It feels great to be back in action in the blogosphere. (Forgive our absence; we were migrating servers.) The US Environmental Protection Agency is also back in action in the environmental justice arena. As background, environmental justice is defined 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.”
On October 27, 2016, EPA released its Environmental Justice 2020 Action Agenda, known as EJ 2020. EJ 2020, the agency’s strategic plan for advancing environmental justice for the years 2016 through 2020, builds on EPA’s 2014 plan and sets three goals for the agency:
- Deepen environmental justice practice within EPA programs to improve the health and environment of overburdened communities
- Work with partners to expand our impact within overburdened communities.
- Demonstrate progress on critical national environmental justice challenges.
EJ 2020 sets forth detailed focus areas for the implementation of these goals, including directing more enforcement resources to address pollution and public health burdens caused by violations of environmental laws in overburdened communities, strengthening consideration of environmental justice in rulemaking and permitting, and ensuring that underserved communities have access to drinking water that meets applicable health based standards. Because EPA has set environmental justice as a priority for the agency, we expect to see environmental justice issues considered routinely in agency permitting and enforcement actions.
For more information