Race is the number one indicator of whether or not you live near a polluting facility.
Yet, even though this statistic is well known, race has been unsurprisingly entirely left out as an indicator of the Council on Environmental Quality’s new Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool due to the threat of legal challenges. The tool is an essential step in helping the government determine, and then direct, billions of federal dollars for climate and clean energy programs towards disadvantaged communities as part of President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative.
Justice40 is a historic government commitment to delivering at least 40% of overall federal climate and clean energy benefits to disadvantaged communities. However, in its current state, the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool doesn’t explicitly account for indicators like race and doesn’t provide a cumulative way to evaluate any given communities eligibility for government funds.
That is why we are asking the CEQ to ensure that the tool can still prioritize communities of color using the other chosen metrics. Failure to do so will almost certainly leave the disadvantaged communities — those impacted first and worst by pollution and climate change — to be left out of luck and out of consideration for the billions of climate dollars.
Sign the petition to urge the CEQ to follow California’s lead and conduct a race/ethnicity analysis to ensure that federal funding goes to the communities that have been historically underserved and overburdened.
While the tool considers 21 different indicators of environmental and economic burdens, it does not consider their cumulative effects. On their own, the indicators may suggest the necessity of a given community. Still, it isn’t until the combination of environmental, health, and socioeconomic factors are evaluated holistically that the CEQ will be able to determine the environmental and climate effects on any specific community.
Cumulative consideration and transparency around how race compares to the current map are the only way we ensure the most disadvantaged communities see the Justice40 funds. Any other method denies the harsh realities of what it is to live in a lower-income, Black or Brown community in America.
Sign the petition. Together, we can ensure this historic initiative actually makes a difference for the communities that need it most.