HHS Announced The Launch The Office of Environmental Justice – Will Focus on Climate-Related Health Issues in Marginalized Communities

HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra – not a doctor

On Tuesday, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the launch of a new Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ).

The newly created OEJ will focus on climate-related health issues that they say impact “marginalized” and “poor” Americans. 

The OEJ will operate within the Office of Climate Change and Health Equity at HHS. The creation of the new initiative was part of President Biden’s Executive Order on “Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad.”

The newly created office is focused on “health inequities for people of color, disadvantaged, vulnerable, low-income, marginalized, and indigenous populations.”

“The blunt truth is that many communities across our nation – particularly low-income communities and communities of color – continue to bear the brunt of pollution from industrial development, poor land-use decisions, transportation, and trade corridors,” said Secretary Xavier Becerra in a statement on Tuesday. 

Becerra went on to say that “Meeting the needs of these communities requires our focused attention. That’s why HHS is establishing the Office of Environmental Justice.”

Rachel Levine, the Assistant Secretary for Health, noted, “Millions in the U.S. are at risk of poor health because they live, work, play, learn and grow in or near areas of excessive pollution and other environmental hazards. The Office of Environmental Justice is an important avenue through which their well-being and quality of life are receiving our full attention.”

The leadership went on to celebrate the White House and President Biden for having the “most ambitious environmental justice agenda in history.”

The OEJ seeks public input and opinion on a draft outline to expand the 2022 HHS Environmental Justice Strategy and Implementation Plan.

“HHS would like to identify priority actions and strategies to best address environmental injustices and health inequities for people of color, disadvantaged, vulnerable, low-income, marginalized, and indigenous populations,” HHS said in their draft outline.

As cited in the outline from the newly created OEJ, their number one source of information driving the initiative is a 2007 study entitled “Toxic Wastes and Race at Twenty 1987-2007.” The study, commissioned by the United Church of Christ, a religious organization, is where the term “environmental racism” was coined. 

It appears portions of Critical Race Theory are driving the creation and operations of this newly established department. 


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