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According to Project 21 member Derrick Hollie, the only way to describe the Environmental Protection Agency’s new strategic plan is “fundamentally flawed.”
In a Washington Times commentary, Derrick panned the EPA’s new policy path. Project 21 has submitted a public comment against the agency’s attempt to instill “environmental justice” into the 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 warned, “creates a playground for a politicized civil service that’s pushing an agenda.”
Derrick also pointed out how troublesome it is that environmental justice and critical race theory have “strong ties”:
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 harms black communities, Derrick pointed 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 be forced “to struggle with energy poverty, which forces them to spend more of their meager financial resources on necessities like heat and light.”
An environmental justice priority is for electric vehicle charging stations in “underserved” communities. But this is an alleged solution that 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 asserted. “That should be the EPA’s strategic goal.”
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 concluded. “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.
Author: David Almasi