EPA’s Environmental Justice Policy “Fundamentally Flawed”

The Environmental Protection Agency’s new strategic plan is “fundamentally flawed,” writes Project 21 member Derrick Hollie in a Washington Times commentary,

Project 21 has submitted a public comment opposing the EPA’s attempt to instill “environmental justice” into government policymaking in the pursuit of “equity” as an agency principle.

“Tying things like regulation, grantmaking and permitting to the theoretical long-term ‘social cost‘ of emissions and statistical ‘disparities‘ – without authorization or input from Congress,” Derrick warns, “creates a playground for a politicized civil service that’s pushing an agenda.”

Derrick also points out how troublesome it is that environmental justice and critical race theory have ‘strong ties’ to each other:

Equitable, government-mandated social outcomes with selected beneficiaries and alleged systemic perpetrators are a shared goal of these controversial schemes. But, in picking winners and losers, the green lobby has pushed the government to side with the people, parties and policies that have not helped minorities in the ways they were advertised.

As an example of how environmental justice policy goals actually harm black communities, Derrick points to President Joe Biden’s opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline. By helping to kill the pipeline, Biden “actually deprived blue-collar Americans – many of them minorities – of good-paying jobs in and around the energy industry.” And, in kneecapping America’s energy independence, Biden also created a scenario in which families are more likely “to struggle with energy poverty, which forces them to spend more of their meager financial resources on necessities like heat and light.”

One of the EPA’s environmental justice priorities is the installation of electric vehicle charging stations in “underserved” communities. But this alleged “solution” creates problems. It has the potential to make parking in urban areas even worse to make room for reserved charging spots for Teslas, whose cost is much less than most annual household incomes of residents.

“Jobs can help these households, improve their living conditions and help families realize their full potential as they rise up the socioeconomic ladder,” Derrick asserts. “That should be the EPA’s strategic goal.”

He adds:

If the EPA were to address the needs of people directly affected by environmental justice policies, the strategic plan would be much different. Focus on the impact of regulations. Respondents to an April 2021 TIPP Poll enthusiastically supported the basis for a recommendation in Project 21’s “Blueprint for a Better Deal for Black America” that new regulations undergo a “minority impact assessment” to ensure they don’t overburden at-risk communities. Keep red tape from affecting job creation, wealth accumulation and other kitchen-table concerns. While 72 percent overall endorsed this check on new regulation, polling in communities considered low-income and liberal supported such a safeguard by 75%!

“Environmental justice as it is laid out in the Biden EPA’s strategic plan weaponizes the bureaucracy,” Derrick concludes. “It pits communities and people against each other. It sows discontent and distrust – placing political gains over clean-up goals.”

To read all of Derrick’s commentary – “EPA’s ‘Environmental Justice’ Plan Fails to Address Black Community Needs” – at the Washington Times website, click here.

Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives for over 25 years, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research. Its members have been quoted, interviewed or published over 40,000 times since the program was created in 1992. Contributions to the National Center are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated, and may be earmarked exclusively for the use of Project 21.