What Biden could learn from Bill Clinton's unfinished work on environmental justice
Mar 3, 2021
Environmental justice isn’t just a buzzword or hashtag for Dr. Beverly Wright — it’s what helps her get out of bed every morning. For the last 35 years, fighting for her Louisiana community’s access to a healthy and safe environment has been her mission, and it’s put her in rooms with the last three Democratic presidents.
Wright’s federal advocacy began in the early 1990s, when she worked on the country’s first executive order focused on environmental justice, which then-President Bill Clinton signed in 1994. Executive Order 12898, or EO 12898, instructed federal agencies to pursue environmental justice policies that would limit the “disproportionately high and adverse” effects of environmental harms on low-income communities and people of color, who are more likely to be burdened by issues like high pollution rates and contaminated water sources. The order also empowered the federal Environmental Justice Advisory Council, which was two years old at the time, to influence the priorities of the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA. Read more