The Biden administration claims the EO will improve the lives of communities hit hardest by toxic pollution and so-called climate change. A new office within the White House, the Office of Environmental Justice, will be established to coordinate environmental justice efforts across the government. (Related: There is no climate emergency: Around 1,500 scientists and professionals oppose net-zero CO2 policy.)
"We vowed to take action on the most ambitious climate environmental justice agenda in American history and that's exactly what we did," said Biden to environmental activists, lawmakers and other guests before signing the EO in the Rose Garden at the White House. "This is about people's health. It's about the health of our communities. It's about the future of our planet."
The EO also requires all federal agencies to notify nearby communities about releases of toxic substances from federal facilities and will direct agencies to directly engage with communities, including those on tribal lands.
The order also requires federal agencies to conduct new assessments of their own environmental justice efforts. These reports will be made public through a new scorecard system that will help measure the government's progress on environmental issues.
Lastly, the EO directs federal agencies to consider and prevent potentially disproportionate impacts of environmental and health harms on poor and non-White communities. This requires agencies to consult with historically excluded communities and "actively facilitate meaningful public participation and just treatment of all people in agency decision-making."
The new Office of Environmental Justice will be led by a federal chief environmental justice officer, who will be tasked with coordinating Biden's environmental justice policies across the whole federal government.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called the EO a continuation of what Biden has promised the American people. "One way that you can look at this today is that he's continuing to deliver on that ambition [climate] agenda," she said. "And he's not done yet."
Republicans, businessmen and everyday Americans alike have criticized Biden's proposal, calling it another example of government overreach.
The GOP has introduced H.R. 1, the Lower Energy Costs Act, a wide-ranging piece of legislation that passed the House with bipartisan support that pushes back on Biden's climate agenda. This includes restarting operations on the Keystone XL pipeline, rolling back restrictions on oil and gas development and preventing Biden from banning gas stoves.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said upon the passage of the bill that the Biden administration has "kneecapped American energy production" with "misguided policies" that increase costs for Americans.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called McCarthy's bill "dead on arrival," and Biden has vowed to veto the bill if it ever reached his desk. The White House, in a statement, erroneously described H.R. 1 as "a climate and health disaster" in the making.
Alfredo Ortiz, CEO of the Job Creators Network, commented that all Biden's EO will do is make life more expensive for Americans and small businesses.
"While we all want a clean environment, the Biden administration's environmental executive order is nothing more than a Trojan Horse for radical policies that drive up the cost of traditional energy, which is a major input cost for small businesses," he said.
"During this period of historic inflation, high gas prices and burdensome energy costs, it is time to recommit to unleashing American domestic energy reserves, not imply that traditional energy is racist," added Ortiz.
Other critics have accused Biden's EO of being a "Trojan horse" for introducing more socialist policies in the federal government. Wayne Crews, a fellow at the pro-free market think tank the Competitive Enterprise Institute, called the EO "an abuse of federal power and a serious intrusion into our lives and economic opportunities."
"Joe Biden's new EO is a whopping dollop of massive regulation deceptively packaged as environmental justice," commented Peter Navarro during an episode of his podcast, "Taking Back Trump's America."
Navarro added that it is ironic that Biden will sign an unusually long EO about so-called environmental justice while continuing "to ignore the plight and pleas of the good deplorable folks in East Palestine, Ohio choking on toxic chemicals."
"After a massive train derailment, Biden saw fit to drop this cost-burdensome beast on an economy already choking on various other Biden misfires," he added.
Learn more about the president and his administration's latest policies at JoeBiden.news.
Watch this episode of "Taking Back Trump's America" as host Peter Navarro discusses Biden's latest "environmental justice" executive order.