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Environmental Justice and Biden Executive Orders: Addressing Climate Change, Ensuring Access to Clean Air and Water

New White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council and Interagency Council on Environmental Justice

Recording of a 90-minute CLE video webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will provide environmental counsel with the current Biden administration executive actions that address climate change and environmental justice. The panel will review how the current administration has acted via the White House and the EPA to require regulated entities to analyze the environmental effects of business operations that have disproportionately impacted underserved communities and develop concrete measures to address inequities.


Within the first days of the Biden administration, the President issued several executive orders (EOs) directly related to environmental justice and new efforts to increase enforcement of existing regulations. Counsel should be familiar with the path charted by these EOs and what to expect from the administration’s stated commitment to pursue climate and environmental equity.

Specifically, through EO 14008 the President has directed the EPA administrator and the DOJ to strengthen enforcement of environmental violations that "disproportionately impact underserved communities" and to develop more sophisticated and transparent data to identify such patterns of noncompliance worthy of heightened enforcement scrutiny. The DOJ was also directed to coordinate with EPA to develop comprehensive environmental justice enforcement to seek timely remedies for systemic environmental contamination.

Several aspects of the administration’s “all of government” approach to environmental justice are also shaping key legislative vehicles in Congress. For example, while the leading Climate Leadership and Environmental Action for our Nation's Future Act (CLEAN Future Act or the Act) incorporates a range of measures designed to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emission by 2050; notably it also includes a Title VI that would, if ultimately enacted, significantly advance the administration's environmental justice objectives by requiring the development of enhanced environmental justice risk mapping data and codifying the “EJ40” investment initiative first articulated in EJ 14008.

Listen as our authoritative panel discusses the status of environmental justice within the Biden administration, what the current EOs have established, and where future administrative and legislative actions may lead. The panel will address how environmental counsel can be prepared for the major changes in this area of law over the next four years.



  1. Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad
    1. Section 220
      1. Interagency Council and Advisory Council
    2. Section 222
      1. EPA
      2. DOJ
  2. CLEAN Future Act
  3. Future administrative and legislative actions


The panel will review these and other important issues:

  • What impact do the current EOs have on environmental enforcement?
  • What has EPA been directed to do under the first Biden EOs? What has the DOJ been directed to do?
  • What is the likelihood of a wave of future citizen suit actions brought in pursuit of environmental justice?
  • How can counsel be prepared for the apparent paradigm shift being driven by the Biden administration?


Brusslan, James
James D. Brusslan

Levenfeld Pearlstein

Mr. Brusslan leads the firm's Environmental Law practice. He has more than 25 years of experience representing...  |  Read More

Freeman, Paul
Paul C. Freeman

Senior Counsel
Crowell & Moring

Mr. Freeman is a member of the firm’s Environment & Natural Resources and Government Contracts groups. He...  |  Read More

Otum, Peggy
Peggy Otum

Partner; Co-Chair, Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Practice
Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr

Ms. Otum focuses her practice on complex environmental litigation and regulatory compliance counseling. During her more...  |  Read More

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