The Biden administration plans to allocate $2 billion to support environmental cleanup and clean energy development in disadvantaged communities. This initiative, considered the largest-ever investment in environmental justice, aims to transform polluted areas into healthy and resilient communities.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan (pictured above) described the grant program as groundbreaking. The funding, authorized by a comprehensive climate law signed by President Joe Biden, targets poor and minority communities that face challenges in accessing federal resources.

Regan, the first Black man to lead the EPA, has prioritized environmental justice. Regan has embarked on a “Journey to Justice” tour, visiting underserved areas in the South, Appalachia, and Alaska.

In line with his commitment to environmental justice, President Biden established the White House Office of Environmental Justice through an executive order in April.

The EPA has launched a grant program overseen by the Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights to address various challenges faced by disadvantaged communities. This program aims to improve climate resiliency, mitigate urban “heat islands” and wildfires, monitor pollution, reduce indoor air toxins, and promote zero-emissions transportation.

According to CTV, approximately 150 community-driven projects will be awarded grants ranging from $10 million to $20 million each. An additional 20 smaller projects funded to enhance community-government communication. Technical assistance grants of about $200 million will also be provided to facilitate access to federal grants.

The EPA has identified five targeted investment areas. These areas include territories, unincorporated communities, Alaskan tribal lands, tribal lands in the lower 48 states, and communities near the Mexican border. Tribal lands in the lower 48 states will receive the largest chunk of funding ($300 million).

Multiple studies have found that minority communities suffer from a less healthy environment than the general population. A recent study published in Nature Human Behavior found that African Americans are over four times more likely to die from long-term exposure to air pollution than White Americans.

Image Source: EPA