New Environmental Justice Guide for Federal Agencies | CEQ
Written by Dr. Gallon L. Wyatt Newsom, federal chief environmental justice officer
When President Biden signed Executive Order No. 14096 on Revitalizing our nation’s commitment to environmental justice for allHe called on the federal government to provide clean energy and healthy environments for all, and to recognize, reverse and mitigate the harms caused to those who have suffered from pollution and the cumulative effects of other environmental burdens such as climate change.
To deepen the Biden-Harris Administration’s whole-of-government commitment to clean air, clean water, and healthy communities for all, Executive Order 14096 makes clear that the pursuit of environmental justice is the duty of all executive branch agencies and that federal agencies must be as well. Take action now to integrate this charge into their tasks.
Each agency’s mission is unique, as will the approach each agency takes to demonstrate leadership and promote environmental justice. To support agencies in their work to further integrate environmental justice into the federal DNA and achieve real, measurable progress, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) this week released a playbook for agencies to help develop their strategic plans for environmental justice.
As the first comprehensive environmental justice strategic planning guidance issued by the White House, it serves as a “how-to guide” for agencies as they work to confront long-standing environmental injustices and inequities. It includes planning tools and a template to help agencies develop their strategic plans that will be tailored to each agency’s work.
The Strategic Planning Template for Advancing Environmental Justice brings a new era of transparency, consistency, and accountability to environmental justice by providing agencies with a concrete roadmap for meeting the charges laid out by President Biden in Executive Order 14096. This includes ensuring agencies use specific planning and performance measures that will set the stage for effective implementation for years to come. .
Building on leading practices and recommendations developed by government performance and planning experts, the Playbook encourages agencies to:
- Establish clear goals and define strategies to achieve real and meaningful progress for communities in the short and long term.
- Seek public input and provide opportunities for meaningful engagement, engagement, and tribal consultation in the context of developing environmental justice strategic plans.
- Collaborate with other agencies and integrate core environmental justice objectives with other planning processes, including comprehensive agency-wide strategic plans, to enhance coordination and efficiency.
- Identify quantifiable performance measures and prioritized actions that can be tracked to help achieve the agency’s environmental justice goals.
Effective strategic planning promotes accountability and transparency – for agencies and the public. Environmental Justice Strategic Plans will be submitted to CEQ and made available to the public. This playbook also highlights the value of federal agencies using specific performance metrics to follow recommendations from the U.S. Government Accountability Office to assess, track, and measure progress in achieving their environmental justice goals.
The playbook will help realize the far-reaching parts of President Biden’s vision of environmental justice for all — so that every person breathes clean air, drinks clean water, and lives in a healthy community. It is an essential step to achieving measurable and meaningful results for communities with environmental justice concerns across the country and ensuring that the federal government works for the benefit of all people.