The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today released the Environmental Justice 2020 Action Agenda or EJ 2020, EPA’s environmental justice strategic plan for 2016 to 2020. EJ 2020 will further integrate environmental justice considerations in all EPA programs, strengthen EPA’s collaboration with partners, and demonstrate progress on environmental challenges facing minority and low-income communities.
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 EPA’s positive impact within overburdened communities; and demonstrate progress on national environmental justice challenges.
EPA’s environmental justice work with Pacific Northwest and Alaska communities includes:
El Centro de la Raza, Seattle
EPA is supporting Seattle-based El Centro de la Raza’s “Beacon Hill Environmental Health Collaboration” project to reduce air and noise pollution in the Beacon Hill neighborhood with an Environmental Justice Collaborative Agreement and Problem-Solving grant.
Alaskan Native Villages
EPA is providing assistance to help three Alaska Native Villages address imminent and future risk from climate change impacts on their communities: Newtok is in the process of moving to a new location, Shishmaref is in the process of planning for relocation, and Shaktoolik is adapting in place.
EPA is providing support for the City of Nampa’s clean water efforts to reduce stormwater pollution through public education and outreach to the largely Hispanic and Latino populations that live around Indian Creek.
EPA is working with Portland to provide support for equitable development, air quality improvement, brownfields cleanup and revitalization and engaging local government, academic institutions and community-based organizations to support communities with environmental justice concerns.
EPA is working with the City of Bremerton to ensure environmentally sustainable economic development, help address urban blight in the downtown core by transforming a contaminated vacant property into an asset for the community, and supporting climate risk, sustainability and Superfund assessments.
EPA is working with tribes in the Pacific Northwest to reduce childhood asthma and improve residential indoor air quality and help develop infrastructure and capacity to deliver in-home asthma care for native children.
Earlier this year, EPA released the draft plan for public comment, conducted over a hundred meetings across the country, and received thousands of comments from stakeholders and communities working on environmental justice. EPA will continue working with environmental justice stakeholders and government partners to implement the plan.
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 ensure 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.