EPA Doles Out $177 Million in Race-Based ‘Environmental Justice’ Grants to ‘Black, Indigenous and People of Color’ Groups

In one new grant, the EPA earmarked $3.5 million dollars for ‘environmental justice’ projects in Texas targeting ‘disadvantaged communities.’

Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images.
Protesters demonstrate against racism in St Louis, Missouri. Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images.

The Environmental Protection Agency has announced $177 million in funding for various racially-oriented programs that advance the cause of “environmental justice” by giving money to nonprofit ethnic minority groups. The grants advance President Biden’s commitment to “racial equity,” which he campaigned on as he appealed to Black voters in 2020.

On Thursday, the EPA announced the latest in the grants to be issued to non-profit organizations as part of the ongoing commitment by the Biden administration to “environmental justice groups.” 

Among the recipients of the grants, announced on Thursday, was Thrive New Orleans, which will receive $500,000 for “educational programming” for Black New Orleans residents. “Thrive New Orleans will receive $500,000 to develop a project that aims to empower BIPOC youth by equipping them with culturally relevant environmental education and skills to transform their communities and life trajectories,” a press release stated.

In addition to funding from the federal government, Thrive also counts JP Morgan Chase, Capital One, Hancock Whitney, Methodist Health System Foundation, and Chick-fil-A among its corporate sponsors. 

The non-profit, which professes to be “committed to racial equity,” referred the Sun to its press release when asked about the environmental justice grant. The organization said that they will use the funds to “develop a project that aims to empower Black, Indigenous, and other People Of Color youth by equipping them with culturally relevant environmental education” that will “transform … communities and life trajectories.”

In addition to its grant to Thrive New Orleans, the EPA is also giving money to a variety of minority-only programs across the country. 

In another grant given out on Thursday, the EPA earmarked $3.5 million dollars for “environmental justice” projects in Texas targeting “disadvantaged communities.”

The funding was given out to organizations such as the Black United Fund of Texas, which was founded by African-American activist Walter Bremond, who has sought to create charity organizations independent of the “larger white community.” 

In response to questions about the legality of the program from the Sun, the EPA said that the grants are not being distributed based on race. “EPA’s grant programs are subject to a rigorous evaluation and selection process to ensure awards are made in accordance with the law,” the department stated to the Sun. “No EPA grant funds are ever distributed based on race or other non-merit factors.”

Previous efforts by the Biden Administration to give Black Americans money based on race have been struck down by the courts.

Mr. Biden’s giant 2021 pandemic stimulus program included canceling $4 billion in debt held by Black farmers. The program was blocked after a successful lawsuit  by the former adviser to President Trump, Stephen Miller, whose America First Legal Group has scored a number of legal victories against progressive policies.  

Despite these setbacks, the Biden Administration has pushed forward with plans to give money to Black and other minority groups. The racially targeted grants follow through on one of Mr. Biden’s first executive orders after his inauguration, which put  “racial equity” at the center of policy, programs, and funding.  

“The Federal Government should pursue a comprehensive approach to advancing equity for all, including people of color and others who have been historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality,” Mr. Biden’s executive order stated. 

He directed “each agency” to “assess whether, and to what extent, its programs and policies perpetuate systemic barriers to opportunities and benefits for people of color and other underserved groups.”

The programs have been defended by progressive legal scholars as addressing the “systemic racism that we still need to undo in this country,” as one constitutional law professor at the University of Nebraska, Eric Berger, stated at the time. 

In another gesture to Black voters, Mr. Biden moved the South Carolina Democratic presidential primary to first on the political calendar, displacing New Hampshire from its treasured “first in the nation” status. South Carolina’s Democratic voters are about 60 percent Black. New Hampshire, where 94 percent of Democratic voters are white, was enraged by the change and refused to move its Democratic primary.

Mr. Biden has said he will not participate in the primary, and New Hampshire may not be allowed any delegates at the Democratic National Convention that will choose the party’s 2024 presidential nominee.

The New York Sun

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