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Environmental Justice

  
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The Environmental Justice Program Area includes links to EPA's Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ), who is charged with coordinating the Agency's efforts to integrate environmental justice into all policies, programs, and activities, and, other environmental justice-related resources.

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Regulations, Guidance, and Policy
 
Executive Orders
Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low Income Populations
11 February 1994
This EO requires Federal agencies to achieve environmental justice by identifying and addressing, as appropriate, any disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental impacts that their programs, policies, and activities may have on minority populations and low-income populations.
Climate Crisis; Efforts to Protect Public Health and Environment and Restore Science
January 20, 2021
This Executive Order directs all executive departments and agencies to immediately review and, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, take action to address the promulgation of Federal regulations and other actions during the last 4 years that conflict with these important national objectives, and to immediately commence work to confront the climate crisis. In addition, this EO revokes several EOs including: • EO 13834, except for Section 6. Duties of the Federal Chief Sustainability Officer, Section 7. Duties of Heads of Agencies, and Section 11. General Provisions. • Executive Order 13778 Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism, and Economic Growth by Reviewing the "Waters of the United States" Rule • Executive Order 13783 Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth • Executive Order 13807 Establishing Discipline and Accountability in the Environmental Review and Permitting Process for Infrastructure Projects
Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad
January 27, 2021
The EO has three overarching objectives 1) promote safe global temperature, 2) increase climate resilience, and 3) support financial a pathway toward low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development. The EO reinstates the Presidential Memorandum of September 21, 2016 (Climate Change and National Security), establishes the Climate Policy Office within the Executive Office of the President and establishes a National Climate Task Force. In addition, the EO aims to use Federal procurement to support robust climate action including a carbon pollution-free electricity sector, no later than 2035 and clean and zero-emission vehicles for Federal, State, local, and Tribal government fleets.
Laws, Regulations, and Agreements
Full text of the 2011 MOU between EPA and other federal agencies.
EPA Guidance & Planning
An April 2011 report of advice and recommendations of the National Environmental Justice Advisory Committee (NEJAC) on enhancing environmental justice in EPA permitting programs.
The EJ 2020 Action Agenda (EJ 2020) is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 2016 – 2020 strategic plan for advancing environmental justice.
EPA EJ resource page, including: Environmental Justice Considerations In the NEPA Process,Federal Guidance on Environmental Justice, Agency Guidance Related to Environmental Justice and NEPA, Methodologies that Support Environmental Justice Considerations, and other EJ guidance information.
EPA Asst. Administrator memorandum, dated 30 April 2021, to the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Office Directors and Deputies, Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Directors and Deputies, and Regional Counsels and Deputies, outlining steps for advancement of environmental justice goals.
EPA Asst. Administrator memorandum, dated July 1, 2021, to the Office of Site Remediation Enforcement Managers, Regional Superfund Division Directors and Deputies, Regional Counsels and Deputies, setting out steps to advance EPA environmental justice goals through cleanup enforcement at private and federal facility sites, primarily through the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).
EPA Asst. Administrator memorandum, dated 26 Apr 2021, to the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Office Directors and Deputies, Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Directors and Deputies, and Regional Counsels and Deputies. This memorandum charges enforcement staff and case teams to appropriately use the full array of policy and legal tools available to ensure that our country's environmental laws – and the policies to implement them – deliver benefits to all individuals and communities.
The EPA Policy on Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribes establishes clear EPA standards for the consultation process. It defines when and how consultation takes place, designates EPA consultation contacts to promote consistency and coordination of the process, and establishes management oversight and reporting to ensure accountability and transparency. The Policy sets a broad standard for when EPA should consider consulting with federally recognized tribal governments based on Executive Order 13175 and the 1984 EPA Policy for the Administration of Environmental Programs on Indian Reservations.
The Technical Guidance for Assessing Environmental Justice in Regulatory Analysis is designed to help EPA analysts evaluate potential environmental justice (EJ) concerns associated with EPA regulatory actions.
Other Federal Agency Guidance
The environmental justice program within Department of Homeland Security is co-led by the Office of the Chief Readiness Support Officer's Sustainability and Environmental Programs and the Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. These offices work throughout the Department and Components to provide policy and guidance, internal and external training, and subject matter expertise while fulfilling the obligations outlined in the Environmental Justice Memorandum of Understanding on Environmental Justice and Executive Order 12898 (MOU).
The U.S. Department of Energy is committed to ensuring that the principles of environmental justice are applied to all the DOE's programs, policies, and activities. Learn about the DOE's EJ goals, accomplishments, policies, objectives and events.
Home for the Department of Interior's EJ strategic plan and implementation progress reports.
Home for the U.S. Departement of Health and Human Services' EJ strategic plans and implementation progress reports.
Home for the U.S. Department of Justice's EJ strategy, guidance and implementation progress reports.
Supporting Information and Tools
 
Databases/Software Tools
A system of software applications used widely to plan for and respond to chemical emergencies. It is one of the tools developed by EPA's Chemical Emergency Preparedness and Prevention Office (CEPPO) and NOAA, to assist front-line chemical emergency planners and responders. They can use CAMEO to access, store, and evaluate information critical for developing emergency plans. In addition, CAMEO supports regulatory compliance by helping users meet the chemical inventory reporting requirements of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA, also known as SARA Title III). CAMEO also can be used with a separate software application called LandView ® to display EPA environmental databases and demographic/economic information to support analysis of environmental justice issues.
This mobile version contains the same key functions and features as the full version of EJSCREEN, but in a more compact, easily accessible format. EJSCREEN is an environmental justice mapping and screening tool that provides EPA with a nationally consistent dataset and approach for combining environmental and demographic indicators. EJSCREEN users choose a geographic area; the tool then provides demographic and environmental information for that area.
This tool uses high resolution maps combined with demographic and environmental data to identify places with potentially elevated environmental burdens and vulnerable populations. EJSCREEN's simple to understand color-coded maps, bar charts, and reports enable users to better understand areas in need of increased environmental protection, health care access, housing, infrastructure improvement, community revitalization, and climate resilience.
A web-based mapping tool developed for Federal agencies to facilitate more efficient and effective environmental reviews and project planning. The tool is part of an initiative developed by the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and it draws information from publicly available federal, state, and local datasets, allowing NEPA practitioners, stakeholders and the public to view information about environmental conditions within the area of a proposed project quickly and easily at early stages of project development.
Directories/Catalogs/Newsletters
The Environmental Justice Research Roadmap, dated November 2015, describes the interface between environmental justice and science and outlines opportunities that exist in the link between environmental equity and technology and is a key element in EPA's 2020 EJ Action Agenda.
Libraries/Repositories/Reports
Link to EPA's Office of Environmental Justice annual progress reports highlighting EPA's recent advancement of environmental justice principles throughout its programs and updates on its latest accomplishments.
EPA report that shows the most severe harms from climate change fall disproportionately upon underserved communities who are least able to prepare for, and recover from, heat waves, poor air quality, flooding, and other impacts. EPA's analysis indicates that racial and ethnic minority communities are particularly vulnerable to the greatest impacts of climate change. This report is one of the most advanced environmental justice studies to date that looks at how projected climate change impacts may be distributed across the American public.
Organizations/Programs
The Urban Waters Partnership reconnects urban communities, particularly those that are overburdened or economically distressed, with their waterways by improving coordination among federal agencies. The Partnership also collaborates with community-led revitalization efforts to improve our Nation's water systems and promote their economic, environmental and social benefits.
This group was established under Executive Order 12898 in 1994 and is comprised of eleven federal agencies and several White House offices.
NEJAC was established September 30, 1993.The NEJAC Executive Council consists of 26 members appointed from key environmental justice constituencies, which include community-based groups; business and industry; academic and educational institutions; state and local governments; tribal governments and indigenous organizations; and non-governmental and environmental groups. The NEJAC also has seven subcommittees to help develop strategic options for EPA. These subcommittees report to the NEJAC Executive Council. Each subcommittee consists of approximately 6 to 13 individuals knowledgeable in the subject area. Members are drawn from the NEJAC Executive Council as well as from other stakeholder organizations. The subcommittees are: Air and Water; Enforcement; Health and Research; Indigenous Peoples; International; Puerto Rico; and Waste and Facility Siting.
The White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council (WHEJAC) was established by Executive Order 14008, Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad (signed January 27, 2021), to advise the Chair of the Council of Environmental Quality (CEQ) and the newly established White House Environmental Justice Interagency Council (EJ IAC) to increase the Federal Government's efforts to address environmental injustice. The WHEJAC's efforts will include a broad range of strategic, scientific, technological, regulatory, community engagement, and economic issues related to environmental justice. The WHEJAC membership list can be found here.
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Lessons Learned
 
Community Outreach
Federal, state and other EJ-related funding and support opportunities.
Showcases environmental justice activities, highlights and accomplishments across the 10 EPA regions.
EPA blog highlighting federal efforts to support environmental justice in our communities.
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Training, Presentations, and Briefings
Hosted by the DOE Office of Indian Energy, the 2021 Tribal Energy Webinar Series will focus on how tribes can improve community resilience, foster economic development, and support environmental stewardship. The goal of building electrification is to utilize electricity rather than fossil fuels for building heating and cooking applications. Doing so can improve indoor air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This webinar will explore this trending topic on the path to a clean energy future.
EPA's training page for various EJ-related webinars conducted for state and government entities.
On August 31, 2021, EPA and DOJ issued an updated version of its CERCLA model remedial design/remedial action (RD/RA) consent decree (CD) and accompanying statement of work (SOW). These documents serve as the basis for negotiating cleanup work agreements with potentially responsible parties at Superfund sites. This presentation will provide an overview of the updated model documents, an explanation of the key revisions including some enhanced community involvement provisions, and a demonstration of new tools that will allow drafting attorneys to easily modify the consent decree for particular situations (e.g., operable unit v. site wide CD). Superfund practitioners, community groups, and other interested stakeholders will gain important insight into the development of these new models and the impact on the negotiation process.
Federally recognized tribal government officials and indigenous organization representatives will share their experiences working with federal agencies to appropriately consider traditional knowledge in their decision-making processes. They will also share their insights and recommendations for how this work can be done more effectively. This webinar is the second of a mini-series on traditional knowledge.
Conferences and Events
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Last Updated: August 09, 2021