Governor Cooper Takes Historic Executive Action on Environmental Justice

January 7, 2022

Andrew Whelan, CleanAIRE NC, (919) 408-7031, [email protected]

Governor Cooper Takes Historic Executive Action on Environmental Justice

RALEIGH, N.C. – Today Governor Cooper announced an Executive Order on Climate Change and Environmental Justice, taking a major step towards addressing long-standing environmental inequities in historically disadvantaged communities.

As part of the Executive Order, the Cooper Administration will designate an “Environmental Justice Lead” at each state agency to develop Public Participation Plans that take input from underserved communities on agency decisions. Additionally, the Executive Order instructs state agencies to direct federal and state financial resources to environmentally impacted communities.

“The voices of communities disproportionately impacted by sources of pollution must be front and center on policy decisions affecting their health. We are hopeful that today’s action will begin that process,” said Daisha Williams, Environmental Justice Manager at CleanAIRE NC. “For far too long BIPOC communities have suffered from environmental racism, with heavy industrial activity and pollution clustered in their neighborhoods. This Executive Order will finally require all state agencies to listen to residents before, during, and after economic development decisions are made.”

The Executive Order also builds on Governor Cooper’s plan to address climate change by increasing the ambition set under Executive Order 80. With this change, the Cooper Administration is aligning its climate goals with the goals set by President Biden: a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gasses by 2030, and net-zero emissions by 2050 (using 2005 CO2 levels). 

“North Carolina needs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as quickly as possible to combat the climate crisis. We are pleased to see Governor Cooper upped his ambition in this respect, and we look forward to working with the state on tangible steps to turn ambition into equitable action,” said June Blotnick, Executive Director of CleanAIRE NC.


CleanAIRE NC is a statewide, 501c3 nonprofit organization advocating for the health of all North Carolinians by pursuing equitable and collaborative solutions that address climate change and air pollution.

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