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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The Senate voted on Wednesday 72-26 on a bill to fund the government through Dec. 9, averting a looming shutdown. The legislation will now go to the House, where it could be voted on as early as Wednesday. After this legislation is approved by the House, Congress will recess until the lame-duck session following elections.
"Congress voted Wednesday to override President Obama for the first time in his eight-year tenure, as the House followed the Senate in rejecting a veto of legislation allowing families of terrorist victims to sue Saudi Arabia. The House easily cleared the two-thirds threshold to push back against the veto. The final tally was 348-77, with 18 Republicans and 59 Democrats voting no."
Hyperbole alert! Following the Senate's decision to override President Obama's veto of a bill that would allow 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia in U.S. court, the White House has responded forcefully, specifically White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest. "I would venture to say that this is the single most embarrassing thing that the United States Senate has done, possibly, since 1983," Earnest said on Air Force One. The House is likely to follow suit in overriding Obama's veto when it takes up the vote.
Two weeks after a massive stroke, Nobel Peace Prize winner and former president and prime minister of Israel Shimon Peres passed away late Tuesday night. In a political, military, and diplomatic career that lasted nearly 70 years, Peres was influential both in building up the formidable strength of the Israeli military and in seeking to negotiate lasting peace with Israel's many neighboring Arab countries. Within hours of the announcement of his death, both condolences and tributes began pouring in, including from former President Bill Clinton, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, and former United Kingdom Prime Minister Tony Blair.