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A new executive order signed by President Biden last week is changing the way that pollution is assessed in contaminated neighborhoods, which could bring greater resources to long-suffering areas. 

The executive order signed on Friday will take into consideration not only current but previous exposure to pollution and climate change for government approval of new industrial projects in or near residential neighborhoods. In the past, earlier pollution or pre-existing plants were not taken into account. 

The move could bring more funding for cleanups, as well as greater community input on future projects in places where residents have already felt the disproportionate impacts of industrial pollution. Often, in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color, multiple polluting facilities exist within just a few miles of each other. Repairing the damage can take millions of dollars.

“It’s been something that environmental justice communities have been trying to push for for decades,” said Alexia Leclercq, an... Read more

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