EPA Establishes Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights
The office will have many responsibilities, including working with communities to "understand their needs" and ensuring environmental justice issues are included in EPA work, the agency said.
- By Alex Saurman
- Sep 30, 2022
On September 24, a new office for environmental justice and civil rights was launched by the EPA.
The Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights will focus on bringing “environmental justice” to communities with these concerns, according to an EPA news release. The new office is a combination of the Office of Environmental Justice, External Civil Rights Compliance Office and Conflict Prevention and Resolution Center.
“The establishment of a new office dedicated to advancing environmental justice and civil rights at EPA will ensure the lived experiences of underserved communities are central to our decision-making while supporting community-driven solutions,” said Vice President Kamala Harris in the news release.
The office, to be staffed by more than 200 workers from the EPA, will work towards justice through directly working with affected people to “understand their needs,” issuing “grants and technical assistance” and ensuring environmental justice is included in future EPA work, the agency said. Members of the office will also oversee civil rights laws compliance for those who receive funding from the agency.
“For too long, our most toxic, polluting industries have been located next door to Black, Brown, Indigenous and low-income communities at the expense of their health while too many in power have looked the other way. Racial justice, civil rights and equity should be prioritized in every aspect of our nation—including in environmental justice and climate action,” said Senators Cory Booker and Tammy Duckworth, Co-Chairs of the Senate Environmental Justice Caucus, in the news release.
In May 2022, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services established the Office of Environmental Justice to serve disadvantaged communities and vulnerable populations.
Alex Saurman is the Content Editor for Environmental Protection.