Environmental Racism?, March 19, 2021.
CGTN America: Environmental racism in Louisiana’s ‘Cancer Alley,’ October 2, 2021.