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At EJHA, we stand for environmental justice for all!

White House Equity Screening Tool Aims to Steer Justice40 Funds

November 22, 2022

Environmental justice advocates generally embraced the tool’s release, though they expressed the broad expectation that the administration needs to refine the mapping effort in future iterations.“There is more work to do, but this is a positive step in the administration’s work to advance environmental justice for all,” said Richard Moore, co-coordinator of the Los Jardines Institute in Albuquerque, N.M., and a co-chair of the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council. The CEQ screening tool—which draws from other environmental equity mapping efforts long in use by the EPA and states such as California, Michigan, Maryland, and New Mexico—are key to President Joe Biden’s Justice40 effort to steer 40% of the benefits of climate, clean energy, affordable housing, and other investments to disadvantaged communities.

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Improvements to the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool are responsive to Environmental Justice community concerns

November 22, 2022

The CEQ today announced that Version 1.0 of the CEJST includes nine new datasets that expand its criteria for disadvantage, and now capture projected climate risk, lack of indoor plumbing, linguistic isolation, redlining data, legacy pollution, and water pollution. These added indicators help the tool better identify farmworker communities, who often experience unsafe housing conditions, and communities who experience environmental injustices due to the legacy of racist public policy. The CEJST also identifies lands that are within the boundaries of Federally Recognized Tribes and locations of Alaska Native Villages as disadvantaged communities. These improvements to the CEJST directly incorporate several of our recommendations, and reassure us that the CEQ is laying out a more transparent, iterative and democratic process for identifying communities eligible for Justice40 benefits.

 

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The next Farm Bill can only be “climate-smart” if it reduces agricultural reliance on pesticides, says diverse coalition

November 16, 2022

Today, 50 organizations sent a public letter to the House Agriculture Committee and the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, calling for a transformative 2023 Farm Bill. They urged the legislators to incentivize reductions in pesticide use, include provisions to protect farmworker health, and increase funding and research for organic and regenerative farming, representing fenceline communities, food system workers and farmworkers, family farmers, businesses, scientists, and environmental health and justice organizations.The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that global agriculture contributes 34% of the greenhouse gas emissions responsible for climate change, but the Farm Bill has not explicitly addressed climate change since 1990. An estimated 1 billion pounds of pesticides, manufactured from fossil fuel feedstocks, are used on United States farms each year. The next Farm Bill could decrease agricultural carbon emissions by incentivizing farmers to reduce reliance on pesticides, in favor of regenerative, climate-resilient practices such as certified organic farming, the letter states.

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CEQ Urged To Set Clearer Metrics For Scoring Agencies’ Justice40 Progress

November 11, 2022

The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) is being roundly urged to set clearer metrics and be more transparent in the scorecard it is developing to track EPA and other agencies’ progress implementing the Biden administration’s Justice40 initiative, with dozens of groups submitting comments in response to CEQ’s August request for information (RFI).

“For the Scorecard to be transparent and meaningful, CEQ must clearly define the primary metrics by which success will be measured,” and these should include “reductions in pollution and improvement in health and quality of life,” Coming Clean and the Environmental Justice Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform say in joint Nov. 3 comments.

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The Environmental Justice Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform is a national network of grassroots Environmental and Economic Justice organizations and advocates in communities that are disproportionately impacted by toxic chemicals from legacy contamination, ongoing exposure to polluting facilities and health-harming chemicals in household products. EJHA supports a just transition towards safer chemicals and a pollution-free economy that leaves no community or worker behind. The EJHA network model features leadership of, by, and for Environmental Justice groups with support from additional allied groups and individual experts.

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