Climate activists: Biden should take these steps if elected

Source: By Adam Aton, E&E News reporter • Posted: Thursday, July 23, 2020

The Frontlines Climate Justice Executive Action Platform aims to make climate policy more equitable without new congressional authorizations or appropriations. The framework was developed by Demos, the progressive think tank and advocacy group, and endorsed by 115 climate and progressive organizations.

Its goals are to end hot spots of concentrated pollution, a possible byproduct of some climate regulations; beef up outreach and assessments for vulnerable communities during federal rulemaking and permitting; strengthen tribal input to federal decisions; and boost renewable energy that’s controlled publicly.

For instance, it recommends that Biden establish by executive order a system in the Office of Management and Budget to assess the equity of proposed climate and energy rules and programmatic investments. That system should give front-line communities enhanced review over decisions and the opportunity to modify them, the proposal says.

Biden recently added stronger environmental justice components to his climate plan, including an equity screen for federal decisions and a commitment to direct 40% of his plan’s clean energy and infrastructure benefits to disadvantaged communities.

Activists want him to go further. Varshini Prakash, the Sunrise Movement co-founder who helped Biden rewrite his climate plan, said the former vice president should heed these ideas.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), considered a contender to be Biden’s running mate, praised the proposed executive actions as a remedy to longtime injustices.

“This deadly pandemic has put a spotlight on the overwhelming inequities in our healthcare, economic and environmental protection systems — inequities that have plagued communities of color for far too long,” she said in a statement.

“I’m pleased to see so many groups coming together to support the Frontlines Climate Justice Platform to lay out a path forward that a President could take through executive actions that help address decades of injustice while helping our nation respond to the Climate Crisis,” the senator said.

The Sunrise Movement, Greenpeace, the Hip Hop Caucus,, the Center for Biological Diversity, Data for Progress, Friends of the Earth U.S., the Indigenous Environmental Network, MoveOn, Oil Change U.S., the Rainforest Action Network and the Working Families Party are among the groups backing the proposal.