President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to re-establish a White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council and White House Environmental Justice Interagency Council.(Reuters)
President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to re-establish a White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council and White House Environmental Justice Interagency Council.(Reuters)

Joe Biden’s team eyes environmental justice champion Ali for White House Council

The Council on Environmental Quality serves as a kind of mission control coordinating environmental policy decisions, reviews across the federal government and oversees implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act.
By Bloomberg | Posted by Deepali Sharma
UPDATED ON NOV 29, 2020 06:18 PM IST

President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team is considering recommending environmental justice champion Mustafa Santiago Ali to lead the White House Council on Environmental Quality, as the incoming administration seeks to prioritize the damage pollution takes on poor and minority communities.

The deliberations, part of an effort to refocus the obscure White House agency into a hub for promoting environmental justice, was described by two people familiar with the matter who asked not to be named discussing personnel recommendations.

Neither Ali nor representatives of the Biden-Harris transition immediately responded to requests for comment Saturday.

The CEQ serves as a kind of mission control coordinating environmental policy decisions and reviews across the federal government. It also oversees implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act.

Under President Donald Trump, the agency has sought to expedite environmental permitting. But Biden has outlined plans for the agency to address environmental injustice amid a national reckoning on matters of race.

In addition to Ali, another environmental justice advocate, Cecilia Martinez, is being considered to lead the agency, Bloomberg Law reported. Martinez now heads Biden’s agency review team focused on CEQ.

Also Read | Joe Biden announces 3 more members in Covid-19 task force

EPA Veteran

Ali’s career has been intertwined with environmental justice. He spent 24 years at the Environmental Protection Agency, and helped found an office there focused on the topic. He resigned as an assistant associate administrator in 2017 as the Trump administration moved to zero out the office’s funding. Ali also served as a senior vice president for the Hip Hop Caucus, a not-for-profit group that promotes political activism among young voters.

Biden has pledged to re-establish a White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council and White House Environmental Justice Interagency Council. He’s emphasized that the problems of climate change and pollution are tied to the struggle for racial equality, asserting in June that low-income communities of color can be victimized by being “in spots where the water is not clean, the air you can’t breathe.”

Ali has argued that environmental justice considerations should be embedded in federal policy making, and emphasized the need to rebuild and revitalize vulnerable communities that bear the brunt of pollution. Progressive activists have lobbied Biden to nominate Ali as EPA administrator.

Unequal Impact

“We have some opportunities for some real wins,” Ali said in a conference call on Nov. 24 marking the 50th anniversary of the EPA. “We also have opportunities to really mitigate and minimize the impacts that happen inside the communities that are often unseen and unheard.”

Ali said that the Trump administration’s work to ease environmental regulations has had unequal results. “For all these rules that have been rolled back or weakened, there have been these additional impacts that have happened to our most vulnerable communities,” he said.

Any new regulations that move forward should be buttressed by a “true and full environmental justice analysis” to ensure “we’re providing the protection that’s needed,” he said.

Ali, who is Black, is now a vice president at the National Wildlife Federation. He’s also the founder of Revitalization Strategies, a business focused on helping vulnerable communities thrive, according to his biography on the wildlife group’s website.

Also Read | India has practically achieved pre-2020 climate action targets, says Prakash Javadekar

Poor people and people of color often face higher exposure to pollutants, according to the American Lung Association. One reason for the discrepancy is that pollution sources -- from interstate highways to refineries -- tend to be located near disadvantaged communities.

“Since the beginning, environmentalism has struggled with racism and exclusion,” said Julian Brave NoiseCat, a vice president at the progressive think tank Data for Progress.

“For decades, communities of color and indigenous peoples have fought to reorient environmental concerns around inclusion and justice,” said NoiseCat. “Having an environmental justice leader at the helm of CEQ would mark an incredible victory for our movement.”

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
app
Close
US President Joe Biden adjusts his face mask while speaking in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, US. (Reuters)
US President Joe Biden adjusts his face mask while speaking in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, US. (Reuters)

Texas files first major lawsuit against Biden administration

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 07:46 AM IST
The suit highlights the clash between Biden’s pledge to reverse Trump’s efforts to clamp down on people in the US illegally and Republicans who want to continue those policies.
Close
The Joe Biden-led US government has applauded India for sending supplies of Covid-19 vaccine to a host of South Asian nations.(AFP)
The Joe Biden-led US government has applauded India for sending supplies of Covid-19 vaccine to a host of South Asian nations.(AFP)

US Prez Joe Biden respects successful ties with India: White House

By HT Correspondent, Washington/new Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 23, 2021 07:10 AM IST
Biden and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have spoken once since the American leader’s election last November, and could again soon as the president begins calling counterparts in allied and partner countries
Close
The virus has killed at least two million people globally and continues to spread, but in China less than 5,000 deaths have been reported by authorities.(REUTERS)
The virus has killed at least two million people globally and continues to spread, but in China less than 5,000 deaths have been reported by authorities.(REUTERS)

Pride and caution in Wuhan on lockdown anniversary

AFP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 06:09 AM IST
A year ago Saturday, Wuhan shocked the world by ordering 11 million anxious citizens be confined at home, beginning a traumatic 76-day lockdown that underscored the growing threat of a then-mysterious pathogen emanating from the city.
Close
Japan, the world’s only country to suffer nuclear attacks, also does not support the treaty, even though the aged survivors of the bombings in 1945 strongly push for it to do so.(AP file photo)
Japan, the world’s only country to suffer nuclear attacks, also does not support the treaty, even though the aged survivors of the bombings in 1945 strongly push for it to do so.(AP file photo)

Nuclear powers stay out of first nuke ban treaty

By HT Correspondent, United Nations
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 06:07 AM IST
The 30-nation Nato alliance is also not backing the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), which is now part of international law and seen as a historic step to rid the world of its deadliest weapons.
Close
Trump is the first US president to be impeached twice, and the first to be tried after leaving office.(AFP)
Trump is the first US president to be impeached twice, and the first to be tried after leaving office.(AFP)

House to trigger Donald Trump trial process on Monday

By Yashwant Raj
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 06:04 AM IST
The trial will take place as the Senate is in the conformation process for President Joe Biden’s cabinet members.
Close
Johnson added that all the current evidence showed both vaccines remain effective against old and new variants.(REUTERS)
Johnson added that all the current evidence showed both vaccines remain effective against old and new variants.(REUTERS)

Covid-19 new variant causes higher mortality, says UK PM Boris Johnson

PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 06:01 AM IST
“We’ve been informed today that in addition to spreading more quickly, it also now appears that there is some evidence that the new variant - the variant that was first discovered in London and the southeast (of England) - may be associated with a higher degree of mortality,” he told a news briefing.
Close
Commuters walk past the Greyhound ticket office at Port Authority Bus Terminal, Friday, Jan. 22, 2021, in New York. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey unveiled a proposal Thursday, Jan. 21, to rebuild and expand the embattled midtown Manhattan bus terminal. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)(AP)
Commuters walk past the Greyhound ticket office at Port Authority Bus Terminal, Friday, Jan. 22, 2021, in New York. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey unveiled a proposal Thursday, Jan. 21, to rebuild and expand the embattled midtown Manhattan bus terminal. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)(AP)

'Want to feel safe again': Americans lament slow pace of Covid vaccine rollout

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 06:00 AM IST
The United States is the nation hardest-hit by Covid-19, with 24.51 million cases and 409,987 deaths by early Friday morning. More than 4,000 Americans died of the disease on Thursday for the second day in a row.
Close
Outgoing US President Donald Trump addresses guests at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on January 20, 2021.(AFP)
Outgoing US President Donald Trump addresses guests at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on January 20, 2021.(AFP)

Trump impeachment trial to begin in Senate week of Feb 8: Chuck Schumer

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 05:55 AM IST
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the trial could begin as soon as Feb. 9 - a Tuesday - and that McConnell was pleased Democrats had given Trump's defense more time.
Close
Elon Musk, founder, CEO, and lead designer of SpaceX, speaks at a news conference. (AP File Photo)
Elon Musk, founder, CEO, and lead designer of SpaceX, speaks at a news conference. (AP File Photo)

SpaceX plans to drill for natural gas near Texas launchpad

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 05:49 AM IST
The billionaire’s SpaceX intends to drill wells close to the company’s Boca Chica launchpad, it was revealed during a Friday hearing before the Railroad Commission of Texas, the state’s energy regulator.
Close
The National Guard said in a statement that it would not discuss coronavirus cases, but personnel were following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.(AFP)
The National Guard said in a statement that it would not discuss coronavirus cases, but personnel were following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.(AFP)

More than 150 inauguration National Guard test positive for Covid-19

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 05:44 AM IST
The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the number of National Guard troops who tested positive could rise but was still a small fraction of the more than 25,000 troops deployed in city over the past few days.
Close
Members of the National Guard march towards the US Capitol in Washington, DC(Bloomberg)
Members of the National Guard march towards the US Capitol in Washington, DC(Bloomberg)

Lawmakers angered as US troops guarding Capitol forced to sleep in garage

AFP, Washington
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 05:40 AM IST
  • Some members of Congress, noting that many of the troops came from their home states, voiced outrage.
Close
US President Joe Biden speaks about the Covid-19 response before signing executive orders for economic relief to Covid-hit families and businesses in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington.(AFP)
US President Joe Biden speaks about the Covid-19 response before signing executive orders for economic relief to Covid-hit families and businesses in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington.(AFP)

Biden warns Covid-19 toll can cross 600,000, urges Congress to pass rescue plan

AFP, Washington
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 05:13 AM IST
  • Biden added that he was looking forward to working with both parties in Congress to "move quickly" on getting people help through his rescue plan.
Close
“I truly appreciate all that you do,” the first lady said. “The National Guard will always hold a special place in the heart of all the Bidens.”(AFP)
“I truly appreciate all that you do,” the first lady said. “The National Guard will always hold a special place in the heart of all the Bidens.”(AFP)

First Lady Jill Biden thanks National Guard members with chocolate chip cookies

AP, Washington
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 04:34 AM IST
“I just want to say thank you from President Biden and the whole, the entire Biden family,” she told a group of Guard members at the Capitol
Close
The urgency to hold Trump responsible is somewhat complicated by Democrats' simultaneous need to get Biden's government in place and start quick work on his coronavirus aid package. (AP)
The urgency to hold Trump responsible is somewhat complicated by Democrats' simultaneous need to get Biden's government in place and start quick work on his coronavirus aid package. (AP)

Donald Trump impeachment headed to Senate, triggering trial

AP, Washington
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 04:30 AM IST
Unlike any in history, Trump's impeachment trial would be the first of a U.S. president no longer in office, an undertaking that his Senate Republican allies argue is pointless, and potentially even unconstitutional.
Close
Concerns are that the ambiguous six doses will soon be factored in delivery numbers.(REUTERS)
Concerns are that the ambiguous six doses will soon be factored in delivery numbers.(REUTERS)

Spain discarding thousands of Pfizer vaccine doses for lack of right syringes

ANI, Madrid
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 12:14 AM IST
The EU medicines regulator said in a guidance update on January 8 that low dead-volume syringes and needles with more effective space than standards ones must be used to get full six doses.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP