President-elect Joe Biden campaigned on the most ambitious environmental justice plan ever offered by the nominee of a major political party. His Build Back Better agenda included a commitment to invest 40 percent of his $2 trillion clean energy plan into communities living on the front lines of poverty and pollution.
At the same time, his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, co-authored the Climate Equity Act with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), outlining ways the next administration can operationalize environmental justice across the agencies. After a summer of historic protests that saw some 15 million to 26 million people take to the streets to take a stand against racial injustice in policing, it’s almost certain that the incoming Biden administration will take bold action to address the intersecting crises of environmental pollution and racial inequality.
But this mandate for anti-racist policy raises a question: How, in the first place, will a Biden administration identify the most polluted and impoverished communities across the country?
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