White House names members of environmental justice panel
The White House on Monday named members of its new Environmental Justice Advisory Council, which will work with other panels in the administration on efforts to reduce environmental inequalities.
The council, created in January by one of a several climate-related executive orders signed by President Biden, includes sociologist Robert Bullard, known as the “father of the environmental justice movement” for his advocacy against environmental racism.
Other members include LaTricea Adams, founder of the organization Black Millennials for Flint; Maria Belen-Power of the Massachusetts-based environmental group GreenRoots; and Andrea L. Delgado, government affairs director for the charity arm of the United Farm Workers.
“We know that we cannot achieve health justice, economic justice, racial justice, or educational justice without environmental justice. That is why President Biden and I are committed to addressing environmental injustice,” Vice President Harris said in a statement. “This historic White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council will ensure that our administration’s work is informed by the insights, expertise, and lived experience of environmental justice leaders from across the nation.”
The council will be funded through the Environmental Protection Agency. EPA Administrator Michael Regan has said environmental justice would be a major priority for the agency during his tenure.
“We will be driven by our convictions that every person in our great country has the right to clean air, clean water and a healthier life, no matter how much money they have in their pockets, the color of their skin or the community that they live in,” he said in December.
Environmental justice aims to address the disproportionate effects of environmental and climate issues on vulnerable communities. It has become a larger priority in mainstream environmentalism in recent years.
Reps. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz..) and A. Donald McEachin (D-Va.), co-sponsors of the Environmental Justice for All Act, praised the White House announcement in statements Monday.
“The era of sacrificing whole swathes of the country to the demands of polluters will have to end. No American community — in Louisiana, New Jersey, Appalachia or any other part of our great country — should have to accept poisoned air and water as the price of progress,” Grijalva said.
“The president, his advisors and his cabinet should listen to the environmental justice council with a spirit of new possibilities for our country, and I look forward to working with its members to advance our shared goals as closely as possible.”
Grijalva and McEachin reintroduced their measure on March 18. The previous bill, introduced in February 2020, stalled in the House, where it had 77 co-sponsors — all Democrats.