WASHINGTON (April 15, 2021)—The Senate has voted to confirm Brenda Mallory as chair of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). She is a trusted voice in the environmental justice community and a strong choice to lead the CEQ, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).
Below is a statement by Dr. Adrienne Hollis, senior climate justice and health scientist at UCS.
“Ms. Mallory is a strong advocate for environmental justice with decades of relevant experience as director of regulatory policy at the Southern Environmental Law Center and general counsel for the CEQ under the Obama administration. There’s a lot of work ahead to restore environmental safeguards dismantled by the previous administration, but Ms. Mallory has the expertise to hit the ground running.
“The CEQ is responsible for implementing the National Environmental Policy Act, the law that requires a rigorous, science-based environmental review of any major project and reserves significant time for impacted communities to weigh in on these projects. Under the previous administration, this law was rewritten to severely limit the time and scope of these reviews. This put profit over people, and Black and brown communities faced the brunt of the consequences.
“Ms. Mallory comes from a working-class community and brings a wealth of needed experience to the position. Much like Administrator Michael Regan’s historic position as the first Black man to lead the EPA, Ms. Mallory will be the first Black person to lead the CEQ. With her 35 years of experience in environmental public policy and law, Ms. Mallory will work quickly to restore safeguards and address environmental harms that have disproportionately affected Black and brown communities. I’m hopeful she will work hard to develop a stronger process for receiving feedback to ensure frontline communities have a voice in the decisions that affect them.
“The next CEQ chair must restore science’s role in decision-making and ensure that major projects harm neither the environment nor the public. Ms. Mallory is a strong and historic choice for this work, and I’m eager to see her lead the country in confronting the climate change crisis and racial injustice crisis.”