Interior Department Takes Steps to Strengthen Environmental Justice Initiatives


Listening sessions will help inform development of new Environmental Justice Strategic Plan

Date: Monday, November 13, 2023

WASHINGTON — The Department of the Interior today announced that it will hold three listening sessions and invite public comment to inform the development of the Department’s Environmental Justice Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan will support President Biden’s Executive Order on Revitalizing Our Nation’s Commitment to Environmental Justice for All, which calls on federal agencies to develop a vision, goals, priority actions, and metrics to address and advance environmental justice across America.

“Environmental justice is at the heart of the Interior Department’s efforts to tackle the climate crisis, advance a clean energy economy, clean up legacy pollution, strengthen Indian Country, and increase access to the outdoors,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “For far too long, communities in every corner of America – particularly communities of color and poor communities – have been marginalized and ignored, creating dangerous and pervasive environmental injustices. The Department is committed to listening to all Americans and correcting these historic wrongs.”

Since Day One of the Biden-Harris administration, the Department has worked to develop programs, policies, and activities that address long-standing environmental injustices and ensure that all communities, including marginalized and overburdened communities have greater input on and can access benefits from federal policies and decisions. These efforts include advancing the Justice40 initiative, cleaning up legacy pollution, and making America’s public lands and waters more accessible and inclusive.

The Biden-Harris administration has mobilized an all-of-government approach to advance environmental justice. Along with implementing President Biden’s Executive Order on environmental justice, the Department has partnered with agencies across the federal government to develop a strategy to address current and historic environmental injustices and ensure accountability, as called for in President Biden’s Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad.

As part of efforts to increase equitable access to the outdoors, including in urban areas, the Department recently announced nearly $22 million in funding through the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership program for the redevelopment or creation of new local parks in Alaska, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina and Virginia. The Department also announced the launch of a nationwide tour to hear directly from local communities on the need for greater access to the outdoors, and a funding opportunity of more than $224 million in grant funding for next year for the creation of new parks and trails, or substantial renovations to existing parks in communities across the United States.

In addition to providing input during the listening sessions, the public may provide written comments to the Department via email or hard copy. More information can be found on the Office of Environmental Policy & Compliance’s Environmental Justice webpage.

Input received through the listening sessions and public comment will inform the Department’s Environmental Justice Steering Committee, comprised of representatives from the Department’s bureaus and offices, as they develop the draft Environmental Justice Strategic Plan. More information on the Biden-Harris administration’s strategic planning to advance environmental justice efforts are available here.


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