EPA Updates Equity Action Plan with New Commitments for 2023

EPA Updates Equity Action Plan with New Commitments for 2023

The updated plan introduces eight strategies to address marginalized communities.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released the 2023 update to its Equity Action Plan. The Biden-Harris Administration has committed to emphasizing the government's role in ensuring fair treatment and opportunities for all Americans, particularly those from underserved communities.

The updated plan, which builds on the foundation laid by the president's Executive Order on advancing racial equity, introduces eight priority strategies aimed at addressing the needs of historically marginalized communities. These strategies range from improving access to federal assistance and reducing health disparities to enhancing civil rights compliance and protecting children from environmental hazards.

Notably, the EPA's efforts include the allocation of funding towards environmental justice. The agency has earmarked $600 million from the Inflation Reduction Act to establish 11 Environmental Justice Thriving Community Technical Assistance Centers. These centers facilitate access to federal grants, with plans to make approximately 2,000 subawards that directly benefit community-level initiatives.

Additionally, the EPA launched a technical assistance program to aid organizations in tapping into $2 billion available through the Environmental and Climate Justice Community Change Grants Program. In terms of infrastructure, the EPA has committed over $11 billion in clean water investments courtesy of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. At least 49 percent of this funding is directed towards disadvantaged communities.

“Equity is at the heart of all that we do at EPA. Striving for equity makes it possible for us to deliver on our mission to protect public health and provide a clean environment for all,” EPA Deputy Administrator Janet McCabe said in a statement. “The progress that we have made and this update to our Equity Action Plan show our continued commitment to uplifting everyone, and we are proud to be a part of this work.”

The EPA continues to refine and implement its Equity Action Plan, working toward the day when no individual is disadvantaged due to their background or location. The agency's ongoing updates and efforts can be followed on its dedicated Equity Action Plan webpage.

About the Author

Robert Yaniz Jr. is the Content Editor for Environmental Protection.