Watchdog dings Biden admin’s handling of environmental justice effort

By Kevin Bogardus | 02/28/2024 04:03 PM EST

The Government Accountability Office said reforms “can better ensure accountability, transparency, and progress toward achieving the goal” of the Justice40 Initiative.

President Joe Biden signing an executive order.

President Joe Biden signs an executive order on environmental justice initiatives April 21, 2023. The order directs federal agencies to invest in communities that are disproportionately affected by pollution and climate change. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Joe Biden’s much-touted campaign to distribute federal aid to marginalized communities long struggling with pollution could be better managed, according to a congressional watchdog.

The Government Accountability Office released a report Wednesday that found the Biden administration’s Justice40 Initiative lacked clear guidance at times and needs to assess how the effort is being implemented across agencies. The initiative aims to distribute 40 percent of government relief to areas most in need, centering environmental justice in the president’s agenda.
released a report

By incorporating “key practices,” the Executive Office of the President “can better ensure accountability, transparency, and progress toward achieving the goal of the initiative,” the report said.


Justice40 is a vast undertaking by the federal government. White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Brenda Mallory has estimated that nearly 470 programs worth billions of dollars in annual spending are being reworked to meet the initiative’s goals.
nearly 470 programs