DOD, DHS Among Agencies Dedicated To Environmental Justice
Though it is unrelated to their mission, the Department of Defense, Homeland Security, Commerce and Housing are among the federal agencies that will focus on helping minorities get green under an Obama Administration plan that aims to bring “environmental justice” to poor and underserved communities nationwide.The effort was launched by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last fall and the agency has doled out millions of dollars in “environmental justice grants” to dozens of leftwing groups, including some dedicated to helping illegal immigrants. Earlier this year the administration dedicated an additional $7 million to study how pollution, stress and social factors affect “poor and underserved communities.”The goal is to help low-income populations obtain the same degree of protection from health and environmental hazards as wealthy communities. The organizations that receive U.S. tax dollars reportedly teach black, Latino and indigenous folks how to recycle, reduce carbon emissions through “weatherization” and participate in “green jobs” training.As if it weren’t bad enough that millions of dollars have already gone to this initiative, the president is further wasting valuable taxpayer resources by forcing other federal agencies, most with unrelated duties, to participate. Besides the previously mentioned, the Department of Education, Veterans Affairs, Agriculture, Transportation, Justice, Health and Labor have all been forced to develop “environmental justice strategies to protect the health of people living in communities overburdened by population.”This week the agencies signed an official Memorandum of Understanding on Environmental Justice outlining some of their new duties. Under the agreement the agencies will make environmental justice part of their mission and they will provide the public with annual progress reports on their efforts. In a written statement, the Obama Administration proclaims that it’s the latest effort to address the inequities that may be present in some communities.Obama’s EPA administrator, Lisa Jackson, has promised to bring minorities environmental justice since getting appointed, saying that all too often they live in the shadows of our society’s worst pollution and, as a result, face disproportionate health impacts and greater obstacles to economic growth. She assures that every agency has a “unique and important role to play in ensuring that all communities receive the health and environmental protections they deserve.” The broad collaboration will translate into real progress for overburdened communities, according to Jackson.