May ’22 at-a-glance … environment

Screening tool will help federal agencies allocate resources to/protect disadvantaged communities

One week into his presidency, President Biden issued Executive Order 14008 that included the Justice40 Initiative making good on his campaign promise to deliver at least 40 percent of the overall benefits from Federal investments in climate and clean energy to disadvantaged communities. To help federal agencies ensure that they reach these communities, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) is beta testing a tool to identify communities that are marginalized, underserved and overburdened by pollution. CEQ provided a Q&A on the tool. Several states also have tools for assessing environmental justice, to help ensure that disadvantaged communities are not disproportionately impacted by government decisions.

Senate advances Kigali Amendment        

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has approved a resolution to adopt the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol. The Amendment is a legally binding global agreement for the transition away from hydrofluorocarbon (HFCs) that contribute to climate change. The full Senate will now consider the Amendment. The EU and 129 countries have signed the agreement.

Economic development and environmental protection joint aims of proposed Great Lakes Authority Act

U.S. representatives from Illinois, Michigan, New York and Wisconsin jointly introduced the Great Lakes Authority Act dedicated to advancing solutions to the challenges faced by the eight states of the Great Lakes region – Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. If passed, the Act would establish the Great Lakes Authority and $30 million in funding beginning in fiscal year 2023 and $50 million each fiscal year thereafter.

The Great Lakes Authority would be empowered to promote economic growth and recovery throughout the region to restore and to protect America’s principal source of fresh water by:

  • Promoting economic development and job creation, and creating world-class workforce education, training, and adjustment institutions to spur economic growth in communities disproportionately affected by the outsourcing of jobs.
  • Restoring and protecting the Great Lakes, which are the principal source of surface freshwater in North America.
  • Fostering innovation to strengthen and expand domestic manufacturing and promote cleaner and more sustainable power production.
  • Establishing and administering funding mechanisms to finance clean energy, green infrastructure, water infrastructure and broadband infrastructure projects.

The Great Lakes region is home to 165 NAFEM members.