by Alexandra Dunn
The Environmental Protection Agency is taking comments through October 1 on its Environmental Justice (EJ) Plan 2014. Designed t o commemorate the 20 year anniversary of the 1994 Clinton Executive Order 12,898 on EJ, the plan will “help EPA integrate environmental justice into its programs.” I took a look at the plan and found that it: recognizes EPA’s 7/10 Interim Guidance on Incorporating Environmental Justice During the Development of an Action as a big step forward; calls upon EPA to consider environmental justice concerns during the permitting process; emphasizes the Enforcement and Compliance program giving full consideration to environmental justice issues and communities when developing and implementing program strategies; commits to supporting efforts in overburdened minority, low-income, and indigenous communities; anticipates the reconvening of the Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice (IWG), created by 12,898, this Fall; and calls on various offices to look for ways to use their statutes and scientific tools to promote EJ.
As someone who has worked on EJ issues for a long time, I’m pleased to see progress and attention. However, I am disappointed there isn’t more anticipted by the draft Plan. I encourage interested parties to weigh in and encourage the Agency to put some teeth into what could be quite a tiger, but right now is a lap cat. Comments can be posted at:http://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/resources/policy/plan-ej-2014.pdf