NACWA Files Comments on White House Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool

May 26, 2022

NACWA filed comments May 25 on the Council on Environmental Quality’s (CEQ) Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool (CEJST).   

Developed as part of the Justice40 Initiative, CEJST utilizes national census tract data to identify communities that are economically disadvantaged and overburdened by pollution and historic underinvestment.  Federal agencies will use the tool to ensure that 40 percent of federal investments in climate, clean energy, training and workforce development, remediation and reduction of legacy pollution, and development of clean water infrastructure are directed at disadvantaged communities.  

While CEJST will not impact programs such as the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF), it will be used in assessing projects eligible for certain federal investments including Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program loans.   

NACWA’s comments underscore the anchor role that clean water utilities play in protecting the environment and public health, developing resilient critical infrastructure, and advancing environmental justice goals.  NACWA urges CEQ to engage with NACWA’s Environmental Justice Committee as it moves to implement the Justice40 Initiative.   

NACWA’s comments also ask CEQ to allow federal agencies to take local considerations not captured by the national methodology into account when determining if a project will serve the goals of Justice40, and to provide additional clarity on how agencies will use CEJST to identify and quantify Justice 40 benefits.  Currently CEQ is still relying on its July 2021 Interim Implementation Guidance for the Justice40 Initiative for such information.  

Please contact NACWA’s General Counsel, Amanda Aspatore, with any questions.   

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