The new executive order, titled Revitalizing our nation’s commitment to environmental justice for all, was signed on Friday, April 21. The EO was developed with the assistance of the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council (WHEJAC), of which five members are Indigenous. The EO includes commitments to incorporate environmental justice into the missions and activities of all executive branch agencies; strengthen engagement and protection of overburdened communities; improve and promote relevant science, including Indigenous Knowledge; and expand interagency coordination and accountability in environmental justice policy.
In addition to the EO, the Biden-Harris administration announced the publishing of the first Environmental Justice Scorecard assessing federal agencies’ efforts to advance environmental justice; a new campaign to improve partnerships with communities; a national strategy from the EPA on preventing plastic pollution; among other expansions of prior commitments.
From the executive order (EO 14096):
“The Federal Government must also continue to respect Tribal sovereignty and support self-governance by ensuring that Tribal Nations are consulted on Federal policies that have Tribal implications. In doing so, we must recognize, honor, and respect the different cultural practices — including subsistence practices, ways of living, Indigenous Knowledge, and traditions — in communities across America. As our Nation reaffirms our commitment to environmental justice, the Federal Government must continue to be transparent about, and accountable for, its actions.”