In her short time at the Agency, EPA Administrator Jackson has emphasized that she will be promoting the consideration of environmental justice issues.  In an effort to better address the health and environmental burdens placed upon impoverished and predominately minority communities, she has appointed both a Senior Counsel for External Civil Rights and a Senior Advisor for Environmental Justice – Lisa Garcia, formerly with New York Department of Environmental Conservation – a real leader in the field. In recent months the Administrator has hit the road, traveling to communities around the country on an “Environmental Justice Tour.”  And, money talks – EPA expects to grant over $1,000,000 to environmental justice groups this year. Not enough, but more than we’ve seen in awhile.

This week, EPA announced announced Plan EJ 2014, an interim guidance document which will strengthen the integration of environmental justice into EPA’s rulemaking process. It is of course, recognizing Executive Order 12898, Federal Actions to Address Envrionmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations, issued by President Clinton 2 decades ago – and left in place by President Bush.

The new plan, Interim Guidance on Considering Environmental Justice During the Development of an Action, will set out to:

  • Protect health in communities over-burdened by pollution
  • Empower communities to take action to improve their health and environment
  • Establish partnerships with local, state, tribal and federal organizations to achieve healthy and sustainable communities

It is time to weigh in on this important initiative.  Read more and submit feedback here. The deadline for comments is October 1, 2010.