EPA Seeking Public Comment on New Environmental Justice Strategic Plan

In an April 16 email, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking public comment on its proposed 2020 environmental justice strategic plan.  The comment period closes on June 15, 2015. From the email:

[EPA] is asking for public comment on the draft EJ 2020 Action Agenda (EJ 2020) framework, the EPA’s next overarching strategic plan for environmental justice.

EJ 2020 is a strategy to advance environmental justice through EPA’s programs, policies and activities, and will support the cross-agency strategy on making a visible difference in environmentally overburdened, underserved, and economically-distressed communities. Stakeholders and the general public can review the framework and submit comments, starting today through June 15, 2015, by visiting www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/ej2020

“EJ 2020 will build on the foundation established by EPA’s Plan EJ 2014, where we were able to improve on EJ in permitting, support community-based programs and develop science tools to access and facilitate grants,” said Mustafa Santiago Ali, Senior Advisor to Administrator Gina McCarthy on Environmental Justice. “Although we’ve made good progress, there’s still more to do. We need to strategically identify opportunities for targeted collaboration that benefit overburdened communities. Your voices, experiences and expertise can help shape a strategy that addresses the needs of your communities.” Read today’s blog for more about how EJ 20202 is about defining new goals for the coming years.

The goals of EJ 2020 are to:

  • Deepen environmental justice practice within EPA programs to improve the health and environment of overburdened communities;
  • Collaborate with partners to expand our impact within communities; and
  • Demonstrate progress on outcomes that matter to communities.

Under Plan EJ 2014, EPA laid a foundation for integrating environmental justice into all its programs, including rule-writing, permitting, enforcement, science and law. Plan EJ 2014 helped to build environmental justice into the agency’s regulatory practice, revitalized environmental justice planning across the federal family, and initiated the development of a cross-cutting Environmental Justice Research Roadmap. To learn more about the accomplishments under Plan EJ 2014, visit http://epa.gov/environmentaljustice/plan-ej/index.html

During the public comment period for EJ 2020, EPA will conduct informational and dialogue sessions with partners and stakeholder groups. Audiences are encouraged to participate in these sessions and request additional sessions if needed. For more information about EJ 2020, and to view a schedule of these sessions, visit http://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/ej2020.

Environmental justice is defined as the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people, regardless of race or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. EPA’s goal is to provide an environment where all people enjoy equal access to the environmental decision-making process to maintain a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work. EPA’s environmental justice work is an outgrowth of Executive Order 12898, signed by President Clinton in 1994, that requires federal agencies to address the disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of their programs on minority and low-income populations.

For more information about EPA’s environmental justice work, visit: http://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/

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