Biden order pushes environmental justice

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

President Biden will today unveil steps aimed at ensuring federal decisions consider "environmental justice," which addresses higher pollution burdens often faced by the poor and communities of color, Ben writes.

Driving the news: A new executive order will direct agencies to identify and address data and science gaps, to help better understand cumulative environmental impacts.

This will be coordinated via a new branch within the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, which is headed by a cabinet-level official.

Zoom in: Other pieces, per a White House summary, include …

  • Creating a new Office of Environmental Justice within the existing White House Council on Environmental Quality.
  • It also calls on agencies across the government to conduct new assessments of their ongoing environmental justice efforts.

What we don't know: How, if at all, the burst of new efforts will affect specific decisions, given that the Biden administration has already sought to stitch environmental justice into the fabric of federal policymaking.

Meanwhile, beyond the order, the White House is unveiling other steps.

  • One will be publication today of the first environmental justice "scorecard," which will provide a "baseline for tracking the federal government's efforts through 24 agencies," a summary states.

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