White House official discusses environmental justice efforts

White House official discusses environmental justice efforts
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A top White House official on Thursday described the steps the Biden administration is taking to address the effects of climate change on disadvantaged communities.

Brenda MalloryBrenda MalloryWhite House official discusses environmental justice efforts The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - A huge win for Biden, centrist senators The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Officers recount the horror of Jan. 6 MORE, chair of the White House Council on Environment Quality, said at The Hill’s “Energy Efficiency and Climate Justice” event that the administration’s Justice 40 Initiative is aimed at ensuring the fight against climate change is a process that benefits under-resourced communities.

“It’s a reflection of a commitment to make sure that the federal investments in clean energy and climate change related programs and activities result in 40 percent of the overall benefits going to low income and communities of color,” she told The Hill’s Steve Clemons.

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Biden detailed the initiative's first steps earlier this month, outlining 21 programs designed to benefit low-income communities. Among the programs are the Department of Homeland Security Flood Mitigation Assistance Program, the Environmental Protection Agency Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, the Department of Housing and Urban Development Lead Hazard Reduction and Healthy Homes Grant and the Department of Agriculture Rural Energy for America Program.

The White House Council on Environmental Quality, led by Mallory, coordinates with the president to support the federal government’s efforts to protect the environment and improve public health. Mallory was confirmed by the Senate in April in a 53-45 vote. She is the first Black leader of the council.

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Much of the Biden administration's environmental goals are playing out in Congress now, with many progressives upset that the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal announced Wednesday appears to be light on many climate provisions.

For example, a Biden proposal included installing 500,000 electric charging stations by 2030 and setting up tax incentives for owning electric cars, but the bipartisan plan includes just $15 billion for electric vehicle infrastructure, compared to the initial proposal of $174 billion.

Climate advocates are hoping to include more funding in a $3.5 trillion Democratic-only reconciliation package that's expected to move through Congress this fall.

Pursuing environmental justice, Mallory said on Thursday, might require rebuilding old infrastructure that was initially constructed to section off communities of color and deprive them of access to resources.