Mark Drajem
mdrajem@nrdc.org 202-297-5444,

Elizabeth Heyd
eheyd@nrdc.org, 202-813-8315,

WASHINGTON– Environmental justice leaders from around the country called on senators to support Brenda Mallory to head the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Mallory, a top official at the Southern Environmental Law Center and CEQ general counsel during the Obama administration, is deeply respected across the environmental law profession and deserves speedy confirmation.

The environmental justice advocates said they looked forward to Mallory taking the helm of CEQ and correcting course on environmental reviews, which the Trump administration sought to gut.

The following is a statement from Taylor Thomas, Co-Executive Director, East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice (taylort.eycej@gmail.com):

“Communities like ours shoulder the burden of the goods movement and freight industry, and we have spent the last four years of the Trump administration holding the line to prevent the stripping of the few federal regulatory protections our communities need. Now we need the White House Council on Environmental Quality to be a safeguard against wanton industrial development.

“With the Biden/Harris administration, we cannot afford anymore setbacks. We need action on tangible solutions that frontline communities have been calling on for years. Confirming Brenda Mallory to lead the CEQ is a step in the right direction. We are calling for an empowered CEQ, a robust NEPA, and the centering of frontline communities.”

The following is a statement from Beto Lugo Martinez, CleanAirNow! Kansas City (betomtz.lugo@gmail.com):

“We need a great climate champion to be the head of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. We need someone who is serious about taking concrete steps to confront the climate crisis and our country’s legacy of environmental racism, and Brenda Mallory is that leader. One of CEQ’s most important roles will be to restore and strengthen the National Environmental Policy Act. NEPA is an important civil rights tool that protects frontline communities from dangerous, rushed or poorly planned projects and gives the public an opportunity to comment on major federal projects like roads, bridges, and pipelines.”

The following is a statement from Dr. Mildred McClain, Harambee House, Inc. / Citizens for Environmental Justice (cfej.harambee@gmail.com):

“The White House Council on Environmental Quality is a critical agency tasked with helping to guide White House policy on issues as important and diverse as climate change, environmental justice, and infrastructure.  President Biden has already called for moving two advisory panels — the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council and the Environmental Justice Interagency Council — to be under CEQ. It will be critical to elevate the role of CEQ inside the White House to ensure both advisory panels have maximum impact. One of CEQ’s most important roles is to guide federal agencies in their implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act.

“NEPA requires government agencies to engage in a review process designed to identify and publicly disclose any significant environmental, public health, and socio-economic effects a federal action may have before a decision is made. Brenda Mallory’s nomination as Chair of CEQ sends a clear signal that President Biden is serious about taking concrete steps to confront both the climate crisis and our country’s legacy of social, political, racial and environmental racism.”

The following is a statement from Yvette Arellano, Director, Fenceline Watch (fencelinewatch@gmail.com):
“What we need is true reform of an already broken system, not simply a reset to the pre-Trump era of environmental capitalism. Brenda Mallory must use her position of power as Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality to increase public input in federal decision-making and address the lack of cumulative impact analysis from the rapid expansion of new and existing fossil fuel projects on our low-resourced marginalized communities. In accepting her nomination, Brenda Mallory made note of the many `interwoven crises.’ I hope this results in CEQ developing and implementing intersectional policies and federal implementation responsive to the pandemic, increased extreme weather events, and an acute lack of access to clean water.”

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NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world’s natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.https://www.nrdc.org/media/2021/210303