Biden budget proposes $1.4 billion for environmental justice
The White House’s discretionary budget request released Friday includes over $1.4 billion for environmental justice initiatives, which the Biden administration has called a major priority.
The budget proposal includes $936 million for the creation of an Accelerating Environmental and Economic Justice initiative within the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The initiative would include $100 million to create a community air quality monitoring and notification program to update data in areas with air pollution problems.
“The FY 2022 discretionary request for EPA makes historic investments to tackle the climate crisis and to make sure that all communities, regardless of their zip code, have clean air, clean water, and safe places to live and work,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in a statement Friday. “Today’s announcement recognizes that science is at the core of all that we do at the EPA and says loud and clear that the EPA is back and ready to work.”
The proposal also includes more than $3.5 billion toward improving water infrastructure. Citing crises like the contamination of drinking water in Flint, Mich., the Biden administration has also called for the replacement of all lead pipes nationwide in its $2 trillion infrastructure package.
The White House has also emphasized the job creation potential in its pitches for aggressive climate policy, and the budget request emphasizes its potential to alleviate rural poverty.
“This includes more than $300 million in new investments in the next generation of agriculture and conservation, including support for private lands conservation, renewable energy grants and loans, and the creation of a Civilian Climate Corps to create a new pathway to good-paying jobs in rural America,” the request states. “The discretionary request also supports $6.5 billion in lending to support additional clean energy, energy storage, and transmission projects in rural communities, including communities of color.”
Conservation groups praised these aspects of the request following its release.
“The budget proposal President Biden has submitted provides the opportunity for us to work together to ensure that critical federal programs that protect American families from pollution have the resources needed to continue their missions and solve the climate crisis,” Elizabeth Gore, senior vice president for political affairs at the Environmental Defense Fund, said in a statement. “Congress should follow the president’s lead by enacting the clean energy, climate, and public health investments the president is proposing.”
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