EPA launches office of environmental justice, civil rights | TheFencePost.com

EPA launches office of environmental justice, civil rights

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Saturday that it is establishing a new Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights charged with advancing environmental justice and civil rights.

“The new office will dedicate more than 200 EPA staff in EPA headquarters and across 10 regions towards solving environmental challenges in communities that have been underserved for far too long,” the agency said in a news release. “These staff will engage with communities with environmental justice concerns to understand their needs, as well as tribal, state, and local partners; manage and disburse historic levels of grants and technical assistance; work with other EPA offices to incorporate environmental justice into the agency’s programs, policies, and processes, as allowed by law; and ensure EPA funding recipients comply with applicable civil rights laws. The office will be led by a U.S. Senate-confirmed assistant administrator, to be announced at a later date.”

EPA added, “The new office will oversee the implementation and delivery of a $3 billion climate and environmental justice block grant program created by the Inflation Reduction Act, a critical component of the law’s historic $60 billion investment in environmental justice. The office also will ensure EPA’s implementation of other funding programs provided by the Inflation Reduction Act, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and regular appropriations meet or exceed the president’s Justice40 Initiative.”

EPA Administrator Michael Regan announced the creation of the new office alongside environmental justice and civil rights leaders in Warren County, N.C., which was the site of protests 40 years ago that launched the environmental justice movement.

“From day one, President Biden and EPA have been committed to delivering progress on environmental justice and civil rights, and ensuring that underserved and overburdened communities are at the forefront of our work,” said Regan. “With the launch of a new national program office, we are embedding environmental justice and civil rights into the DNA of EPA, and ensuring that people who’ve struggled to have their concerns addressed see action to solve the problems they’ve been facing for generations.”


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