Biden Administration Opens Environmental Justice Office in N Carolina

Biden Administration Opens Environmental Justice Office in N Carolina

Warren County, North Carolina is widely considered the birthplace of the environmental justice movement. On Saturday, the top environment official working for Vice President Joe Biden launched a national office in the county, which is located in the state of North Carolina.

On Saturday, the senior environment official working for President Biden revealed the establishment of a national agency that will be responsible for the distribution of USD 3 billion in the form of block grants to disadvantaged regions that are afflicted by pollution. This comes forty years after a community in Warren County, North Carolina, that is mainly black staged a protest against the location of hazardous waste disposal.

Michael Regan, the first Black administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, made an announcement regarding his intention to devote a new level of senior leadership to the environmental justice movement during a press conference that was attended by civil rights leaders and protesters from the 1982 uprisings. The press conference was held in honour of the anniversary of the uprisings. To manage the USD 60 billion in environmental justice activities that will be funded by the Democrats’ Inflation Reduction Act, the Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights will be formed, which will consist of more than 200 current employees spread across 10 regions of the United States.

An assistant administrator, who will be nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate, will be in charge of the new office when it is established. In an interview, Regan stated that in the past, the funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was so small that many of our regions were forced to compete with one another for exceedingly meagre subsidies.

Biden Administration Opens Environmental Justice Office in N Carolina

We are transitioning from a programme that distributed tens of thousands to one that will distribute billions of dollars. However, we will also make certain that financing is provided to those individuals who are most deserving of it, especially those individuals whose voices have never been heard before.

Biden has made environmental justice a primary focus of his climate strategy ever since he took office and signed an executive order promising low-income areas that are disproportionately impacted by pollution that they will receive forty per cent of the total benefits that will accrue from specific government clean energy projects.

Environmental justice will be elevated to the same status as the EPA’s other top offices (air, land, and water) and permanently enshrined as the agency’s guiding principles, according to Regan, who is in charge of the new office that will be established within the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

In 1978, Warren County, a predominantly black farming community located in the southern corner of North Carolina, close to the state line with Virginia, was selected as a disposal site for truckloads of soil that were contaminated with highly carcinogenic chemical compounds. Because of this, gradually the water became contaminated.

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In 1982, when the first garbage trucks were driving through town on their way to the dump, hundreds of residents crowded the streets to watch them pass. They tried to shut down the operation through nonviolent demonstrations for a period of six weeks which resulted in over 500 arrests; nevertheless, they were unsuccessful. However, civil rights organisations have lauded their work as the impetus for a global uprising against environmental racism in minority communities. This uprising was sparked by their activities.

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