July 20, 2021

Duckworth Applauds White House’s Justice40 Interim Guidance Prioritizing Environmental Justice Communities


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] —U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), co-founder of the U.S. Senate’s first-ever Environmental Justice Caucus, today issued the following statement after the White House Council on Environmental Quality issued the Justice40 Initiative’s Interim Guidance for all federal agencies:

“For generations our most toxic, polluting industries have been located next door to Black, Brown, Indigenous and low-income communities at the expense of their health, and these communities have been ignored by too many in power when it comes to development as well as implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies,” said Senator Duckworth, one of the founding members of the first-ever U.S. Senate Environmental Justice Caucus. “President Biden’s Justice 40 Interim Guidance today is a necessary and critical first step that will help us make significant strides on our path toward true environmental justice for all by helping federal agencies reexamine their processes, programs and practices relating to disadvantaged communities. This new guidance shows that the President is listening to the needs of these communities and will keep making environmental justice a centerpiece of his Administration. I look forward to continuing our work with President Biden to conduct oversight of the implementation of this guidance and secure critical federal funding for these communities.”

The Biden Administration’s Justice40 Initiative aims to steer 40 percent of environmental investments to disadvantaged communities.

Earlier this year, Duckworth introduced the Environmental Justice for All Act, sweeping legislation that would help achieve healthy equity and climate justice for all, particularly underserved communities and communities of color that have long been disproportionately harmed by environmental injustices and toxic pollutants. Duckworth also helped U.S. Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) and Congresswoman Cori Bush (D-MO-01) announce the introduction of legislation that would create and authorize funding for a system to comprehensively identify the demographic factors, environmental burdens, socioeconomic conditions and public health concerns that are related to environment justice and collect high-quality data. During a hearing, Duckworth secured a commitment from then-EPA nominee Michael Regan to prioritize environmental justice and joined U.S. Senators Booker and Carper in applauding the environmental justice efforts in President Biden’s climate action plan. Duckworth also joined Durbin and Congresswoman Robin Kelly (D-IL-02) in requesting a review of the health risks associated with emissions from a metal recycling plant located on Chicago’s Southeast Side.

In April 2019, U.S. Senators Duckworth, Booker and Carper co-founded the Senate’s first-ever Environmental Justice Caucus to raise awareness of the many environmental and pollution issues that have created public health challenges, which disproportionately impact low income communities and communities of color. The Caucus seeks to help those communities advocate for themselves with the federal government by providing expertise and assistance, generating legislation and organizing hearings and events.