"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 advance environmental justice.

This Administration has prioritized environmental justice, recently creating a permanent office under the Council of Environmental Quality and expanded the interagency team to implement environmental justice and equity through Executive Order 14096 of April 2023, Revitalizing Our Nation's Commitment to Environmental Justice for All.

In January 2021, President Biden also signed Executive Order 14008, Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, launching the most ambitious environmental justice agenda ever undertaken by the Federal government. It 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.

The Biden-Harris Administration is building on the foundational efforts of Executive Order 12898, Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations.

The Biden-Harris Administration has 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 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 hundreds of Federal investments, including in training and workforce development, to disadvantaged communities who are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened. The Department of Labor's current Justice40 programs are administered by the Employment and Training Administration:

The Environmental Justice Scorecard, will track Federal agency performance on benefitting disadvantaged communities. Future versions of the Environmental Justice Scorecard will build on a baseline assessment. The Phase One Scorecard reports on the progress in three areas:

  • Advancing the President's Justice40 Initiative
  • Implementing and enforcing environmental and civil rights laws
  • Embedding environmental justice throughout the federal government

A new mapping tool, the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool (CJEST), helps identify communities, in all the US and territories, that are marginalized, burdened, and underinvested.  The CEJST was developed to ensure the benefits of certain Federal investments reach communities that need them most.

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.

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