Energy & Environment

Warren environmental justice plan focuses third of climate investment on disadvantaged communities

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An environmental justice plan released by Democratic presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren promises to invest one-third of her climate-focused spending on low-income communities at the frontlines of environmental hazards.

The plan posted to Medium on Wednesday morning estimates that the investment would funnel at least $1 trillion into those communities over the next decade.

“Our crisis of environmental injustice is the result of decades of discrimination and environmental racism compounding in communities that have been overlooked for too long,” the Massachusetts senator wrote in the post.{mosads}

“It is the result of multiple choices that put corporate profits before people, while our government looked the other way. It is unacceptable, and it must change.”

In the policy Warren remarks on the unequal environmental burdens placed on communities of color and low income families, many whom still suffer from past racist policies such as redlining. Studies have shown, for example, that black families are more likely to live in areas with high air pollution than white families.

If elected president, Warren lays out how she’d take climate action by shepherding a “just transition” to renewable energy use, as laid out in the Green New Deal climate resolution, which Warren co-sponsored in the Senate.

Warren said she would direct the Environmental Protection Agency to better map environmental impacts on at-risk communities and adjust power plant permitting rules to better consider the impact of pollution. She would also mandate all federal agencies to consider climate impacts when issuing permits and submitting rules.

“Climate action needs to be mainstreamed in everything the federal government does. But we also need a standard that requires the government to do more than merely ‘assess’ the environmental impact of proposed projects — we need to mitigate negative environmental impacts entirely,” Warren wrote.

Other aspects of her plan include transforming the Council on Environmental Quality to the Council on Climate Action, which she said would have a broader mandate. 

Warren’s climate justice plan is one of several policy plans she has rolled out since she announced her candidacy for president. Previous policy papers included calls to place a moratorium on oil and gas drilling on public lands and boost green manufacturing jobs. Warren recently adopted Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s (D) multipronged climate action plan. Inslee dropped out of the Democratic primary race at the end of the summer.

Tags 2020 Democratic primary Climate change Elizabeth Warren Environmental justice Jay Inslee Warren campaign

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