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Three Reasons to Keep a Close Watch on Environmental Justice Developments

Environmental Justice (EJ) is a priority of the EPA under the Biden Administration, and impacts extend well beyond increased public involvement as the “all-of-government” approach rolls out across the nation. Here are three key reasons to keep abreast of these developments:

  • Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – State agencies can lose federal funds if found to be out of compliance with Title VI nondiscrimination obligations. This brings tremendous pressure to bear on both regulatory agencies and the facilities they oversee. Civil Rights investigations are currently pending over recent permits issued to facilities by different state agencies.
  • CLEAN Future Act Legislation – H.R. 1512, introduced in March of this year, proposes to define all areas with annual mean concentrations of PM2.5 of greater than 8 μg/m3 over the most recent 3-year period as an “overburdened census tract.” If passed, this bill would immediately prohibit new major sources in such areas, and shortly thereafter, prohibit permit renewals of major sources in these areas. (Note the current national standard is 12 μg/m3.)
  • Increased Funding and Promotion of NGOs – The number, power, and reach of non-government organizations (NGOs) is expected to grow. This means a greater number of stakeholders to consider and more sophisticated and sustained involvement to accommodate.

For up-to-date information about EPA’s Environmental Justice funding opportunities, events, and webinars, you can subscribe to EPA’s Environmental Justice listserv by sending a blank email to: [email protected].