The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released a draft for public comment of its EJ 2020 Action Agenda (EJ 2020) Framework. This strategy document lays out its plan for continuing to address environmental justice in the context of the agency’s work. EPA is hoping to build on its EJ 2014 Action Agenda and expand that work through commitments that will continue over the next five years. EPA is seeking input on the draft EJ 2020 Action Agenda framework. The public comment period runs from April 15 to June 15. The agency is planning to conduct informational and dialogue sessions during this comment period and is encouraging the public to submit written comments. For more details, see: www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/plan-ej/.

As described in the draft framework document, “EPA’s environmental justice efforts seek to protect the health and environment of overburdened communities, support them to take action to improve their own health and environment, and build partnerships to achieve community health and sustainability.”

The agencies goal through 2020 is to make a visible difference in overburdened communities by:

  • Deepening  environmental justice practice within EPA programs to improve the health and environment of overburdened communities;
  • Collaborating with partners to expand our impact within overburdened communities; and
  • Demonstrating progress on outcomes that matter to overburdened communities

Key elements to the EJ 2020 plan include incorporating EJ in rulemaking; considering EJ in permitting; advancing EJ through compliance and enforcement; supporting community based programs; fostering administration-wide action; and developing science and legal tools for considering environmental justice in decision-making. The framework document also includes a chart that defines the agency’s status and progress in achieving these key elements. In addition, EPA has established a one-stop informational “Resource for Communities” web portal as well as a new EJSCREEN tool that quantitatively identifies areas with potential EJ concerns by using environmental, health, demographic and enforcement indicators.

Contacts on environmental justice are included for each of the 10 EPA regions and for each of 13 major divisions within the agency such as the Office of Air and Radiation, Office of Water, Office of Research and Development, etc.

EPA will make the draft document available on April 15th on its Environmental Justice website at: www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/ej2020/. Comments can be submitted electronically to: ejstrategy@epa.gov, or via hard copy to: Charles Lee at lee.charles@epa.gov. If you have any questions, please contact Charles Lee via email or at 202-564-2597.