Since his first day in office, President Joe Biden has centered environmental justice in his climate and policy agenda. On Earth Day 2023, Biden signed Revitalizing Our Nation’s Commitment to Environmental Justice for All, an executive order to further advance federal government actions and “build upon and strengthen its commitment to deliver environmental justice to all communities.”

The executive order makes clear that the pursuit of environmental justice is a duty of all executive branch agencies and that agencies should be taking actions to incorporate this charge into their missions. It also directs all federal agencies in the executive branch to develop Environmental Justice Strategic Plans that are tied to specific performance and accountability measures. Environmental Justice Strategic Plans are a metric in the Environmental Justice Scorecard as one measure to assess how federal agencies are embedding environmental justice principles throughout their operations to deliver real, measurable progress on confronting longstanding environmental injustices and inequities. All Environmental Justice Strategic Plans must be submitted the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and be made available to the public online by October 21, 2024. 

In consultation with the White House Environmental Justice Interagency Council (IAC), the CEQ published "Strategic Planning to Advance Environmental Justice,” a first of its kind playbook that offers interim guidance on the development of agency Environmental Justice Strategic Plans and included a template for agency staff. The template builds on the 2021 recommendations of the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council (WHEJAC), which proposed that agencies publish comprehensive strategic plans frequently and regularly. The playbook also suggests agencies conduct periodic evaluations of their progress towards those plans. To comply with the executive order, Environmental Justice Strategic Plans should include ways to enhance accountability and compliance with any statute the agency handles, which impacts the health and environment of communities with environmental justice concerns. This can be achieved by identifying and addressing opportunities through regulations, policies, permits or other means.  

To ensure the voices of environmental justice groups, communities and local stakeholders are heard, the federal government is gathering public input of the development of the draft plans.  

Join World Resources Institute on June 17 to learn more about Environmental Justice Strategic Plans from Christina Bowman, Deputy Director for Environmental Justice Strategic Initiatives at the Council on Environmental Quality and federal agency staff from the Department of Energy, Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency. The event will gather feedback from audience members through a submission form that WRI will organize and submit as a public comment document to each agency represented during the event. WRI encourages all attendees to submit their comments to the form (available during and after the event).

Speakers

  • Christina Bowman, Deputy Director for Environmental Justice Strategic Initiatives, Council on Environmental Quality
  • Kelly Crawford, Sr. Advisor for Energy & Environmental Justice, Office of Energy Justice and Equity, US Department of Energy,
  • Diana Nguyen, EJ Strategic Plan Staff Lead and National Program Liaison, Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights, US Environmental Protection Agency
  • Kelsey Owens, Senior Electric Vehicle Policy Advisor Office of the Secretary – Office of Policy, US Department of Transportation
  • Dan Lashof, Director, United States, World Resources Institute
  • Carla Walker, Director of Environmental Justice and Equity, U.S., World Resources Institute