EPA’s Office of General Counsel recently released an updated legal “toolbox” to assist the agency in protecting marginalized communities from pollution. The 206-page document, entitled “EPA Legal Tools to Advance Environmental Justice”, is to be used to ensure compliance with the Biden Administration’s environmental justice efforts.
The document, truly a legal authority primer, was first published in 2011 during the Obama administration, and puts a focus on existing laws that agencies can use, to promote and integrate environmental justice, from civil rights law to the Clean Air Act and other environmentally related Acts. It catalogs a broad range of legal authorities that EPA and the states can deploy to ensure programs and activities protect the health and environment of all people. While it is a long read, pages 8-12 is the Table of Contents illustrates all the laws that can be used to advance environmental justice efforts. Each section outlines the statutory authority behind each law and addresses areas that could be used to consider potential adverse health effects, etc. EPA states the document is primarily written for internal EPA use, however, it will also assist states and environmental justice advocacy groups wanting to use to bring forth challenges for industry.
EPA’s General Counsel Office is pressing EPA regional office counsels to “exercise leadership in identifying options to advance environmental justice and equity, as well as civil rights compliance” to address the Biden Administration environmental justice goals. Coupled with EPA’s statements on increased enforcement efforts, it paints a clear picture of the Biden administration’s focus.
Should you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact Josie Gaskey.