Mixed messages: Making sense of Biden’s environmental justice order

Read the full story from Planet Detroit.

On April 20, the Biden administration issued an executive order creating a new Office on Environmental Justice within the White House Council on Environmental Quality to collect and publicize data on cumulative impacts from pollution in overburdened communities.

“Every federal agency must take into account environmental and health impacts on communities and work to prevent those negative impacts,” President Joe Biden said when he announced the order. “Environmental justice will be the mission of the entire government.”

It’s unclear how far this order will go to address concerns over the concentration of polluting industries in low-income areas and communities of color. Some provisions may only have a limited impact. For example, the order requires agencies to notify surrounding communities of a toxic release, which only applies to federal facilities.

Meanwhile, a Detroit environmental justice organization had a far simpler message for the White House: stop approving new fossil fuel projects.

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