EPA Focuses on Integration of Environmental Justice into its Programs and Policies

Environmental Law

 

EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson has made it her objective and priority to integrate environmental justice into the agency’s policies, practices, and activities. One result of this endeavor is EPA’s Plan EJ 2014. Plan EJ 2014 is not a rule or regulation, rather it is a road map and strategy for integrating environmental justice throughout EPA’s programs and policies.

The EPA defines environmental justice as “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. EPA has this goal for all communities and persons across this Nation. It will be achieved when everyone enjoys the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards and equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.”

Commemorating the 20th Anniversary of President Clinton’s issuance of Executive Order 12898, Federal Actions to Address Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations, the EPA will use Plan EJ 2014 to empower communities to take action to improve their health and environment and engage stakeholders in these populations to partner with local, state, tribal, and federal organizations to achieve healthy and sustainable communities.

Although Plan EJ 2014 will not promulgate hard caps or mandatory rules, the purpose of this mission is to build stronger relationships with communities overburdened by environmental and health hazards. Engaging and supporting these communities as they get involved with the decision-making process will allow the communities to improve their conditions. In 2014, the EPA will assess the objectives of Plan EJ 2014 to determine the successes and failures, and the lessons learned. Overburdened communities should not be forced to accept environmental and health hazards. To protect them, Plan EJ 2014 will integrate environmental justice into all facets of the agency action and make environmental justice a crucial part of every EPA decision.

For more information on environmental law, including environmental justice issues and EPA policies and practices, please contact Miriam Villani or Jason Kaplan.

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