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Biden’s New Environmental Justice Plan Makes Strides In the Right Direction but Gaps Remain

WASHINGTON - The Climate Justice Alliance (CJA) is encouraged by former Vice President Joe Biden’s most recent environmental justice plan. His consideration of the tenets of frontline organizations and communities who are leading the climate justice struggle and are working for a Just Transition to regenerative economies is appreciated. 

We are heartened to see the Biden team taking guidance from the landmark Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. Passed in New York state last year, this legislation was made possible by the leadership of frontline organizations and CJA members including the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance (NYCEJA), PUSH Buffalo and UPROSE. Specifically, the commitment to invest 40% of renewable energy investments in frontline communities is a welcomed and needed commitment to these communities that have been historically extracted from and actively harmed. 

"We are grateful the Vice President chose to model his 40% clean energy funding commitment after NYS’s historic Climate & Community Protection Act (CLCPA). Passed just last year, the CLCPA is the most ambitious climate action plan among the 50 states - through NY Renews, environmental justice leaders fought for 4 years to pass this landmark legislation and ensure that adequate clean energy funding finally reaches our disproportionately vulnerable frontline communities. But that is only part of the Just Transition framework we envision.  We look forward to working with the Biden Administration on finally setting the USA on a path to environmental and climate justice - because we all know that justice delayed is justice denied.-Eddie Bautista, Executive Director of NYCEJA

Holding extractive industries like Big Oil and Big Ag cartels responsible for their actions is another necessary next step and part of the justice equation. As such, the Vice President’s intention to hold these industries criminally accountable for decades of crimes against the planet and communities should be applauded and followed through on. 

Nevertheless, CJA still has many questions regarding the Vice President’s plan to: reduce and eliminate the use of fossil fuels and harmful practices like fracking;  increase Energy Democracy and Food Sovereignty; and foster a Just Transition for workers and communities. At this time, the plan is also missing a comprehensive approach to addressing Indigenous Sovereignty, including Free, Prior and Informed Consent. We look forward to attaining these answers in an effort to build off of what is otherwise a satisfactory plan that shows progress and great steps in the right direction. 

“The member organizations of CJA have developed and implemented solutions for some time and we are looking to elected officials for support in scaling them out. We’re hopeful that the Biden team continues to progress and build off of this platform in an effort to center, address, and dismantle the myriad forms of injustice that adversely impact our people and communities.” -Angela Mahecha Adrar, CJA Executive Director

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The Climate Justice Alliance (CJA) formed in 2013 to create a new center of gravity in the climate movement by uniting frontline communities and organizations into a formidable force. Our translocal organizing strategy and mobilizing capacity is building a Just Transition away from extractive systems of production, consumption and political oppression, and towards resilient, regenerative and equitable economies. We believe that the process of transition must place race, gender and class at the center of the solutions equation in order to make it a truly Just Transition.

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