By emphasizing equity in our clean energy projects, you can help ensure deep, sustained change in the areas of your city that need it most. Equitable projects offer a range of benefits, including (but not limited to) reduced energy burdens, pollution mitigation, and local workforce development.
To encourage local governments to pursue projects that enhance equity, the Federal Government established the Justice40 Initiative, or “J40,” requiring all federal investments in climate and clean energy to deliver at least 40% of the benefits to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution. Disadvantaged communities are defined differently at federal, state, and local levels, which may shape how cities, local leaders, and community partners plan and implement projects and programs. To aid understanding of these differences, Lawyers for Good Governance released a guide breaking down these differences across states.
According to interim implementation guidance, J40 applies to any federal program involving climate change, clean energy and energy efficiency, clean transportation, affordable and sustainable housing, remediation and reduction of legacy pollution, critical clean water and wastewater infrastructure, and training and workforce development.
Creating an equitable project can be challenging. As you begin the process of developing a federal grant application, consider these principles:
- Co-develop proposals with your community where possible — don’t just ask for feedback or a stamp of approval
- Include your community with opportunities to provide feedback, offering frequent updates and ample time for proposal reviews and genuine input
- Inform community stakeholders and elected officials of your project timeline and intentions to lay the groundwork for resource requests
- Invite community stakeholders to meet elected officials when trying to secure governmental funds and support
- Celebrate success purposefully and inclusively to lay the groundwork for future projects
The following sections offer more specific guidance by agency and type of project: