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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Just after President Obama finished his address to the DNC, Hillary Clinton walked out on stage to join him, so the better could share a few embraces, wave to the crowd—and let the cameras capture all the unity for posterity.
In a speech that began a bit like a State of the Union address, President Obama said the "country is stronger and more prosperous than it was" when he took office eight years ago. He then talked of battling Hillary Clinton for the nomination in 2008, and discovering her "unbelievable work ethic," before saying that no one—"not me, not Bill"—has ever been more qualified to be president. When his first mention of Donald Trump drew boos, he quickly admonished the crowd: "Don't boo. Vote." He then added that Trump is "not really a plans guy. Not really a facts guy, either."
Tim Kaine introduced himself to the nation tonight, devoting roughly the first half of his speech to his own story (peppered with a little of his fluent Spanish) before pivoting to Hillary Clinton—and her opponent. "Hillary Clinton has a passion for children and families," he said. "Donald Trump has a passion, too: himself." His most personal line came after noting that his son Nat just deployed with his Marine battalion. "I trust Hillary Clinton with our son's life," he said.
Michael Bloomberg said he wasn't appearing to endorse any party or agenda. He was merely there to support Hillary Clinton. "I don't believe that either party has a monopoly on good ideas or strong leadership," he said, before enumerating how he disagreed with both the GOP and his audience in Philadelphia. "Too many Republicans wrongly blame immigrants for our problems, and they stand in the way of action on climate change and gun violence," he said. "Meanwhile, many Democrats wrongly blame the private sector for our problems, and they stand in the way of action on education reform and deficit reduction." Calling Donald Trump a "dangerous demagogue," he said, "I'm a New Yorker, and a know a con when I see one."
Vice President Biden tonight called President Obama "one of the finest presidents we have ever had" before launching into a passionate defense of Hillary Clinton. "Everybody knows she's smart. Everybody knows she's tough. But I know what she's passionate about," he said. "There's only one person in this race who will help you. ... It's not just who she is; it's her life story." But he paused to train some fire on her opponent "That's not Donald Trump's story," he said. "His cynicism is unbounded. ... No major party nominee in the history of this country has ever known less."