Brenda Mallory to Chair Council on Environmental Quality: “I Know the Faces of the Marginalized”

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In his newest round of appointments, President-Elect Joe Biden selected Brenda Mallory to chair the Council on Environmental Quality. She would be the first Black American to hold the position since the Council’s creation in 1970. Mallory spoke alongside fellow climate and energy appointees on Saturday, Dec. 19 to accept her role in Biden’s historic administration:

“I’m especially grateful for the chance to return to public service at a time when agency personnel are looking for optimism. And so many communities are struggling under the weight of persistent interwoven crises. I know firsthand the challenges that everyday people face when one unexpected illness or expense can upend the economic stability of a family,” Mallory said. “I know the faces of the marginalized, and I appreciate the challenges of urban pollution.”

“It is essential that we deploy smart and humane policy to help communities pull themselves back from the edge and improve the health, security and prosperity of all people. The Build Back Better plan is poised to breathe new life into the council on environmental quality.”

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Mallory is the director of regulatory policy at the Southern Environmental Law Center, having previously worked at the Conservation Litigation Project. Under the Obama administration, she served as general counsel on the White House Council on Environmental Quality and principal deputy general counsel at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

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“Service, in all its forms, was essential. [My parents] taught me to be a problem solver, to recognize that each of us is blessed with different talents, and we are all called to bring those gifts to bear wherever we are to work with anyone and everyone to make things better in communities that we share. This has been the driving force and the guiding principle of my journey,” Mallory said.

Biden praised Mallory as a key figure in the Obama administration’s environmental progress.

“I’m asking her to coordinate our environmental efforts across the entire federal government to solve some of the most persistent environmental problems America faces today. Brenda would be the first African-American official to hold this critical position. We are fortunate that one of the most widely respected environmental leaders in the country accepted the call to serve again,” Biden said.

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Sophie Dorf-Kamienny is a sophomore at Tufts University studying sociology and community health. She is a Ms. contributing writer, and was formerly an editorial fellow, research fellow and assistant editor of social media. You can find her on Twitter at @sophie_dk_.