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Biden to crack down on polluters in poor, minority areas

Environmental Justice announcement
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky
Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks at a news conference to announce actions to enhance the Biden administration's environmental justice efforts, Thursday, May 5, 2022, at the Department of Justice in Washington.

The Biden administration has announced a wide-ranging enforcement strategy aimed at holding industrial polluters accountable for damage done to poor and minority communities.

The strategy includes creation of an Office of Environmental Justice within the Justice Department.

It also reinstates a dormant program that allowed fines paid by industry as part of a settlement go to community activities such as river cleanup, health clinics or other programs that benefit the environment or public health.

President Joe Biden had promised during the 2020 campaign that he would elevate environmental justice issues in an all-of-government approach.