Since 2021, the Administration has released several mapping tools addressing environmental and health impacts on environmental justice (“EJ”) communities.
On Sunday, August 7 the Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (the Act) as part of the FY 2022 Budget Reconciliation bill.
The Department of Justice (“DOJ”) issued a Comprehensive Environmental Justice Enforcement Strategy (“the Strategy”) on May 5, 2022, pursuant to President Biden’s January 2021 Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad.
On March 28, 2022, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) published its Final Strategic Plan (“Strategic Plan”) setting forth the agency’s priorities over the next four years based on seven strategic goals focused on the protection of the environment and human health.
On March 28, 2022, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (“Corps”) published notice (“Notice”) that it is undertaking a formal review of Nationwide Permit (“NWP”) 12, one of over 50 general permits available nationwide that allow for streamlined approval of certain categories of activities that may affect federally jurisdictional waters and wetlands when the effects are no more than minimal.
In his Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, released on January 27, 2021, President Biden directed the White House Council on Environmental Quality (“CEQ”) to “create a geospatial Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool and [to] annually publish interactive maps highlighting disadvantaged communities” in support of the Justice40 Initiative.
On February 14, 2022, the Department of Energy (“DOE”) issued two Requests for Information (“RFI”) related to its rollout of significant hydrogen programs.
The concept of “environmental justice” (“EJ”) is not new—the federal government has been working to define and address environmental justice and related human health and environmental effects since the Clinton administration. The reality that communities consisting of minority, low-income, and vulnerable populations have been disproportionately impacted by adverse human health or environmental effects, sometimes for decades, is also generally accepted.
The Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) recently unveiled its new Power Plants and Neighboring Communities mapping tool as part of its commitment to Environmental Justice (“EJ”).
For the second time in as many weeks, the acting head of the EPA’s enforcement office has issued a memorandum (the “Memorandum”) outlining additional actions to advance the EPA’s environmental justice (“EJ”) goals.
In February 2021, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Acting Chair Allison Herren Lee directed the Division of Corporation Finance to focus on climate-related disclosures and use their insights to begin updating the SEC’s 2010 guidance, and the SEC has recently closed the comment period on potential climate actions in which it specifically asked whether the SEC should focus any future disclosure regulations solely on climate or whether it should consider Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors more broadly.
The acting head of the EPA’s enforcement office issued a Memorandum on June 21, 2021, that outlines actions to advance the EPA’s environmental justice (“EJ”) goals in criminal enforcement matters. Previously EPA Administrator Regan shared a message on April 7 with EPA employees that affirmed the Biden administration’s commitment to EJ.