Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenFighter jet escorts aircraft that entered restricted airspace during UN gathering Julian Castro knocks Biden administration over refugee policy FBI investigating alleged assault on Fort Bliss soldier at Afghan refugee camp MORE on Tuesday released a $2 trillion plan to address climate change with an emphasis on correcting racial economic disparities.
Speaking from a gymnasium in his home state of Delaware, Biden made the case that communities of color have been especially victimized by corporate polluters.
He said those communities have borne “the environmental and health burdens but shared none of the profits.”
“As we do this work, we need to be mindful of the historical wrongs and damage that American industries have done in the 21st century, inflicting environmental harm on poor and vulnerable communities, so often Black and brown and Native American communities,” Biden said.
“Included here are polluted water, toxins pouring down on communities that bore the environmental and health burdens but shared none of the profits. Growing up and breathing that each and every day, it’s poison," he added.
"It’s partly why there’s such incredible rates of childhood asthma in Black and brown communities. Why Black Americans are almost three times more likely to die of asthma-related causes than white Americans. It’s cancer alley in St. James Parish in Louisiana and the cancer-causing clusters around Route 9 right here in Delaware,” he also said.
Biden said that poor communities and communities of color would receive 40 percent of the investments he’s proposing to build new sustainable houses, reduce pollution and invest in clean energy workforce development and transportation.
“This is an area of incredible opportunity for growth in our country but we have to make sure that the first people who benefit from this are the people who were worst hurt by it historically in the last century by the structural disparities that exist,” Biden said.
The former vice president’s newly-unveiled climate and infrastructure plan aims for carbon-free electricity generation by 2035. The plan would invest in 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations, while providing new government jobs to plug abandoned oil wells, among other initiatives.
One major emphasis of the climate plan is aimed at addressing racial inequality, which has become a top concern for Democrats following the death of George Floyd while in police custody.
The Biden plan would overhaul the Environmental Protection Agency’s External Civil Rights Compliance office to bring new focus to how companies have “allowed state environmental agencies to issue dangerous permits, and to conduct its business in a way that harmed communities” of color.
Biden says he’ll use a new screening tool to publish annual maps that “identify disadvantaged communities; including disproportionately burdened tribal areas” to ensure companies are not taking advantage of that land to pollute the air and water.
The Biden plan will also establish an Environmental and Climate Justice Division within the Department of Justice to “to pursue anti-pollution cases” and “hold corporate executives personally accountable.”