Today, Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) Chair Brenda Mallory issued the following statement after receiving initial recommendations from the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council (WHEJAC) on how to address current and historic environmental injustices, including recommendations for updating Executive Order 12898.

“President Biden and Vice President Harris have made it clear from their first day in office that environmental justice is a top priority, and that the voices of historically disadvantaged communities will be heard in the White House and throughout their Administration. I am immensely grateful to the volunteer members of the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council for their tireless and swift work to provide the recommendations they are submitting today. I look forward to reviewing these recommendations and to working with my colleagues across the federal government and with Congress to follow through on the President’s commitments to address long-standing environmental injustices, ensure no community gets left behind, and build back better.”

Background:

The WHEJAC was established by President Biden’s Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad (Executive Order 14008) to fulfill his and Vice President Harris’s commitment to confronting longstanding environmental injustices and to ensuring that historically marginalized and polluted, overburdened communities have greater input on federal policies and decisions. The Advisory Council will provide recommendations to the White House Environmental Justice Interagency Council on how to increase the Federal government’s efforts to address current and historic environmental injustice, including recommendations for updating Executive Order 12898. WHEJAC also advises CEQ Chair Mallory on a whole-of-government approach to environmental justice.

Its members represent a diverse set of geographical regions and its efforts will include a broad range of strategic, scientific, technological, regulatory, community engagement, and economic issues related to environmental justice. 

WHEJAC’s Recommendations

Today, as directed by Executive Order 14008, the WHEJAC formally submitted initial recommendations to CEQ Chair Mallory, as the Chair of the White House Environmental Justice Interagency Council. The recommendations include:

  1. WHEJAC recommendations on how best to create a geospatial Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool that will annually publish interactive maps highlighting disadvantaged communities.
  2. Recommendations on how certain Federal investments might be made toward a goal that 40 percent of the overall benefits flow to disadvantaged communities.
  3. Recommendations for updating Executive Order 12898, the Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations.

These recommendations will be reviewed by the Interagency Council in the coming days and weeks.

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