“We know that we cannot achieve health justice, economic justice, racial justice, or educational justice without environmental justice. That is why President Biden and I are committed to addressing environmental injustice,” - Vice President Kamala Harris

Vice President Kamala Harris and President Joe Biden Walk Together

Federal government approach to environmental justice

The Biden-Harris Administration is focused on addressing the long-standing disproportionate environmental harm on communities through a whole-of-government approach to environmental justice. In January 2021, President Biden signed Executive Order 14008 on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, launching the most ambitious environmental justice agenda ever undertaken by the Federal government.

Executive Order 14008 recognizes that all Americans deserve to live in healthy, thriving communities, but, in fact, too many people lack access to safe places to live, work, play, grow, and learn. Building on the foundational efforts of Executive Order 12898 on Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations, Executive Order 14008 established several brand-new environmental justice initiatives involving the Department of Labor (DOL), including:

  • The White House Environmental Justice Interagency Council (IAC), an inter-governmental body comprised of the heads of key Federal agencies (including the Secretary of Labor) that seeks to advance environmental justice across the Biden-Harris Administration and is developing strategies to address current and historic environmental injustice.
  • The government-wide Justice40 Initiative, which aims to provide 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain Federal investments to disadvantaged communities who are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened.
Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh with a group of people holding "Job Corps" signs.

The Department of Labor recognizes the historic impact climate and environmental burdens have placed on workers. DOL is committed to advancing environmental justice through equitable investments in workforce development and training.

The Department of Labor’s Justice 40 programs are administered by the Employment and Training Administration and include:

  • The establishment of an Environmental Justice Scorecard, which will track Federal agency performance on environmental justice, including on the Justice40 Initiative. The scorecard will be a way to hold agencies such as DOL accountable for progress on the Justice40 Initiative and for centering environmental justice in our actions.

We want to hear from you. Please contact us with questions and feedback at EnvironmentalJustice@dol.gov.