Environmental justice has found its way into President-elect Joe Biden’s transition plan as a “key consideration” for policy-making, and advocates are cautiously optimistic. And though a divided Congress is likely, they suspect an infrastructure bill — long promised but never delivered under the Trump administration — is a potential avenue for investing in communities that have borne the brunt of pollution and environmental racism.
These “frontline” communities, whose populations are predominantly Black or other people of color, are those that experience the first and worst consequences of climate change and other environmental problems.
The new administration’s ability to allocate 40 percent of clean energy and infrastructure investment benefits to these communities, as Biden called for in his campaign plan, will likely depend on whether Republicans retain control of the Senate following two Jan. 5 runoff elections in Georgia. Even with the potentially split legislature, however, those who have worked alongside Biden’s campaign or in previous administrations are convinced that the president-elect’s best chance to invest in environmental justice is through targeted infrastructure spending.
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