Biden Establishes Office of Environmental Justice

President Joe Biden signing an executive order in the Rose Garden
U.S. President Joe Biden signs an executive order that would create the White House Office of Environmental Justice, in the Rose Garden of the White House April 21, 2023 in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer / Getty Images
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President Biden on Friday signed an executive order creating a new Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ) within the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

The OEJ directs federal agencies to work closer and earlier with communities affected by pipelines, highways, chemical plants, and waste sites to address centuries of racist policies that have imposed disproportionate pollution upon BlackIndigenous, and other people of color. “Environmental justice will be the mission of the entire government woven directly into how we work with state, local, tribal and territorial governments,” Biden said.

The creation of the White House OEJ marks a major victory for environmental justice advocates. “Today’s executive order is the result of nearly two decades of organizing by the environmental justice movement,” Ozawa Bineshi Albert, co-ED of the Climate Justice Alliance, a national nonprofit representing 89 rural and urban community-based EJ groups and supporting networks, said in a statement. “This win belongs to our communities who have been on the frontlines of the climate crisis, creating solutions, building local power, and engaging lawmakers for decades.” 

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