Biden’s EPA Chief Says ‘Environmental Justice’ Is In Agency’s ‘DNA’

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Biden’s EPA Chief Says ‘Environmental Justice’ Is In Agency’s ‘DNA’


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Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan told a Senate subcommittee Wednesday that “environmental justice” was “built” into the agency’s “DNA.”

“At EPA, we’ve built environmental justice into our very DNA,” Regan told the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee during a hearing on the agency’s budget request for fiscal year 2024. “And so, number one, we have some very concrete metrics that are attached to this $27 billion to be sure that disadvantaged communities and those who are disproportionately impacted have access to this capital.”

The EPA announced plans for a $27 billion Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund in an April 19 release, which is separate from EPA’s budget request of $12.083 billion. The fund, which was authorized in the Inflation Reduction Act signed into law by President Joe Biden in August, provides up to 60 grants to states to expand solar energy projects in low-income or disadvantaged communities and will also fund at least two non-profits to promote clean energy technology, the release said.

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The EPA defines “environmental justice” as “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies” according to its website.

Biden signed the executive order establishing “Agency Equity Teams” Thursday, a follow up to an order he signed on his first day in office. The EPA established an Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights in September.

“With the launch of a new national program office, we are embedding environmental justice and civil rights into the DNA of EPA and ensuring that people who’ve struggled to have their concerns addressed see action to solve the problems they’ve been facing for generations,” Regan said in a press release issued Sept. 24.

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