New Enforcement Strategy Advances President Biden's Environmental Justice Agenda
As directed by President Biden's executive order, the Justice Department and EPA developed a strategy that positions the Biden-Harris Administration to leverage all available legal tools to secure protections for communities that have been overburdened by pollution and environmental injustices. This includes restoring Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs), which EPA's enforcement program has used to provide environmental and/or public health benefits to communities harmed by environmental violations. In the development of this strategy, EPA and the Justice Department engaged in listening sessions to hear directly from impacted communities and other stakeholders. This feedback was critical in shaping today's EJ announcements. A Supplemental Environmental Project is an enforcement tool that EPA used for more than 30 years until the previous administration brought it to a halt. SEPs are local projects that defendants can agree to undertake as part of an enforcement case settlement to help rectify environmental violations. SEPs help to fulfill the goals of the underlying statutes being enforced and can provide important environmental and public health benefits to communities that have been harmed by environmental violations.