In case you missed it, last week White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) Chair Brenda Mallory travelled to South Carolina to highlight how federal, state, local, and other community partners are working together to address legacy pollution, advance environmental justice, and revitalize communities.

In Spartanburg, Chair Mallory delivered a keynote address to more than 300 participants at a community event. Federal agencies also shared important information about funding opportunities under President Biden’s Investing in America agenda and resources available to help navigate the federal grant process. Chair Mallory joined the event to advance the White House Campaign for Environmental Justice, which has deepened the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to meet people where they are and help focus agency resources and attention on the needs of communities previously left behind.

Chair Mallory’s remarks underscored the importance of President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which set a goal that 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain federal climate, clean energy, affordable and sustainable housing, and other investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution.

“President Biden tasked the entire government with advancing a historic commitment to environmental justice,” said CEQ Chair Brenda Mallory. “Knowing that our work is far from over, I am thankful for the network of strong leaders – like those we met in South Carolina – who have been on the front lines, and will continue working to deliver for communities that have been left behind for too long.”

Spartanburg has faced historic underinvestment and health challenges caused by legacy pollution. With support from federal, state, and local officials, including private sector and foundation partners, the area has been transformed through the tireless work of local leaders such as former South Carolina State Representative Harold Mitchell Jr., who knows firsthand the chronic illnesses and safety hazards that families in the community have faced.

“I witnessed a transformation of doubt shift into enthusiastic hope when a capacity crowd of elected officials, local government employees, faith-leaders, small business owners, non-profits, grass-roots organizers, industry, and students listened to the heartfelt words of CEQ Chair Brenda Mallory on the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to environmental and climate justice. It was impactful to have multiple agencies with historic resources and programs visually display where money and programs have landed in South Carolina with free technical assistance for all, so no one is left out of the greatest opportunity ever presented to South Carolinians and the American people,” said Harold Mitchell, who also serves on the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council.

Chair Mallory also saw the impact of the President’s Investing in America agenda at ReGenesis Health Care, which delivers comprehensive health services to residents in Spartanburg and the surrounding region. Through funding from the American Rescue Plan, the organization was able to expand delivery of prescription medications, open new offices, and deliver remote primary care services.

“The American Rescue Plan funding enabled us to add more in-house pharmacies. In addition to that, we have taken the opportunity to create comprehensive services such as primary care, dental and behavioral health,” said Marlon Hunter, President and Chief Executive Officer of ReGenesis Health Care.

While in South Carolina, Chair Mallory also visited the US Finishing/Cones Mills Superfund site in Greenville. Thanks to newly announced Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding, the U.S. Finishing/Cone Mills Superfund site is receiving funds to support the completion of cleanup at the site by treating contaminated groundwater to protect local health and the environment and paving the way for the site to benefit the community as mixed-use development through a unique public-private partnership with the state of South Carolina and landowners. 

In South Carolina and throughout the country, community members, Tribal, state, and local leaders, and non-profits are harnessing new opportunities through the President’s Investing in America agenda and seeing the impact of President Biden’s commitment to deliver clean air, clean water, good-paying jobs, and a healthy environment to all.

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