EDF’s new equity map shows state efforts to make the energy transition fairer for all

(This post was written by EDF interns Cyera Charles and Remeny White)

Across the U.S. states are passing laws that will ensure greater equity as we transition to a clean energy system. EDF has developed an interactive map – based on our new report, the State Climate Equity Survey – that documents states’ efforts to make their energy transition more equitable and healthier.

Our new map identifies which states require, allow, or promote consideration of equity and environmental justice in agency decision-making and budget-setting.

States making these policies cite the need to provide benefits of new energy investments to all residents and to address disproportionate burdens shouldered by some communities in the past. By tracking their progress, this map can help those states meet their commitments, and can also inform other states and stakeholders about new ideas and practices to enhance environmental justice in the energy transition.

How to use our new map

Our new map is color-coded to show at a glance the relative strength of each state’s current environmental justice protections.

  • States colored red do not currently consider environmental and energy justice in agency decision-making and budget-setting.
  • Yellow states are in the process of implementing consideration of these factors through regulation or legislation.
  • Green states actively consider environmental and energy justice in policy making. The darker the green, the more robust the authority to incorporate environmental justice considerations.

Click on a state to see detailed information about that state’s energy and environmental justice mandates. Then click on a specific measure’s link for more detailed information.

You can also read our full report here.

Here are a few highlights of the actions taken by states to increase environmental justice while advancing the clean energy transition:

  • New Jersey Cumulative Impacts Bill – requires anyone seeking a permit for a project located in an environmentally overburdened community to prepare an environmental justice impact statement highlighting public health stressors, and if those “cause or contribute to adverse cumulative environmental or public health stressors in the overburdened community,” the permit must be denied.
  • New York Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act – requires state agencies, authorities, and entities to invest or direct resources so that 40% of the bill’s overall benefits go to disadvantaged communities.
  • New Mexico Environmental Crimes Task Force – mandates remedies for systemic environmental violations in historically marginalized and overburdened communities, low-income communities, and communities of color.
  • Held v. State of Montana – struck down a Montana state law prohibiting consideration of climate pollution as a factor when issuing permits for energy projects. Montana’s constitution recognizes a fundamental right to a clean and healthful environment, which a court ruled conflicted with the state law.
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