Chairwoman Maloney, Senator Markey, and Reps. Khanna, Bush, Tlaib Lead Colleagues in Urging Biden Admin. to Strengthen Commitment to Environmental Justice

Sep 6, 2022
Press Release
60 lawmakers call on Administration to strengthen Justice40 commitment to ensure Inflation Reduction Act’s climate, clean energy investments are directed to frontline communities

Washington (September 6, 2022) – Today, Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Chair of the Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Clean Air, Climate, and Nuclear Safety, Rep. Ro Khanna (CA-17), Chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee’s Subcommittee on Environment, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), Vice Chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee’s Subcommittee on Environment, and Oversight Committee Member Rep. Cori Bush (MO-01) led their colleagues in a letter to the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Office of Domestic Climate Policy urging them to strengthen the Biden-Harris Administration’s implementation of the Justice40 Initiative, to deliver at least 40 percent of the overall benefits from the federal government’s investments in climate and clean energy to disadvantaged communities. Justice40 implementation is even more critical after President Biden signed into law the Inflation Reduction Act, which will provide $60 billion to remediate environmental injustice, as well as the ongoing deployment of $350 billion in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding to support more equitable federal, state, and local infrastructure projects.  

The lawmakers wrote, “To maximize benefits and correct for chronic underinvestment, we strongly recommend that implementation guidance clarify that the Initiative’s 40% target is a funding floor, not a ceiling.  We also recommend that the guidance apply this target to investments in disadvantaged communities, not only to overall benefits in such communities. Direct investments are the clearest path to achieve a flow of at least 40% of benefits to the intended communities, as well as to ensure Justice40’s accountable, long-term success.”

The letter continued, “We strongly support the Administration’s efforts to direct funding and resources to communities to redress discrimination, fight pollution, and cut emissions in support of President Biden’s climate, environmental justice, and equity goals.”

The lawmakers urged the Administration to:


  1. Consider the 40 percent Justice40 goal to be a “floor” and not a “ceiling” of direct investments to disadvantaged communities.

  2. Ensure programs covered by Justice40 “do no harm” in disadvantaged communities by either increasing pollution or greenhouse gas emissions.

  3. Ensure programs covered by Justice40 offer good jobs with good benefits, with a focus on members of disadvantaged communities in hiring.

  4. Establish a Climate Justice and Equity Office at OMB to centralize its responsibilities to oversee a “whole-of-government approach” to Justice40.

Senators Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and Representatives Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44), Jamaal Bowman, Ed.D. (NY-16), Shontel M. Brown  (OH-11), André Carson (IN-07), Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (FL-20), Yvette D. Clarke (NY-11), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Gerry Connolly (VA-11), Danny K. Davis (IL-7), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11), Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Lloyd Doggett (TX-35), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Dwight Evans (PA-02), Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), Raúl Grijalva (AZ-03), Jared Huffman (CA-02), Sara Jacobs (CA-53), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Henry C. "Hank" Johnson, Jr. (GA-04), Mondaire Jones (NY-17), Brenda L. Lawrence (MI-14), Al Lawson (FL-05), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), Stephen F. Lynch (MA-08), Donald McEachin (VA-04), James P. McGovern (MA-02), Grace Meng (NY-06), Kweisi Mfume (MD-07), Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Katie Porter (CA-45), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE), Linda T. Sánchez (CA-38), John Sarbanes (MD-03), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03), Adam Smith (WA-09), Melanie Stansbury (NM-01), Mark Takano (CA-41), Bennie Thompson (MS-02), Juan Vargas (CA-51), Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-07), Maxine Waters (CA-43), and John Yarmuth (KY-03) joined the letter.


The lawmakers’ efforts include key environmental justice asks of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Executive Action Agenda, and the letter is supported by leading environmental justice groups including Indivisible, United Frontline Table, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, Climate Justice Alliance, WE ACT for Environmental Justice, Sierra Club, Green New Deal Network, Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition, Center for Economic Democracy, People’s Justice Council, Alabama Interfaith Power and Light, Ironbound Community Corporation, People's Action, MoveOn, California Green New Deal Coalition, Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy, Clean Energy Group, and Sunrise Movement.


Read a copy of the letter HERE.



117th Congress