a statue of justice with her scales and blindfoldedAttorney General Merrick B. Garland was joined by EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan today in announcing a series of actions to secure environmental justice for all Americans. In addition to launching a new Office of Environmental Justice within the Justice Department, Attorney General Garland also announced a new comprehensive environmental justice enforcement strategy to guide the Justice Department’s work and issued an Interim Final Rule that will restore the use of supplemental environmental projects in appropriate circumstances.

According to the press release:

“Although violations of our environmental laws can happen anywhere, communities of color, indigenous communities, and low-income communities often bear the brunt of the harm caused by environmental crime, pollution, and climate change,” said Attorney General Garland. “For far too long, these communities have faced barriers to accessing the justice they deserve. The Office of Environmental Justice will serve as the central hub for our efforts to advance our comprehensive environmental justice enforcement strategy. We will prioritize the cases that will have the greatest impact on the communities most overburdened by environmental harm.”

“EPA and the Justice Department’s partnership to protect overburdened and underserved communities across America has never been stronger,” said EPA Administrator Regan. “This environmental justice enforcement strategy epitomizes the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to holding polluters accountable as a means to deliver on our environmental justice priorities. Critical to that is the return of Supplemental Environmental Projects as a tool to secure tangible public health benefits for communities harmed by environmental violations.”

Read the full press release.