The Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced a new office that will address the department’s environmental justice efforts. The office will also enforce laws around the climate crisis, like toxic pollution.
Source: NBC News/Youtube
Low-income communities and communities of color are largely more affected by pollution and the climate crisis. Recently, John Oliver did a segment about environmental racism in the United States. According to a 2021 study funded by the EPA, exposure to air pollution was higher for people of color, regardless of region or income. They found that black Americans making a salary of $200,000 were exposed to more air pollution than white Americans making only $25,000. Oliver said about the studies that it proves “yet again, racism is one of the few things in this country more powerful than money.”
The DOJ’s Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ) will be a part of the Biden administration’s plan to fight for environmental justice. Attorney General Merrick Garland, who announced the new office earlier this month, said that the OEJ will “serve as the central hub for our efforts to advance our comprehensive environmental justice enforcement strategy.” They will team up with the Civil Rights Division and United States Attorneys’ offices to finally help the communities that are most affected by the climate emergency and environmental injustice.
“In our environmental enforcement efforts, we will prioritize the cases that will have the greatest impact on the communities most overburdened by environmental harm,” he said. He continued, “communities of color, indigenous communities, and low-income communities often bear the brunt of the harm caused by environmental crime, pollution and climate change.”
The EOJ will be headed by Cynthia Ferguson, an experienced Department of Justice Environment and Natural Resources Division attorney with more than a decade of experience with environmental justice issues. We hope that this new office will jump-start efforts to help communities like Flint and the West Calumet housing complex in East Chicago that have been disproportionately affected.
Sign this petition to protect community activists who expose the EPA’s environmental racism and sign this petition to demand the EPA gives justice to poor and minority communities that have been affected.
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