Environmental Justice Enforcement and Grants
In January 2010, Administrator Jackson made Expanding the Conversation on Environmentalism and Working for Environmental Justice one of EPA’s top priorities.
On this page:
What is Environmental Justice?
Environmental justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. EPA has this goal for all communities across this Nation. It will be achieved when everyone enjoys the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards and equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.
Why does it matter?
Pollution like polluted air and contaminated water can have significant economic and human health impacts, particularly on overburdened and low-income communities, driving away investment in new development and new jobs and exposing residents to potentially costly health threats.
Visiting the Gulf Coast eight times since mid-April, Administrator Lisa P. Jackson and senior EPA officials have demonstrated their commitment to fully restoring the region. EPA has lead environmental monitoring, participated in open houses with community members, businesses, and environmental leaders, and has provided environmental justice grants to local organizations to address and adapt to the spill’s long-term effects. And, by establishing a position in EPA’s emergency response center dedicated to working with communities, EPA has sought to forge a direct line of communication with the most vulnerable populations in the Gulf Coast region.
Activities in 2010
2010 has been an exciting and productive year for advancing environmental justice at EPA. From appointing community advocates at the highest levels of EPA leadership to providing funding opportunities for local non-profits working to improve the health of their communities, EPA has been actively working to make communities across the nation clean and healthy places to live.
- Including environmental justice and children’s health as a cross-cutting strategy in the 2011-2015 EPA Strategic Plan ensures EPA’s work focuses on protecting the most vulnerable and underserved populations.
- Implementing Plan EJ 2014 advances environmental justice efforts at EPA. The plan challenges the Agency to incorporate environmental justice in rulemaking, permitting and enforcement, and challenges EPA to foster administration-wide action on EJ. Read more on Plan EJ 2014
- Incorporating EJ into EPA Rulemaking by issuing a guidance intended to help staff and managers consider and address environmental justice in the action development process. Read more on the EJ in Rulemaking Guidance
- Hosting a symposium on strengthening the science of disproportionate health impacts advances the scientific foundation for identifying environmental justice impacts. Read more on the Symposium on the Science of Disproportionate Environmental Health Impacts
- Responding to the Gulf Coast BP Oil Spill by focusing on outreach to affected communities with environmental justice concerns and providing grant opportunities for organizations working in affected communities ($360K). Read more on Cooperative Agreements to Support Communities Affected by the BP Oil Spill
- Reinvigorating the Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice that demonstrates the administration’s dedication to ensuring all Americans have strong federal protection from environmental and health hazards. Important federal agency collaborations include the Partnership for Sustainable Communities (HUD/DOT/EPA) and the Urban Waters Program. Read more on the Interagency Working Group
- Providing funding opportunities for community-based projects, including 76 EJ Small Grants ($1.9M), 10 EJ Showcase Community pilots ($1M) and 3 EJ Green Development pilots ($300K). Read more on Environmental Justice funding programs
- Participating in the Congressional Black Caucus EJ Tour to raise awareness about environmental justice issues and create a forum for community participation in environmental decision-making.
- Launching EJView, a geographic information system (GIS) tool, to help users map potential environmental and human health issues in communities. Read more on EJView
- Holding the Faces of the Grassroots Environmental Justice Video Contest that encouraged participants to share their environmental justice stories to help expand the conversation on environmentalism (93 entries). Watch the winning videos