Republican AGs Condemn Biden’s EPA for Racial Engineering

Written by Jacob Turner.

The controversy surrounding the Biden administration’s pursuit of “environmental justice” has intensified as Republican attorneys general label it “racial engineering.”

On Tuesday, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, joined by 22 fellow GOP officials, challenged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over its application of civil rights laws. These laws are used to address harm that disproportionately affects minorities, often without intent. Moody and her colleagues argue that the EPA’s focus should remain strictly on environmental law enforcement, not on what they see as politically driven agendas.

“The core function of the EPA should be to enforce laws set forth by Congress, not to push a radical, race-based agenda under the guise of justice,” Moody stated.

Their petition, crafted during an election year, reflects an ongoing Republican effort to counter government policies they view as racially biased. This action follows the Supreme Court’s recent decision against affirmative action in college admissions, which the attorneys general believe should signal caution against similar federal policies.

According to the petition, the EPA’s current regulations demand racial quotas in environmental projects to avoid discrimination. Such requirements, the GOP attorneys argue, could be unconstitutional.

“If the EPA fails to amend its practices, we are prepared to take legal action,” stated the Florida Attorney General’s office.

Despite these strong statements, the EPA has declined to comment due to pending litigation.

EPA’s Use of Title VI: A Point of Contention

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act aims to prevent discrimination in federally funded programs. The EPA uses this to investigate and potentially penalize states or entities that violate these standards.

Critics, like Debbie Chizewer of Earthjustice, defend Title VI’s role in addressing historical injustices. “Communities of color often bear the brunt of environmental negligence, and correcting these wrongs is crucial,” she remarked.

However, some argue that the Biden administration’s application of Title VI has been overly aggressive. This includes a controversial case involving Louisiana’s air quality regulations, which the EPA initially investigated for discrimination but later dropped after legal pushback from the state.

Judicial Challenges and EPA’s Cautious Approach

The legal landscape is increasingly challenging for the EPA, especially with a conservative-leaning Supreme Court that recently limited its regulatory capabilities. EPA Administrator Michael Regan has expressed commitment to using Title VI against environmental discrimination but acknowledges the difficulties in today’s judicial climate.

“We are striving to ensure our actions are defensible in court,” Regan noted, highlighting the agency’s careful strategy amidst potential legal setbacks.

Moreover, the EPA has pursued other avenues to enforce environmental protections, like imposing stricter emissions standards on chemical plants, including the Denka facility in Louisiana that was at the center of the discrimination case.

Our Take

The Biden administration’s use of EPA regulations to enforce racial quotas under the pretext of environmental justice raises significant constitutional and ethical concerns. The Republican attorneys general are right to question these practices, which seem to extend beyond the agency’s mandate into social engineering. This isn’t just about environmental policy; it’s about ensuring that governmental actions adhere strictly to the law without infringing on individual rights or overstepping legal boundaries. The fight for environmental protection should not be conflated with divisive racial politics.

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