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Environmental Justice

Environmental Justice decrees by law that all people share an equally high standard of environmental protection and improvement of existing hazardous situations regardless of race, color, national origin, income, or education. This is necessary because many of the very worst environmental conditions are found in areas where the people live and work.

Executive Order 12898, “Federal Actions to Ensure Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low Income Populations,” mandates that the implementation of environmental justice is part of all programs at the federal level. The goal of this Executive Order was to:

protect the environment and health in overburdened communities; empower communities to take action to improve their health and environment; and establish partnerships with local, state, tribal and federal governments and organizations to achieve healthy and sustainable communities.

This is leading to involving environmental justice in rulemaking, permitting, compliance, enforcement, and community-based action programs, and including environmental justice in all parts of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Plan EJ 2014 is the EPA’s roadmap for integrating environmental justice into all its programs and practices. It is based on good science, law, accurate information, and the use of appropriate resources. Examples of these programs are the Urban Waters Program, the Pesticide Worker Safety Program, the US-Mexico Border 2020 Program, the Community Engagement Initiative, and implementation of the Internal Technical Directive on Reviewing EPA Enforcement Cases for Potential Environmental Justice Concerns. (See endnote 11.)

 
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