WE ACT At The White House For Signing Of Commitment To Environmental Justice

April 22, 2023

Earlier today, President Biden announced Executive Order 12898: Revitalizing Our Nation’s Commitment to Environmental Justice for All

A substantive update to the original Executive Order 12898 issued by President Clinton in 1994, it contains a series of directives requiring all 438 federal agencies to make environmental justice part of its mission by identifying and addressing, as appropriate, disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of its programs, policies, and activities on minority populations and low-income populations. It also requires each federal agency to develop an agency-wide environmental justice strategy.

Said Dana Johnson, “Today’s historic announcement addresses what Harlem-based WE ACT has been fighting for 35 years: environmental justice is central to civil rights and environmental laws. The administration is implementing meaningful change to support the message we’ve known for decades: harmful pollution disproportionately impacts low-income communities and communities of color, among other vulnerable communities. The updated Executive Order, building on the original Executive Order 12898 issued by President Clinton in 1994, will further embed environmental justice work in federal agencies to achieve real, measurable progress that low-income and communities of color can depend on.”

Said Peggy Shepard, “The Biden administration has issued an update of Executive Order 12898, adding to the President’s landmark work to create the Justice40 Initiative, the White House Environmental Justice Interagency Council, and the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council (WHEJAC). Today, the foundation of the government’s environmental justice work has been updated to respond to recommendations made by the WHEJAC to further advance environmental and climate justice throughout the federal government. This is an important step forward as we see real investment in frontline communities.”

1-2) At the White House signing (left to right): Dr. Jalonne White-Newsome, Senior Director for Environmental Justice at The White House Council on Environmental Quality (and former WE ACT staffer); Peggy Shepard; Dana Johnson; and Vernice Miller-Travis, Executive Vice President at the Metropolitan Group and WE ACT Co-Founder.

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