By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to advance environmental justice, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Policy. To fulfill our Nation’s promises of justice, liberty, and equality, every person must have clean air to breathe; clean water to drink; safe and healthy foods to eat; and an environment that is healthy, sustainable, climate-resilient, and free from harmful pollution and chemical exposure. Restoring and protecting a healthy environment — wherever people live, play, work, learn, grow, and worship — is a matter of justice and a fundamental duty that the Federal Government must uphold on behalf of all people.
We must advance environmental justice for all by implementing and enforcing the Nation’s environmental and civil rights laws, preventing pollution, addressing climate change and its effects, and working to clean up legacy pollution that is harming human health and the environment. Advancing environmental justice will require investing in and supporting culturally vibrant, sustainable, and resilient communities in which every person has safe, clean, and affordable options for housing, energy, and transportation. It is also necessary to prioritize building an equitable, inclusive, and sustainable economy that offers economic opportunities, workforce training, and high-quality and well-paying jobs, including union jobs, and facilitating an equitable transition of the workforce as part of a clean energy future. Achieving this vision will also require improving equitable access to parks, tree cover, playgrounds, sports fields, rivers, ponds, beaches, lakes, and all of the benefits provided by nature, including America’s public lands and waters. Pursuing these and other objectives integral to advancing environmental justice can successfully occur only through meaningful engagement and collaboration with underserved and overburdened communities to address the adverse conditions they experience and ensure they do not face additional disproportionate burdens or underinvestment.
We have more work to do to make environmental justice a reality for our Nation, both for today and for the generations that will follow us. Even as many communities in the United States have prospered and thrived in recent decades, many other communities have been left behind. Communities with environmental justice concerns face entrenched disparities that are often the legacy of racial discrimination and segregation, redlining, exclusionary zoning, and other discriminatory land use decisions or patterns. These decisions and patterns may include the placement of polluting industries, hazardous waste sites, and landfills in locations that cause cumulative impacts to the public health of communities and the routing of highways and other transportation corridors in ways that divide neighborhoods. These remnants of discrimination persist today. Communities with environmental justice concerns exist in all areas of the country, including urban and rural areas and areas within the boundaries of Tribal Nations and United States Territories. Such communities are found in geographic locations that have a significant proportion of people who have low incomes or are otherwise adversely affected by persistent poverty or inequality. Such communities are also found in places with a significant proportion of people of color, including individuals who are Black, Latino, Indigenous and Native American, Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander. Communities with environmental justice concerns also include geographically dispersed and mobile populations, such as migrant farmworkers.
Communities with environmental justice concerns experience disproportionate and adverse human health or environmental burdens. These burdens arise from a number of causes, including inequitable access to clean water, clean air, natural places, and resources for other basic human health and environmental needs; the concentration of pollution, hazardous waste, and toxic exposures; and underinvestment in affordable housing that is safe and healthy and in basic infrastructure and services to support such housing, including safe drinking water and effective sewage management. The cumulative impacts of exposure to those types of burdens and other stressors, including those related to climate change and the environment, further disadvantage communities with environmental justice concerns. People in these communities suffer from poorer health outcomes and have lower life expectancies than those in other communities in our Nation. Moreover, gaps in environmental and human health data can conceal these harms from public view, and, in doing so, are themselves a persistent and pernicious driver of environmental injustice.
Nearly three decades after the issuance of Executive Order 12898 of February 11, 1994 (Federal Actions To Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations), the Federal Government must build upon and strengthen its commitment to deliver environmental justice to all communities across America. Our Nation needs an ambitious approach to environmental justice that is informed by scientific research, high-quality data, and meaningful Federal engagement with communities with environmental justice concerns and that uses the tools available to the Federal Government, including enforcement of civil rights and environmental laws. Our Nation must also take further steps to dismantle racial discrimination and institutional bias that disproportionately affect the health, environment, safety, and resiliency of communities with environmental justice concerns.
To ensure that the Nation’s policies and investments respond to the needs of every community, all people should be afforded the opportunity to meaningfully participate in agency decision-making processes that may affect the health of their community or environment. The Federal Government must continue to remove barriers to the meaningful involvement of the public in such decision-making, particularly those barriers that affect members of communities with environmental justice concerns, including those related to disability, language access, and lack of resources. The Federal Government must also continue to respect Tribal sovereignty and support self-governance by ensuring that Tribal Nations are consulted on Federal policies that have Tribal implications. In doing so, we must recognize, honor, and respect the different cultural practices — including subsistence practices, ways of living, Indigenous Knowledge, and traditions — in communities across America. As our Nation reaffirms our commitment to environmental justice, the Federal Government must continue to be transparent about, and accountable for, its actions.
It is the policy of my Administration to pursue a whole-of-government approach to environmental justice. This order builds upon my Administration’s ongoing efforts to advance environmental justice and equity consistent with Executive Order 13985 of January 20, 2021 (Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government), Executive Order 13990 of January 20, 2021 (Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science To Tackle the Climate Crisis), Executive Order 14008 of January 27, 2021 (Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad), Executive Order 14052 of November 15, 2021 (Implementation of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act), Executive Order 14057 of December 8, 2021 (Catalyzing Clean Energy Industries and Jobs Through Federal Sustainability), Executive Order 14082 of September 12, 2022 (Implementation of the Energy and Infrastructure Provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022), and Executive Order 14091 of February 16, 2023 (Further Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government). This order also supplements the foundational efforts of Executive Order 12898 to address environmental justice. In partnership with State, Tribal, territorial, and local governments, as well as community organizations, businesses, and members of the public, the Federal Government will advance environmental justice and help create a more just and sustainable future for all.
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