The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today released the Environmental Justice 2020 Action Agenda (EJ 2020), the Agency's environmental justice strategic plan for 2016 to 2020. EJ 2020 will further integrate environmental justice considerations in all of the Agency's programs, strengthen EPA's collaboration with partners, and demonstrate progress on significant national challenges facing minority and low-income communities.
EJ 2020 builds on the foundation established by EPA's previous strategic plan, Plan EJ 2014, as well as decades of significant environmental justice practice by the Agency, communities, and other environmental justice stakeholders.
"EPA is committed to ensuring every community in the United States has access to clean air, water and land," said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. "EJ 2020 is a product of listening to people in communities to better understand the challenges they face, and working closely with local leaders to identify solutions together."
The EJ 2020 Action Agenda has three overarching goals:
Deepen environmental justice practice within EPA programs to improve the health and environment of overburdened communities.
Work with partners to expand our positive impact within overburdened communities.
Demonstrate progress on critical national environmental justice challenges.
Earlier this year, EPA released both the draft framework and final draft of the plan for public comment, and received thousands of comments from stakeholders and communities working on environmental justice. Additionally, Agency staff conducted over one hundred meetings across the country and held four national webinars to discuss the plan and answer stakeholder questions. EPA plans to continue its unprecedented level of dialogue with environmental justice stakeholders and governmental partners as it moves forward to implement the plan in the coming years.
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's goal is to provide an environment where all people enjoy the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards and equal access to the decision-making process to maintain a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work. EPA works with all stakeholders to collaboratively address environmental and public health issues and concerns.
EPA's environmental justice mandate extends to all of the Agency's work, including setting standards, permitting facilities, awarding grants, issuing licenses, regulations and reviewing proposed actions by the federal agencies.