The Biden Administration has announced what it calls a “comprehensive environmental justice strategy,” including a new Office of Environmental Justice within the U.S. Department of Justice. Attorney General Merrick Garland and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan made the announcement in a joint news conference last week.
“Although violations of our environmental laws can happen anywhere, communities of color, indigenous communities, and low-income communities often bear the brunt of the harm caused by environmental crime, pollution, and climate change,” said Attorney General Garland. “For far too long, these communities have faced barriers to accessing the justice they deserve. The Office of Environmental Justice will serve as the central hub for our efforts to advance our comprehensive environmental justice enforcement strategy. We will prioritize the cases that will have the greatest impact on the communities most overburdened by environmental harm.”
Administrator Regan added, “This environmental justice enforcement strategy epitomizes the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to holding polluters accountable as a means to deliver on our environmental justice priorities.”
National League of Conservation Voters Deputy Legislative Director Madeleine Foote said, “Communities of color and low-income communities are disproportionately exposed to violations of environmental laws and experience the worst impacts of the climate crisis. These actions today should help reverse the Trump administration’s turning a blind eye to those communities in need of relief. We look forward to working with the new DOJ Office of Environmental Justice as they help fulfill the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to centering these impacted communities with their whole of government approach to tackling environmental racism.”