EPA rolls out new environmental justice plans
“Working together we have been able to make environmental justice a focus not just for EPA, but for agencies across the administration. Each of our federal partners plays a unique role in serving the American people, and each has a unique opportunity to ensure that our communities get the health and environmental protections they deserve,” said U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “If we aspire to build an economy and a society that works for every American, we can’t allow the heaviest burdens of pollution and health threats to fall on our poorest citizens. Bringing together our federal partners to tackle these challenges is a major step toward health, environmental and economic benefits in communities across the nation.”
The leading African-American policy think tank also announced a new focus on environment. The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, one of the nation’s leading research and public policy institutions, has announced the appointment of Danielle Deane as the first Director of its Energy and Environment Program.
Deane, who recently completed the full eight-year term as an Environment Program Officer at the Hewlett Foundation in California, will guide the program’s strategic direction and operations and manage the activities of the Commission to Engage African Americans on Climate Change.
The Department of Transportation's (DOT) Federal Transit Administration is finalizing an environmental justice circular to help grantees determine whether there are any minority or low-income populations that may be adversely affected by a transit project or decision.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is helping to provide green jobs and workforce development opportunities for veterans in minority and low-income communities.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working with communities to use Health Impact Assessments, to help proactively address the potential impacts a policy or project might have on minority and low income populations.
EPA Region 9 recently heard a regionwide video briefing on the history of African-Americans and land use law in the West from blackmoney.com executive editor John William Templeton.
Federal agencies releasing new environmental justice strategies by February 2012 include: the Department of Agriculture, Department of Labor, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Transportation, Department of Interior, Department of Veterans Affairs and General Services Administration. The EPA and the Department of Energy published new strategies in 2011 and 2008, respectively, and released annual implementation plans last year. They both continue to take public comment on their strategies and will update each strategy, as appropriate. The U.S. Department of Justice recently released its annual implementation progress report. The Department of Defense released its strategy in 1995 and this year will be releasing an annual implementation progress report. The Department of Education, Department of Homeland Security and Department of Commerce have taken public comment on their draft strategies and are working to finalize their strategies and implementation reports.