Part I: Understanding the Justice40 Initiative
With passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, a gusher of Federal funding totaling more than a half trillion dollars in new spending will upgrade transportation, water, and energy infrastructure, plus provide for weatherization assistance and environmental remediation. Even more federal funds could flow from President Biden’s proposed FY 2023 budget, including a 40 percent increase in funding for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs (such as wind and solar) and their integration with the electric grid, not to mention more energy efficiency programs and advanced vehicle technologies. These federal funds will be distributed through formula grants, competitive grants, loans, and loan guarantees. Depending on the program, a wide range of stakeholders will be eligible to compete for grants and loans, including state and local governments, U.S. territories, Tribal Nations, community organizations, universities, companies, and coalitions of these groups.
In January 2021, President Biden issued Executive Order 14008 directing Federal agencies to make achieving environmental justice part of their missions by developing programs, policies, and activities to address the disproportionately high and adverse human health, environmental, climate-related, and other cumulative impacts on disadvantaged communities that have been historically marginalized, overburdened by pollution, and underserved in housing, transportation, water and wastewater infrastructure, and health care
Some of these federal grants could be very large. For example, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced its intention to invest $8 billion in at least four hydrogen hubs, and $7 billion for battery materials and battery manufacturing. Individual awards for battery materials and battery manufacturing facilities will be no less than $100 million, and individual awards for the hydrogen hubs are expected to range from $400 million to $1.25 billion. With such large grants available, eligible applicants are looking for the edge on how to present a winning grant application. R36 Solutions recommends that a deep understanding of President Biden’s Justice40 initiative may be critical in your grant writing process.
Developing project concepts, pulling together project partners, and developing competitive grant or loan proposals is a complex process already. Now, the Biden Administration has added a new dimension to these requirements in some of these infrastructure programs – it is called the “Justice40 Initiative.”
In January 2021, President Biden issued Executive Order 14008 directing Federal agencies to make achieving environmental justice part of their missions by developing programs, policies, and activities to address the disproportionately high and adverse human health, environmental, climate-related, and other cumulative impacts on disadvantaged communities that have been historically marginalized, overburdened by pollution, and underserved in housing, transportation, water and wastewater infrastructure, and health care (“disadvantaged communities”).
To implement this new policy, the Administration launched the Justice40 initiative, setting a goal that 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain Federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities. The kinds of investments covered by Justice40 include climate change mitigation, clean energy and energy efficiency, clean transportation, affordable and sustainable housing, remediation and reduction of legacy pollution, clean water and wastewater infrastructure, and workforce development (related to these issues, including in energy communities such as coal, oil, and gas and power plant communities).
To implement this new policy, the Administration launched the Justice40 initiative, setting a goal that 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain Federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities.
In addition to programs in these areas, the Administration is encouraging hundreds of other Federal programs to work toward achieving the Justice40 goal, including funding from the Infrastructure Improvement and Jobs Act.
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued interim guidance to Federal agencies on implementing Justice40. These guidelines preview what can be expected in terms of requirements for projects and proposals competing or receiving Federal funding in programs covered by Justice40. However, these requirements must be consistent with statutory and constitutional requirements.
OMB identified 21 Federal programs that will be covered by Justice40 in a pilot phase of its implementation. These programs will aim to administer their funds so that 40 percent of the overall benefits flow to disadvantaged communities. If you apply or compete for a grant in a covered program, you will need to show how the funds you propose to spend will deliver as much as 40 percent of its benefits to one or more disadvantaged communities.
Beyond these covered programs, Federal agencies want applicants in many other programs to address Justice40 goals in their proposed projects and proposals.
|Justice40 Covered Programs|
|ARC||Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization||EPA||Drinking Water State Revolving Fund|
|DHS||Flood Mitigation Assistance Program||EPA||Clean Water State Revolving Fund|
|DHS||Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities Program||EPA||Brownfields Program|
|DOE||Weatherization Assistance Program||EPA||Superfund Remedial Program|
|DOE||Solar Energy Technologies Office (National Community Solar Partnership)||EPA||Diesel Emissions Reductions Act Program|
|DOE||Vehicles Technologies Office (Clean Cities)||EPA||Reducing Lead in Drinking Water|
|DOE||Environmental Management Los Alamos||NIEHS||Environmental Career Worker Training Program|
|DOE||Advance Manufacturing Office (Industrial Assessment Centers)||HHS||Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program|
|DOI||Abandoned Mine Land Economic Revitalization Program||HUD||Lead Hazard Reduction and Healthy Homes Grants|
|DOT||Bus/Bus Facilities Infrastructure Investment Program||USDA||Rural Energy for America Program|
|DOT||Low or No Emissions Vehicle Program|
In Part 2 of our Justice40 Blog series, R36 Solutions will take a deeper dive into the nuances of the Justice40 Initiative.