At the end of last month, the Biden administration announced the members of the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council, which would “provide advice and recommendations to the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and the White House Environmental Justice Interagency Council on how to address current and historic environmental injustices.”
Twenty-six people were named to the council, but at least four of them have made radical statements connecting fossil fuels to racism.
Susana Almanza, for example, is the director of People Organized in Defense of Earth and Her Resources (PODER), an environmental justice organization based in Austin, Texas. Hilltop Views, the student news website of St. Edward’s University, profiled Almanza, noting that she has a Che Guevara poster in her office and said that her organization is “fighting big monsters; they’re not little ones,” referring to oil companies.
Beverly Wright, executive director of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice, addressed a recent Department of Interior public forum on the federal oil and gas program and implored the Department to review the program “with an analysis of how it perpetuates environmental racism and the racial inequity of climate vulnerability.” She also insisted that “racial discrimination that is central to oil and gas operations.”
In an interview with Vox back in February, Wright linked energy development to slavery and Jim Crow.