Some environmental-justice advocates have been pushing the White House to make their cause a bigger part of President Obama’s second-term climate plan, and now they’re being joined by members of Congress.
While lauding the “Climate Action Plan” to address global warming, Progressive Caucus Cochairs Keith Ellison and Raul Grijalva ask in a letter to be sent to Obama “that the CAP explicitly address the unique environmental justice concerns of low-income, minority, indigenous, and Native American communities across the country.”
The Democrats write in the letter, shared with National Journal, that “climate change compounds existing inequities. Droughts, floods, wildfires, and extreme weather events increase the vulnerability of people living in areas with limited climate resiliency — communities with poor air quality, unsafe housing, and insufficient resources to plan, prepare and recover from extreme weather.” The lawmakers also note how climate change affects public health for people living in poor and minority communities.
Some environmental activists have been concerned that Obama’s climate plan unveiled last June doesn’t address environmental justice concerns more specifically; a whitehouse.gov petition to that effect expired in late 2013 because it didn’t meet the signature threshold.
This month marks the 20th anniversary of President Clinton’s executive order on “Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations.” It requires federal agencies to identify and address how their policies may create adverse human health or environmental effects for those communities.
On the anniversary of Clinton’s signing, Obama issued a proclamation that highlights the work of his administration in reconvening the Environmental Justice Interagency Working Group after 10 years of inaction, and efforts to reduce pollution on tribal lands. Obama also pledged to cut carbon emissions and develop domestic clean energy for the good of “overburdened communities.”
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Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
“We haven’t seen a true leftist since FDR, so many millions are coming out of the woodwork to vote for Bernie Sanders; he is the Occupy movement now come to life in the political arena.” So says Bill Maher in his Hollywood Reporter cover story (more a stream-of-consciousness riff than an essay, actually). Conservative states may never vote for a socialist in the general election, but “this stuff has never been on the table, and these voters have never been activated.” Maher saves most of his bile for Donald Trump and Sarah Palin, writing that by nominating Palin as vice president “John McCain is the one who opened the Book of the Dead and let the monsters out.” And Trump is picking up where Palin left off.